A little background - while doing a trade show I once found myself taking the offramp that ends up becoming that scene - in real life it's a boringly pedantic city street scene usually devoid of the people we see in the film and seemed 'browner' (I suspect they hadn't kept up the lawns over the years) - and yet suddenly you're in that scene we've all seen from the film
Down town Dallas is a bit weird no one actually seems to live there - at 5 the streets fill, people get on buses and it's empty again by 6. Sunday is down-right sureall - people come in all dressed for church - the sidewalks outside the churches are patrolled by security people with police-looking uniforms but with cross-emblems in place of badges who eye you like a potential mass murder, (at least they do if you're like me bored, dressed in jeans and wandering the streets waiting for your trade show to start).
It might not be the most pleasant day out, but in the gift shop below you can buy Sixth Floor Museum t-shirts, postcards and kitschy Kennedy memorabilia.
When my mum was there, she picked up a fridge magnet showing the Texas Schoolbook Depository!
All I know is that if Oswald did it, then he was an exceptionally fine marksman.
He was. Sharpshooter class rifle weapon qualification badge from his military service.
My favourite conspiracy theory is that JFK hired Oswald to shoot Governor John Connally but forgot to duck in time.
When visiting in 2001 I was somewhat bemused by the painted 'X' on the street below the Depository. And around the corner there is the official memorial, which (and maybe it is just me) looks for all the world like a urinal.
I visited Dallas a couple of years ago and was pleasently surprised by theSixth Floor Museum, primarily because of all the info about JFK when he was alive, rather than all the theories about his death. In saying that the Conspiracy Museum is definitely worth a visit, if only to see the guy that takes your money!
A colleague of mine was taken to Parklands Hospital (where the dying JFK was taken) by ambulance and was informed on arrival of their most famous patient. Fortunately my colleague left in a better sdtate than JFK!
Conspiracy theory/theorist has emerged into the language in a dangerous way. It is a form of UnSpeak (as described by Stephen Poole in his excellent (and frightening) book of the same name: Unspeak: How Words Become Weapons, How Weapons Become a Message, and How That Message Becomes Reality.
To paraphrase one reviewer:
"…ubiquitous terms such as war on terror, pro-life, and Operation Just Cause, are examples of Unspeak. They attempt to silence any possible opposing viewpoint by casting an issue in only one light.
Unspeak phrases are not neutral but "smuggle in political opinion in a remarkably efficient way.
The implications of an ongoing effort by politicians and interest groups to manipulate our language, for example, substituting global warming with climate change as a way of recasting the debate about environmental pollution in less-frightening terms.
Similarly, what was once referred to as creationism is now called intelligent design by fundamentalists intent on passing off their religious beliefs as scientific theory.
… journalists often parrot terms handed to them by corporations and politicians, aiding in passing these phrases into mainstream usage.
…an insidious trend"
Conspiracy Theorist is a convenient expression to close down discussion and debate. I am not especially interested in the case of JFK or the related story of Marilyn Monroe's death (or Anna Nicole Smith for that matter), but I was fascinated to watch the documentary Loose Change about the events surrounding 9/11. I found much of the content plausible and incredible that mainstream media had determined that it was merely 'Conspiracy Theory'. This meme shuts down the discussion - as if to imply that finding doubt about official explanations of events would lump one in the padded corral with the Area 51 theorists.
Recently a teacher at Takapuna Grammar school was vilified by the Sunday papers for introducing famous 'conspiracy theories' into the classroom in an attempt, as she put it, to introduce critical thinking. I don't know what was really said but remarks about the scale of the murder of Jews by the Nazi's outraged some Jewish parents of a student. For the record I have no reason to doubt the enormity of the slaughter - and the entire conversation was hijacked with emotively charged remarks, such as forcing the victims to 'die again' (which as anyone knows, simply isn't possible and unhelpful).
Critical thinking is a crucial building block of a democracy. To examine a subject with an open mind is essential, in my opinion, for a generous, burgeoning and just (asin reasonable doubt) society.
Preserving dogma and the prevailing, primarily political, orthodoxy by branding doubters 'Conspiracy Theorists' simply reminds me of the treatment meted to 'witches' in the not so distant past...
Here's to the doubters and malcontents - their legacy is progress and innovation.
Indeed I understand that the Catholic Church conceded that the earth is not the centre of the universe after all...
S'funny how the truth has a way of shifting with time.