Photo by Stephen Shames, Guardian (1968)
Chicago’s crumbling, 60-year-old Coliseum was the site of Monday’s Mobilization-sponsored "unbirthday party" for LBJ, who turned 60 the day before. Organizers of the not-very-solemn occasion said it was designed as a “tribute to Mr. Johnson’s historic career, all the way from the first election he stole in Texas to the new anti-personnel weapons his administration has developed for use in Vietnam and the ghettos.” Joining in the theatrics were such notables as poet Allen Ginsberg, Dick Gregory, singer Phil Ochs and French playwright Jean Genet.
I had a shit load of stuff relating to the JFK assassination (11/22/63) scanned and ready to post, but rather than bombarding you with conspiracy minutiae, I thought I’d share this Paul Krassner excerpt from my book instead. In it he discusses his now infamous satirical piece from The Realist, “The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book.” Purporting to present cutting room floor content from William Manchester’s bestselling book, The Death of a President (1967), Krassner brilliantly adopts Manchester’s writing style to spin a hilarious, and (almost) believable, tale of ritualistic necrophilia aboard Air Force One shortly after the assassination.
The most notorious thing I published was “The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book” in 1967. Now that’s the thing that people remember most, and that remains my own favorite because it was an exercise in nurturing the incredible in the credible context leading up to the climactic scene which was an act of presidential necrophilia between Lyndon Johnson and the corpse of John F. Kennedy on Air Force One after the assassination. There were people who believed that. They had been seduced by the verisimilitude of the context, if only for a moment. They believed that the president, the leader of the Western world, the one who was escalating the Viet Nam War, was what the FBI called me, a raving, unconfined nut. And people complained to me afterwards that I should have labeled it as satire. And it was intriguing to me because Jonathan Swift didn’t say anything about his “Modest Proposal,” he didn’t say, “Folks, before you read this I just want to let you know that the British didn’t actually try to stem the population and the hunger in Ireland by eating Irish babies.” I didn’t want to deprive the readers of deciding for themselves whether something was factual or a projection of the implications of what you’re writing about.