After Bobby Kennedy

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Re: After Bobby Kennedy

Postby brekin » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:41 pm

MinM wrote:

Who knows what Stephen King's excuse was?


Some of the links got mangled above, but they track back to here: viewtopic.php?p=419356#p419356
that discuss Stephen King's novel 11/22/63.

Which reminded me of Stephen's King two takes on Presidential assassins. (He may have other takes but these two come to mind and are so starkly different, sort of.)

Consider The Dead Zone written in 1979.

Plot summary
...
By 1970, Johnny is now a high school teacher in eastern Maine. After visiting a county fair with his girlfriend Sarah, and eerily winning repeatedly at the wheel of fortune, Johnny is involved in a car accident on his way home that lands him in a coma for four and a half years. On waking, Johnny finds that he has suffered neural injury, but on touching people and objects he is able to tell them things they did not know -
...
Johnny's offer to return to his teaching job is rescinded due to his being "too controversial to be effective as a teacher". He moves to New Hampshire and takes a job as tutor for a wealthy young man named Chuck. He also takes up an interest in politics, and becomes concerned when he watches a rally for Stillson. Later on, Johnny meets presidential candidate Jimmy Carter and shakes his hand. Having another clairvoyant incident, he tells Carter that he is going to be president. Johnny then makes a hobby out of meeting politicians to see their futures. Johnny attends a rally for Stillson and on touching his hand has a horrific vision of an older Stillson as President causing a massive, worldwide nuclear conflict.

Johnny's health starts to worsen. He contemplates how he might prevent Stillson's presidency and compares the matter to the question whether one would kill Hitler in 1932 if time travel were possible. Eventually, he concludes that the only certain way to avoid the terrible future he has seen is to assassinate Stillson, but procrastinates, rationalizing his inaction because of doubt in the vision he has seen, abhorrence of murder, and belief there is no urgent need to act at the moment. As Johnny continues to contemplate the matter, he has another vision and warns Chuck not to go to his high school graduation party because the facility is going to be struck by lightning and burn down. Chuck's father agrees to host an alternative party for Chuck and other students, but their party at home is interrupted by news of a lighting strike and many deaths at the original venue. Johnny also learns that the FBI agent investigating Stillson has been murdered with a car bomb.
....
Johnny moves to Phoenix, where he takes a job as a road maintenance technician for the local Public Works Department. He learns that his headaches and blackouts are due to a brain tumor and that without treatment he only has a few months left to live (although we do not learn this until the epilogue). Johnny takes the fire at the party as a warning, that he knew the fire would happen but had not taken it seriously enough and as a result people had died. Realizing that he will not live much longer whatever he decides, Johnny refuses surgery and buys a rifle to shoot Stillson at the next rally.

At the rally, Stillson begins his speech and Johnny attempts to shoot Stillson, but misses and is wounded by Stillson's bodyguards. Before he can fire again Stillson grabs a young child and holds him up as a human shield. Johnny pauses, unable to shoot, and is shot twice by the bodyguards, falling off the balcony and fatally injuring himself. A bystander photographs Stillson in the act of using the child as a shield, a picture that it is implied destroys Stillson's political future when published. Dying, Johnny touches Stillson a final time but feels only dwindling impressions and knows that the terrible future Stillson would bring around as President has been prevented.

An epilogue, "Notes from the Dead Zone", intersperses excerpts from letters from Johnny to his loved ones, a "Q & A" transcript of a purported Senate committee (chaired by real-life Maine Senator William Cohen) investigation of Johnny's attempt to assassinate Stillson, and a narrative of Sarah's visit to Johnny's grave. Sarah feels a brief moment of psychic contact with Johnny's spirit and drives away comforted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_Zone_%28novel%29

And then consider the novel 11/22/63 written in 2011 (but thought of in 1971).

Plot

Jacob "Jake" Epping is a divorced high school English teacher living in Lisbon Falls, Maine.
...
Two years later, in June 2011, Al asks Jake to meet him at the diner. Jake is shocked to see that Al seems to have aged years since the previous day, the last time Jake encountered him at the diner. Al explains that he is dying and that his appearance is attributable to his having time traveled and lived for years in the past. Al's method of time travel is a time portal he discovered in his diner's pantry, which he used to transport himself to 1958.
...
Al's ambition had been to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating John F. Kennedy, believing that doing so would mitigate the Vietnam War and prevent the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. To complete this mission, Al endeavored to live in the past until 1963, but only made it to 1962 before developing terminal lung cancer due to his lifelong habit of smoking cigarettes. His dying wish is for Jake to carry out the mission on Al's behalf.
...
Jake drives to Texas to await Oswald's arrival. Rather than live in Dallas, Jake drives south and ends up in Jodie, a pleasant small town located a few hours away.
...
He rents an apartment across the street from Oswald's Fort Worth residence and monitors the would-be assassin's activities via audio bugs and a parabolic microphone. Several weeks later, Jake reconciles with Sadie after he correctly predicts the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis and reveals his identity to her.

