Thursday, January 31, 2008

Camelot in one sentence

My former colleague Whet Moser has the best one-sentence summary of the mysteriously deified Kennedy administration:
apparently the sex-addicted son of a Neville Chamberlain sympathizer gave America the sense of national possibility it needed to get into the Vietnam War, leave a bunch of Cuban exiles for dead as part of the worst coup attempt ever, run to the brink of nuclear apocalypse, and help install the Baath party as the ruling party of Iraq.
I'm up for some more of the same, applied to outrageously overrated graven images like Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. If nothing else, telling truth in one sentence might just take the snooze out of history class.

3 comments:

JB Powers said...

Amen,

I actually like Kennedy, but the mythology is just that, a myth.

Roeser has the definitive (and not very pleasant) statement on Bobby's campaign duplicity that would make Lee Atwater scratch his head in awe.

http://www.tomroeser.com/blogview.asp?blogID=24374

JBP

Jeffrey said...

The problem with the notion that historians can tell the "truth in one sentence" is that the truth is much too complicated for a simple sentence, as your example demonstrates.

Harold said...

Jeffrey -- Fair enough. I wouldn't suggest stopping at one sentence, but if you're up against a one-word myth (such as "Camelot"), you've gotta start somewhere, and a Ph.D. dissertation won't cut it.