I would be remiss if I did not post an entry in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. But this blog is not going to be the glowing, Camelot-praising tribute which some who know me might expect. The popular media will supply plenty of that this week, and rightly so. For as we well know, many people think of a scene such as this when they think of the JFK years in the White House:
In fact, so ingrained is that picture perfect image of Camelot that years later–50 years, to be exact–I bought a piece of art which appears to be Jackie Kennedy just as she appears in the above photo.
I went through a period–numerous periods, to be honest–in which I was obsessed with the Kennedys and their mystique. If you click on the Trifecta Gallery link above, I also own the Bobby Kennedy painting as well; it’s equally as brilliant as the Jackie one, though polar opposite in the emotions it conjures up. (And I have them purposely displayed inches from one another in my bedroom, at a vantage point at which I can clearly see them easily at any waking moment.) I’m proud to say the lengthy *blog* I wrote on Lee Radziwill, Jackie’s sister, has finally been getting upwards of 25 hits per day. All this to say that none of the Kennedys were perfect people, including JFK. It’s via my newfound realistic outlook that I can see not only John Kennedy, but the assassination, for who and what they were. That’s what I want to write about today.
JFK was a complex man and I won’t attempt to rehash the womanizing and other aspects which have been covered many times before. Many people aren’t aware, however, of the severe back pain and Addison’s disease from which he suffered. Because of these, he was chronically overmedicated during his presidency, at least by today’s standards. He also regularly received “vitamin injections” from Max Jacobson, AKA Dr. Feelgood. Dr. Jacobson treated many celebrities with his potions of amphetamines, the addictive dangers of which were completely foreign and as then unknown in the 60s. Jackie also received shots from time to time, most notably before their diplomatic trip to France. So tight were Dr. Jacobson and JFK that the doctor was invited on family holidays:
JFK’s allegedly gay school chum, Lem Billings, kept a bedroom at the White House during his presidency. Lem functioned more as an on-call assistant to JFK than anything else, though it’s interesting to me that his existence has been kept relatively mum all these years. Not that I think anything scandalous was going on; if anything, I think that’s the reason nothing’s been made of the arrangement. Mr. Billings’s Wikipedia page can be viewed *here*, and a book which was written on JFK and Mr. Billings can be previewed *here*. It’s sad to me that it seems Mr. Billings self-medicated in his later years to hide his sexuality, though that would be the subject of another blog.
And finally, it might be shocking to some that JFK did, in fact, entertain very young women within the hallowed walls of the Oval Office.
As for the assassination, there’s nothing I can write today that hasn’t been written many times over the last half a century. OCD-me has been through several hardcore stages of conspiracy-centric research, and all I can conclude is that Oswald did not act alone. But that’s stating the obvious. I did want to share today what I’ve found on a couple of websites which might be of interest. Please be forewarned that–though I refuse to get into any conspiracy theories–the below images are harrowing.
JFK was an extraordinary president, not to mention a great human being. My point in writing this blog is that he was a flawed human being like the rest of us. Perhaps it’s only fitting that his assassination investigation has had so many hiccups, though that’s putting it very mildly. Again, there’s absolutely nothing I could write about his murder which hasn’t already been written already over the last 50 years. Instead, I’ll end with this quote from him. In no way does it do his life or his presidency justice, but it’s realistic.
“If anyone is crazy enough to want to kill a president of the United States, he can do it. All he must be prepared to do is give his life for the president’s.”–JFK