Dallas, Texas, 22 November, 1963…

…It was two days after my mother’s birthday and we were having supper when the BBC interuppted a TV programme to announce that John F. Kennedy had been shot. It was the end of my fragile age of political innocence and nothing afterwards had quite the same impact. Kennedy was an icon for millions. I remember holding my breath during the Cuban missile crisis, not really understanding why it threatened to end the world as I knew it. Nothing would ever be quite the same again. Television somehow made the whole thing surreal. One felt dazed and powerless. Perhaps it was my generation’s 9/11 moment. In the years since, the Kennedy assasination has spawned the conspiracy industry, so that we now no longer seem to have any grip on reality. For me the certainties dissolved while eating bangers and mash and sitting in front of our Dynatron TV, or box as it came to be known later. “I’m on the box tomorrow.” the media types at the art centre bar would say. “Oh really?” one would reply with a nonchalant air. “How lovely!” On 22 November the box intruded into our little world. Each generation has its media moment. For my mother it was Churchill on the “steam” radio and it was the Nazis who did the intruding. Her age of innocence slowly ended during the depression with the coming of war. Radio, TV. A bygone age. Today the news of disaster spreads by mobile phone direct from the gallows or the bombed underground train. We watch twin towers burn and fall live in real time and of course everyone has their own pet conspiracy theory to explain events that are reallly unexplainable. In 1963 I was caught up in Beatlemania. She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah! I morphed from being an Elvis impersonator to being a mophead and I had already bought my first pack of gold embossed filter cigarettes with the Royal Warrant on the front. International and sophisticated. Naive and dumb. Numb from the death of an icon. We grew up in an age of lies. The flow of news was a one way street and we were believers. Not for us the luxury of a blog or a me tube. We were fed the establishment version of the truth, and dissent was a book by Bertrand Russell or Jean Paul Satre. La nauseé. The sixties were just being invented in Dallas, Texas.

About Leighton Cooke

The Original Cookiemouse
This entry was posted in America, communication, sixties. Bookmark the permalink.

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