There are a number of cultural touchstones that I just do not get. One of them is Marilyn Monroe, she was not that good looking being average at best. She was a competent actress but showed her severe limitations when she tried to move beyond light comedy. She was also notoriously difficult to work with; being late to the set and blowing her lines take after take. Marilyn trying to sing ‘Happy Birth Day’ for John Kennedy is simply painful to watch. Yet Monroe is still a mojor cultural icon, I just don’t get it.
Speaking of Kennedy, I don’t get the whole cult of Camelot, which has grown up, around him. Kennedy was a great speaker, a centrist on domestic policy and a dedicated cold warrior. He was the one who escalated our presence in Vietnam and ordered the coup against Diem that plunged the country into chaos. Kennedy was the one who set into motion the string of assassination plots against Castro. Eisenhower did more for civil rights when he sent in the 82nd Airborne to enforce desegregation in Little Rock. Kennedy counseled going slow and not rocking the boat, luckily Martin Luther King did not listen to him. Kennedy’s best career move, as it was for many rock stars, was dying when he did. It played into the whole ‘martyred sun king’ meme. Take it from me, I was there, Camelot it wasn’t