My approach to the JFK assassination is that it was “an operation”. When I’m feeling down to earth, I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”If I was looking for employment, I would go with “analyst.”
David Talbot refers to people like us as “people’s historians”. That’s good too.
When discussing the events of November 22, 1963, I ted to use terms like “Joint action”, “concerted action”, or “acted in concert.” Don’t forget the simple word “plan.”
I don’t often use the word “conspiracy.” I think that when talking about the JFK case or similar events, the c-word is counterproductive and marginalizing. Why describe those of us that challenge the lone gunman story as “conspiracy theorists”? Or, in reductive bumper sticker terms: CTs?
Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”. All perfectly good words, unlike “CT,” “LN,” or “theorist,” Theory of what?
‘JFK buff’ is an insult
The term “buff” is — how do i say this politely? –repellent. A buff is a hobbyist. What we’re doing has great value, but it would be a pretty sick hobby. Remember how John Kerry did some good work on the contra-cocaine story? Newsweek labeled him a “randy conspiracy buff”, invoking the trifecta of nudity, sex, and high adventure. No thanks.
I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”I
“Lone nut” is also in poor taste, often used in the context of the “LN crowd”. The terms “Lone wolf” or “single gunman” are respectful ways to refer to one’s adversaries in a case like this.
The people fighting AIDS had to deal with “victim”, “sick”, and similar metaphors. Those in danger of infection were not “shooters” or “junkies” but “injection drug users”, or IDUs. The challengers of the anti-immigrant forces have spent many years using the phrase “undocumented worker” rather than “illegal alien”. Words matter.
The romance of conspiracy
I believe that many of us use the phrase “conspiracy theorist” because it seems practical, romantic, or titillating.
The last two reasons are bad ones. Real bad. Two of the many reasons the word has been marginalized.
Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”. All perfectly good words, unlike “theorist”. Theory of what?
If we want to not be seen by anyone as “on the margins”, there is a simple fix. Admit that the phrase has been abused by our adversaries and the mass media. It is now used as a red flag. The design is to put the target in a box. It can no longer be used by us in a practical sense.
I think the romantic and titillating aspects of the word “conspiracy” are enticing. “They killed the President! We have to call it what it is – conspiracy!” It’s fun to be wrapped up in a world of high adventure, fighting the forces of Mordor with the energies of truth and light.
I understand it — I like romantic stuff and have a rebel nature. But, I have to admit, it makes me blue. We’re in the midst of an important conflict about how history will be written. We need to share good stories, not needless drama. I’d rather win.
My faint apologies for the slow rate of posting. There is too much to talk about in the world of JFK (the Stephen King movie, David Talbot on Allen Dulles, and the October 2017 JFK data dump to name but three) and too little time. Read more
Jacob Carter, the author of “Before History DIes” talks about the loss of conviction in an America made cynical by the assassination of JFK and its confused aftermath. But rather than succumb, Jacob finds hope–in the JFK research community and in social media,
Professor Scott addresses a key question about the JFK assassination story.
[CIA Director Richard] Helms faced the same legal dilemma after he swore to the Warren Commission to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (5 AH 121). Helms was then asked “Can you tell the Commission as to whether or not you have supplied us all the information the Agency has, at least in substance, in regard to Lee Harvey Oswald?” Helms’s answer was, “We have, all” (5 AH 122). This was, I submit, both perjury, and obstruction of justice. In 1964 the CIA secrets he protected concerned an operation involving the name of the man reported to have been the president’s assassin.
Russ Baker and Milicent Cranor ask a good question in WhoWhatWhy but the implication of their headline that all books supporting the official theory of JFK’s death are “disinformation” does no service to the truth.
More important, however, is the evidence, everywhere, of a coverup — from hanky-panky in the autopsy room to a shockingly premature termination of any efforts to seriously investigate. Was the coverup itself not proof of more going on? Of course it was.
As I said in at the JFK Lancer conference in Dallas two years ago, the challenge is to: describe the latest evidence accurately; use the internet to mobilize online civil society; press for full disclosure; and insist on accountability. It can be done by 2017.
Phil Shenon writes: “I noticed the recent post on John McCone and wonder if it isn’t worth pointing out — given the recent fierce debate on the site and the criticism of my Politico piece — that Arthur Schlesinger’s quotation is strong evidence to support the idea that Bobby Kennedy DID have suspicions about Castro and Cuba, at least early on?”
A middle-schooler in Birmingham, Alabama, writing a paper for English class, recently asked me for my thoughts on the famous Single Bullet Theory, the keystone of the official theory of the Lone Gunman.
In a telling passage in his recent piece in Politico Magazine, “Warren Commission staffers remain convinced today that Oswald was the lone gunman in Dallas, a view shared by ballistics experts who have studied the evidence,” reporter Phil Shenon traffics in half-truths. Whatever the Warren Commission staffers think, Shenon’s claim is inaccurate and untrue. Read more
The briefings, released last week, showed how the Agency sought to get information to the two presidents.The CIA had long resisted releasing the records on the grounds that any disclosure would harm national security, an argument the Agency has now abandoned.