Tonawanda News


November 22, 2013

The black-and-white pentimento

Tonawanda News — My memories are strong enough, in some cases, so that I have no need of any more research. I did not require, for example, the recent PBS biography of Jimi Hendrix to better understand his contribution to society or to my quality of life, so I did not watch it. You get that way as you get older.

Today we note the 50th anniversary of the death of President Kennedy, and will likely do so the way we did it in November 1963, by watching television. Contrary to the thoughts of modern reporters, it was not a day that changed America; contrary to later hordes of finger-wagging conservatives and religious hard-liners, it was not the day all the snakes in the closet of America’s psyche came out, and there followed generations of turmoil.

It was a heck of a day, but America was already on a path of misguided renewal of sorts. Think of what came after Kennedy’s death and before the 1960s ended — Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, colleges as cauldrons of social experimentation, the rise of sport at the expense of art — and note the seeds were planted in the early ‘60s, or earlier.

Aldous Huxley also passed away on Nov. 22, 1963, as did C.S. Lewis and 63 people in a Fitchville, Ohio, nursing home fire, but they weren’t on television. What changed in America was the public approval to turn on the television in times of national crisis. (Or comity; the 1976 bicentennial was broadcast on television as well, as newspaper editors made certain they could spell “joyous,” a word seldom included in headlines.)

After Kennedy’s death, crises seemed to mount in America, largely because of improvements to, and increased stature of, television news. Ratings of Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley and the rest stayed strong after the assassination story wound down. America mourned its fallen president by welcoming the Beatles and taking its news more seriously (which is a way of saying that things have always been this bad, we just know more of it). 

Text Only
  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: In defense of the Common Core They've become the two dirtiest words in education, but the Common Core is very much worth defending.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Bits and pieces from out and about Ever since it was restored and opened, the Hotel @ Lafayette in downtown Buffalo has fascinated me. Last Monday, the Preservation Buffalo Niagara offered a tour of the hotel led by developer Rocco Termini.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leffler Mug 041114 [Duplicate] LEFFLER: 'Need to know' a double-edged sword Inquisitive doesn't begin to describe me. I must know everything. About everything. I hate being in the dark. I guess that's what makes my career choice so very obvious. I think "must know everything" is at the top of most journalists' trait lists.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wallace, Amy BW mug WALLACE: Airplane coverage has gone awry I don't know about you, but I am so sick of the cable news stations' constant coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest