It’s Not History, It’s HBO! Kennedy Commemorative Creaks Along

Daze Of Decision


The Kennedy Library used to [and may still] have a display of Jack’s Greatest Hits from press conferences of yore.It was amazing.  Even allowing for who chose the footage, the fawning questions setting JFK up to knock it out of the park every time were breathtaking.  But it wasn’t heard to convey energy and what passed for wit after the torpid Eisenhower years with Mom & Dad.  eBay Image 1 President Eisenhower/Ike & Mamie Commemorative Plate I think we’ll be spared the excitement of future Woodstock anniversary commemoration, but someone thinks there’s still juice to be extracted from round numbered Kennedy dates.HBO’s “A President To Remember” nominally marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s inaugural.  Creator Robert Drew has great black and white footage of men in suits looking decisive, beyond that I’m guessing.The publicity materials are sparse, but the film seems blissfully unaware of the vast efforts by actual historians and journalists to take Smiling Jack down a peg. It’s still selling the original Kennedy premise of energy, drive and vague goals.Drew laments“We’ve had generations that have never known a active lively president who was well-regarded” What’s presented is Kennedy at his empty-suitest.  The publicity clip opens with JFK sound over video that sounds spliced together from a  couple of sources, and amounts to emphatically stated blather of the highest order:“I run for the presidency because i have strong ideas about what this country must do. That’s what i think this election is about, that’s what we’re going to begin to do next Tuesday”


McNaughton’s Group

Special thanks to the eagle eyes at Wonkette, who’ve spotted a big one.

Extraordinarily cheezeball artist Jon McNaughton has brought forth a gathering of greats, as the ghosts of presidents past hover around sullen, stand-offish looking Barack Obama, variously annoyed or aghast at his literal TRAMPLING ON THE CONSTITUTION!

McNaughton is the kind of crank who rambles along in incoherent Founderspeak for numbered paragraphs, passive aggressively concluding:

“The information is historical. If it is not familiar to you – Google it.

Cramming all these figures into the frame seems to have skewed McNaughton’s perspective.  Small but perfectly formed James Madison is so upset at Obama’s boot-heel to our liberties that he’s bent over pleading, but appears to be almost Obama’s height.   The Forgotten Man is a giant seated on a toy town bench. Such is the occasion that Franklin Roosevelt walks.

McNaughton’s painting doesn’t leave much to chance, featuring ominous clouds, flags at half staff, and an accompanying video lush with  piano chords of doom.

Bedford Falls: World War Two Done Right?

Quit Your Stalin

Americans like to think of D-Day as a splendid battle which, while tough, prefigured our inevitable sweep to victory over Germany. How it came to be  that most of the German army was elsewhere, or where the slave laborers who built the Germans’ “Atlantic Wall” came from are petty distractions.

So it comes as no surprise that Joseph Stalin is becoming unwelcome at a Virginia war memorial, reminding us that we didn’t beat Hitler all by our lonesome.

   Bedford Virginia’s National D-Day Memorial is a vast crop circle of memorials,

with hideous arches,

and landing beach recreations.

And statues.  There is an Eisenhower statue in its own “Tuscon folly” , but somehow it’s not controversial that the father of Reyonlds Wrap gets to slap his name on the garden.

Among busts of famed war leaders Stalin makes the cut, and the planners have mumbled something about the Russians fighting over yonder contributing to the D-Day victory.

To the world’s outrage.

Skunk At The Picnic 

The creators are making an effort, possibly unique in American public recollection of the war, at remembering the Soviet people’s epic sacrifice in defeating fascism.  No doubt Stalin was guilty of many crimes, but he’s hardly the only problem with the proposed memorial if we are going to get fussy.

Perhaps the trouble stems from the monument’s defference to “great man” history  Why is Harry Truman there?  He wasn’t even Vice President at the time of the landing

Operation Overblown: Excess Eisenhower Comes To Washington

Architects of Victory      

Presidential grade inflation reaches a tragic apotheosis with the unveiling of an exciting new Frank Gehry design for DC’s long awaited Eisenhower Memorial.

The scheme accomplishes so many goals:

– obliteration from sight of DC’s only recognition of Lyndon Johnson.

– dimming if not completely blocking Education Department views of the Capitol, giving Department employees the experience of life behind a billboard.

– further destruction of L’Enfant’s Washington street grid.

– bringing to DC more of the Stalinist bombast we’ve all so enjoyed at the World War Two Memorial.

Eisenhower Memorial - 2nd Term Campaign Pin

The thing is huge. Tiny people will cavort amidst giant topless pillars to nowhere strewn about the plaza, with vast metal mesh screens blocking the Department of Education’s Lyndon Johnson Building from sight.  These jumbo-trons in steel will portray scenes from Ike’s career, “amplifying the setting and creating an ideal background for the memorial experience.

Or, as greatergreaterwashington said, ” It’s like we’ve taken the tarps that are supposed to hide the parking garages at Nationals Ballpark and turned them into a monument.” Computer rendering of Frank Gehry’s design for the Dwight D.   Eisenhower Memorial

But not to worry.  “we’re very concerned about that issue,” Gehry said of the tapestry’s impact on the LBJ building.

Beneath the masses of metal a collection of stones will be arrayed in a semi-circle. This half-assed Stonehenge may host the memorable quotes we all associate with the Hero of Anacostia Flats.

The Memorial Commission presents as almost a done deal its land grab of Maryland Avenue, with the street and the triangle northwest of it already absorbed into Ike’s lebensraum.

We can look forward to further retrospective attempts to position Eisenhower as a quiet force for Civil Rights, stepping briskly past Ike’s view that “All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes.”

Also perhaps best avoided is his only gotten son, Richard Nixon.

Fakes, Frauds, & Founders

Behold These Goofs  National Tax Limitation Committee President Lew Uhler Poses with the Mount Vernon Statement and George Washington impersonator James Manship

Unable to stage signing the “Mount Vernon Statement” at, um, Mount Vernon, massed conservatives held their event instead at the swanky Collingwood Library & Museum, a former dinner theatre venue  on property   once owned by George Washington and now available for wedding rentals.

Mount Vernon wouldn’t let them hold a political event on its grounds, so the free marketeers turned to their weapon of choice, and hired a hall.

Fox did its ungrammatical best to hang onto that fresh Founding Fathers smell:

The signing ceremony is took place at a library that was part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

The New Nation/new grammar enthusiasm got the better of the Statement-os as well. Their classy yellow fake parchmentie web page recalls “selfevident truths.

Further bizarre historical analogies came in the Statement-os comparison of themselves to the signers of the Sharon Statement,  a storied conservative event held at William F. Buckley’s Connecticut estate sixty years ago.  What mileage they achieve from Eisenhower era ties to a dead pot-smoking Iraq war opponent is unclear.
No Pillars To Post