John F. Kennedy
Dr. Larry Burris, MTSU Professor of Journalism
MTSU Professor of Journalism Dr. Larry Burris remembers what happened on November 22nd back in 1963 - which changed American history...
A few years ago I visited Dallas, Texas, and sat on the grassy knoll, the location from which some people believe a second gunman shot President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. I could see the Texas Book Depository, Elm Street was right in front of me, and the triple-overpass was just a short walk away.
I walked by where Jack Ruby's Carousel Club used to be, stopped at the Texas Theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, and stood on the spot where the infamous picture of Oswald and his rifle may or may not have been taken.
Today we are in the midst of an avalanche of articles, programs and movies about the assassination more than 50 years ago. Many of them purport to give us new information about the killing. But here's where it gets tricky. There is what we actually know about the assassination, and there is the mediated version of the assassination.
I'm not talking here about all of the conspiracy theories that are swirling around, but rather all of the movies and television programs that we might call "historical fiction." By way of example, for how many people does the 1991 Oliver Stone film "JFK" represent reality? Or the 2013 Peter Landesman film, "Parkland?"
To be sure, both of these films are recognized as fictionalized accounts of real events. But what about all of the fake photographs that are acknowledged hoaxes, or even worse, fake photographs conspiracy theorists claim to be real?
Of course, there is no one view of the assassination; everything connected with the day has been challenged, from the so-called magic bullet, to the alleged forgery of the Zapruder film, to the previously mentioned films. And of course the charges and counter-charges have spawned an untold number of rebuttals and refutations, leading to even more books and articles and programs and web sites.
Yet, I can still remember where I was at the time, I can sort through all of the conflicting mediated claims and I can reach my own conclusions. And even if my mediated conclusions don't match the objective reality no one can take away the experience of being where history was made. I'm Larry Burriss.