“ And while I gave up God a long time ago, I never shook the habit of wanting to believe in something bigger and better than myself.” – Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation, p. 11
Every Nov. 22nd I re-read the front page of the New York Times, from that fateful day in 1963. Now, it’s even easier of course, because I can access it on-line from the comfort and convenience of my laptop. This saves me the trouble of pulling out the yellowing and increasingly brittle copy tucked neatly away in my Kennedy scrapbook, along with the photographic images, seared forever in my brain: Jackie, LBJ, Lee Harvey Oswald taking a bullet at close range.
I’m not particularly morbid, and neither is my fascination with JFK. But, as I’ve come to realize over the past few weeks, after taking in the Warhol/Supernova exhibit at the Walker, reading Assassination Vacation, and viewing the film Capote, I am a product of a popular culture that iconizes violence in infinitely fascinating ways.
Truman Capote befriends, idolizes, and ultimately betrays killer Perry Smith. Andy Warhol silkscreens Elvis, Marilyn, and Jackie. Sarah Vowell frantically cris-crosses the country in search of the next bullet, or grave, or fragment of skull.
And, as with that proverbial car crash, I just can’t seem to turn away.