“Bob Dylan Has a Lot on His Mind,” the New York Times reported on June 12. That’s for sure. In late March, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down America, the 79 year old singer-songwriter released “Murder Most Foul,” an epic, 17-minute song-poem about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Since “Who killed JFK?” is one of the central questions of American history, you might think that the Times interviewer, historian Douglas Brinkley would ask the Nobel laureate about how he came to compose his dark and brooding take on November 22, 1963. You might think Brinkley, a CNN commentator, would ask Dylan why he decided to release the song as the country and the world reeled from a plague.
President Kennedy gave two speeches, on June 10 and June 11, 1963 that changed the course of American history, says historian Andrew Cohen, author of “Two Days in June.” Cohen explained what JFK wrought in a recent interview with CBC TV host Peter Mansbridge.
President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC on June 10, 1963, represented the beginning of his “strategy for peace” to wind down the Cold War. His bold proposal for a joint U.S.-Soviet moon flight was part of this strategy.
Kennedy’s vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.
In these terrible days, I got to thinking about Tim Shorrock’s essay/review on Bob Dylan’s JFK opus:
At its most essential level, “Murder Most Foul” marks the collapse of the American dream, dating from that terrible day in Dallas, when a certain evil in our midst was revealed in ways not seen for a hundred years—a day that, for Dylan, myself, and others of our generation is forever seared into our collective memory.
I’ll be tuning into this re-examination of the Mary Meyer case, not for the conspiracy theories (which I don’t find convincing) but for the details of the case that emerged at the trial of her alleged (and acquitted) assailant.
At Medium, Jimmy Falls (also of WhoWhatWhy) breaks down the forensic and eyewitness testimony to JFK’s assassination with a focus on the testimony of three people-John and Nellie Connally and James Tague–who experienced the hail of gunfire that killed the president.
The presentation is careful, the conclusions inescapable.
“With the stunning recent midnight release of Murder Most Foul,Bob Dylan unequivocally declared his deep distress at the unsolved mysteries surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy. I wish I’d known about that sooner. It would have saved me a lot of anguish and embarrassment.
It was November, 1975. “Oswald’s November,” as the poet Anne Sexton once branded that gloomy time of year when daylight shrinks, weather turns dank, and hearts feel the chill. Dylan, recently emerged from an extended hibernation, had just launched the now legendary Rolling Thunder Review tour. Nov. 20 at the Harvard Square Theater in Cambridge was among the first dates on the tour. Next was Nov. 21 at the Music Hall in Boston. On Nov. 22, a mass rally calling for a re-opening of the investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination.
Maybe its his Nobel Prize but Dylan seems immune to the normally outspoken camp of JFK anti-conspiracy theorists. Rather his 17-minute rumination of the assassination of President Kennedy has attracted 2.6 million views while impressing critics and scholars of the case.
On February 17 in Fairfax Virginia, Donald Jeffries, author and talk radio host, asked Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard about a book she had been seen carrying, “JFK and the Unspeakable.” Published in 2008, the book is a Catholic philosopher’s meditation, driven by ethics and facts, about the assassination of a liberal president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, one of the great historical crimes of American politics,
Gabbard replied she had not finished the book She added: