The Crown’s JFK

Peggy Noonan raises concern about the depiction of JFK on episode 8, season 2 of The Crown on Netflix:

There is nothing—literally nothing—to support the assertion in “The Crown” that after the trip JFK, in a rage at being upstaged by his wife, drank, threw things and lunged at her. There is no historical evidence that he ever got rapey with his wife.

(what a sentence!)

Also he didn’t smoke cigarettes.

All of this, and more, is so vulgar, dumb and careless. It is disrespectful not only of real human beings but of history itself.

Interesting points.  JFK did at least sometimes smoke small stubby cigarillo things, as we can see in Primary.

He famously got himself a bunch of Cuban cigars before announcing the embargo (a story that’s told as a funny, cute anecdote rather than an example of small but representative corruption).

JFK was rapey with other young women in his employ, if we believe Mimi Alford.

Caitlin Flanagan points to more evidence.

I loved The Crown’s version of JFK.  His psychopathic side.  A worthwhile distinction: the way the story is told in The Crown, what we see is Jackie’s perception of JFK.  That could be different than like historical truth.

Consider what Errol Morris says here (talking Wormwood) about “reenactments”:

Well, I noticed that even with the scripted elements of Wormwood, people call them “reenactments,” but they’re not reenacting anything, properly speaking. I got so tired of it that. First of all, reenactments came out of a sort of see-and-say type of stuff. You’d have an interview, the person would go, “Blah blah blah,” and then you’d illustrate them with the subsequent reenactment.

“On the night of June 4, 1973, I went to the store and bought a pack of cigarettes,” and you cut to an actor in a wide-lapel shirt and bell bottoms walking into a store and buying a pack of cigarettes.
That’s correct. So I pointed out like, “What exactly am I reenacting?” Am I reenacting truth? No. Am I reenacting belief? More often than not, I’m reenacting claims of what people saw or didn’t see. A version of events, a belief about what transpired, rather than what actually transpired. And I got in the habit — out of annoyance, I would say — of pointing out how consciousness is a reenactment of reality inside of our skulls. This idea that we have some immediate and privileged access to the world around us? Excuuuse me! We do not!

If we’re seeing Jackie’s reality, as imagined by The Crown, is that wrong?

But I’m a sucker for this kinda thing.  I loved Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton in The Special Relationship.  I felt he showed the alpha dog side of Bill Clinton that must be present.

Hope Davis as Hillary also.  Chilling.

To see the past in all its complexity is impossible and compelling.  A key theme of Helytimes.

 

 



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