Ross Douthat: The Enduring Cult of KennedyRoundup: Talking About History
Ross Douthat is an op-ed columnist for the NYT.
THE cult of John F. Kennedy has the resilience of a horror-movie villain. No matter how many times the myths of Camelot are seemingly interred by history, they always come shambling back to life — in another television special, another Vanity Fair cover story, another hardcover hagiography.
It’s fitting, then, that the latest exhumation comes courtesy of Stephen King himself. King serves a dual role in our popular culture: He’s at once the master of horror and the bard of the baby boom, writing his way through the twilit borderlands where the experiences of the post-World War II generation are stalked by nightmares and shadowed by metaphysical dread.
In this landscape, the death of J.F.K. looms up like the Overlook Hotel. The gauzy fantasy of the Kennedy White House endures precisely because the reality of the assassination still feels like a primal catastrophe — an irruption of inexplicable evil as horrifying as any supernatural bogeyman....
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