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The Prescient of the United States of America - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The Prescient of the United States of America
We begin our two-week JFK unit in my graduate course this week. The big day, naturally, is the 22nd, when we will be discussing Don DeLillo's Libra. Tomorrow we will chat about what we've gleaned "reading around" in The Warren Commission Report. If you've never seen it, I recommend that you give it a look sometime. Every time I pick it up, I notice something new. Here's tonight's discovery, from page 42:
On the morning of November 22, President Kennedy attended a breakfast at the hotel and afterward addressed a crowd in an open parking lot. The President liked outdoor appearances because more people could see and hear him. Before leaving the hotel, the President, Mrs. Kennedy, and Kenneth O'Donnell talked about the risks inherent in Presidential public appearances. According to O'Donnell, the President commented that "if anybody really wanted to shoot the President of the United States, it was not a very difficult job -- all one had to do was get a high building someday with a telescopic rifle, and there was nothing anybody could do to defend against such an attempt." Upon concluding the conversation, the President prepared to depart for Dallas.
Even if Kennedy didn't say this, the fact that the Warren Commission was content to quote him saying it is strange enough. There's something perverse about the use of retroactive foreshadowing in non-fiction, yet it's one of the most common and effective devices in documentary filmmaking and its prose equivalents.

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Mode: dessicatory
Muse: Au Bar Du Petit Bac - Miles Davis - Ascenseur Pour L'Échafaud

6 comments or Leave a comment
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: November 15th, 2005 10:04 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Love that book... you taught it in my Lit Analysis with you.

Libra is still the only DeLillo novel that I've read -- I will remedy this soon enough. The problem is that contemporary english novels still under copyright are disproportionately expensive to the cost of living here. As I'm living on a Chinese salary, they eat up my cash quickly. So today I've begun A Tale of Two Cities, yet another classic that somehow slipped through the cracks of my literary education.

I just completed the Hardy hat-trick. Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the D'Ubervilles are now scratched off the list.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 15th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
What did you think of the Hardy? In the realm of not-under-copywright you might read some Henry James, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, and Sinclair Lewis. I like a lot of that stuff written in the forty years or so before the copyright problem emerges (around 1923).
flw From: flw Date: November 15th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: November 16th, 2005 03:44 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ???

i haven't heard of any libraries in Beijing, actually. i'm not sure they exist, because i have asked many folks about that possibility, and no one seems to have any idea about them.

the hardy was fantastic. i can see how someone might criticize it for being a bit too... melodramatic. the way the events play themselves out in such a precise manner as to extract the most sympathy from the reader might be a bit much, but i think in light of the fact that each character undeniably contributes to his/her own fall, this is quite excusable. and let's face it, shit like that does happen in real life.

i'll be getting to chopin and james and fitzgerald soon enough. i've actually read quite a bit of james and a touch of chopin already, but not a single fitgerald book. it's quite amazing just how much i *haven't* read given the fact i have the equivalent of two undergraduate english degrees. another year of this and i'll have put a serious dent in my shortcomings tho.

elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: November 16th, 2005 06:58 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ???

I have not forgotten to email you back about Lawrence. Correspondence with me far too often involves apologies of this sort, especially in grading season. Which is most seasons, apparently. But I will do so one day and for now I'll say I found Women in Love quite intriguing, if rather more lengthy than it maybe had to be. Or than I would have liked with my schedule.

There are many many things I have not read yet that I feel as if I should have read but have no idea when I may get down to.

Email forthcoming. Eventually :)
I read _Libra_ in 380 too, but not with cbertsch.
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: November 17th, 2005 02:12 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
no worries... gaps in communication are to be expected with email. lately i've been on the ball (my internet cafe is less crowded now and far more convenient for a daily 15 minute session) but sometimes i don't check my mail for weeks. other times i forget to reply altogether unless i reply as soon as i read the mail.

to be honest, i'd already forgotten what i'd written when i replied last!
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