Jake is reluctant to kill Oswald without knowing whether he is guilty, and if he acted alone in the assassination. He decides to wait until April 10, 1963 when, according to Al's notes, Oswald will make an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Major General Edwin Walker, giving Jake the confirmation he will need. However, while Jake is in Dallas awaiting the attempt on Walker's life, he learns that Sadie's ex-husband Johnny has tracked her down in Jodie and taken her hostage. Jake races to Jodie and manages to save Sadie, but arrives too late to prevent Clayton from mutilating her face with a knife. Johnny commits suicide afterwards. When Sadie is taken to the hospital, Jake offers to bring Sadie back to 2011 with him after he completes his mission, where modern plastic surgery will be able to treat her wound. After some consideration, Sadie agrees.
...
On the morning of the assassination attempt, Jake and Sadie race toward Dallas, where the "obdurate" past throws numerous deadly obstacles in their way. They manage to reach Oswald`s sniper's nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository moments before Kennedy's motorcade drives past. Jake successfully prevents Oswald from shooting the President. In a rage, Oswald shoots Sadie. The Secret Service and police, shoot through the window and kill Oswald. Sadie dies in Jake's arms. After Jake is personally thanked by President Kennedy and the First Lady, the FBI suggests that Jake "disappear" to avoid attention. Agonized over Sadie's death, Jake decides to return to 2011 to reset the timeline and undo Sadie's untimely death.
...
When Jake returns to June 2011, he discovers that the United States has been ravaged by nuclear apocalypse and frequent natural disasters. Stumbling through Lisbon Falls, he comes across a wheelchair-bound Harry Dunning and saves him from being attacked by a teen gang. Harry outlines the history of the world after November 22, 1963. Kennedy was re-elected, but the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was never passed because of the declining American support for Kennedy. King was assassinated anyway, and controversial Alabama governor George Wallace became president in 1968 and escalated Vietnam into a nuclear war that precipitated other atomic conflicts around the globe. The state of Maine seceded from the U.S. and is now a Canadian province. Massive earthquakes have sunk several Japanese islands, and scientists predict that the earthquakes will escalate in intensity until they eventually tear the world apart circa 2080.

Jake undoes these events by traveling back to September 1958. He again encounters the Green Card Man, who urges him to return to June 2011 without altering and allow the portal to close permanently. After much consternation, Jake reluctantly returns to 2011 and the time portal dissipates for good. On a whim, Jake moves to Massachusetts and begins a new teaching job.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11/22/63

I don't think there is anything unusual with a writer exploring a theme from widely different viewpoints but it is interesting that 11/22/63 seems like a rewrite of The Dead Zone. It is hard to say that conclusively because King says he had the idea for 11/22/63 in 1971. Which is a little strange, unless he meant it just as a kernel, because to me looking at the ramifications of Kennedy's assassination in 1963 related to events happening in 1971 just seems a little too soon for a time travel book. Unless, it seemed more urgent and topical because of the turmoil of the early 70's.

Anyways you have two protagonist school teachers, one is a presidential assassin who prevents nuclear Armageddon by assassinating the president (The Dead Zone) and the other prevents nuclear Armageddon by allowing an assassin to assassinate the president (11/22/63). The obvious link is that presidential assassination is not frowned upon in both novels, and both prevent worse fates, but it is a little uncanny when you consider both of the novels together. Was 11/22/63 the more explicit The Dead Zone King wanted to write at the time? The Dead Zone president (from what I remember of the novel and film) always struck me as not Kennedyesque, but Martin Sheen played the character in the film (and did a great job) and Sheen is very Kennedyesque (you could throw him in a Kennedy family portrait and it would probably go unnoticed) and while I always thought of The Dead Zone president as more Reagan like,The Dead Zone novel came out in 1979 and Reagan was President in 1981. Possibly Reagan's presence was known and he was visible as a presidential candidate, or King had some other wack nut presidential contender as model?

Just strange when you step back and look at American culture in regards to presidential and presidential candidate assassinations and these two novels of King's which I think are his most political. Both are basically saying it's a necessary evil to save the world.
If I knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. St. Paul
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer
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50/50

Postby IanEye » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:57 pm

brekin » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:41 pm wrote:Anyways you have two protagonist school teachers, one is a presidential assassin who prevents nuclear Armageddon by assassinating the president (The Dead Zone) and the other prevents nuclear Armageddon by allowing an assassin to assassinate the president (11/22/63).



IanEye » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:58 am wrote:Johnny Smith doesn't successfully assassinate Greg Stillson.
But he ends his political career.

That is because Stillson grabs a child out of the audience and uses that child as a human shield.
Once the Press reports on this act of cowardice, Stillson's political ambitions are unattainable..

If you study The Dead Zone and King's following novel Firestarter, it puts his new "lone gunman" novel about the assassination of JFK in an interesting perspective.

*

Oh, and this is for Hugh:





IanEye » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:11 pm wrote:i was talking with a friend of mine who is a big Stephen King fan about the "11/22/63" novel and how King goes out of his way to split the difference between he and his spouse Tabitha in regards to how JFK was assassinated. Mr. King believes Oswald acted alone, while Mrs. King believes there was a conspiracy. The main point seems to be that it is alright to just shrug and say, "who knows?" and go on with your lives.

I think the main goal for the 50th anniversary is to achieve a 50/50 split in public polling in America. At the 25th anniversary, far more people believed there was some sort of conspiracy, people just differed on who the players were.

50/50 is a much more desirable outcome for some. As we have seen from the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings it is very beneficial to have a significant amount of the populace remain very paranoid about the government. So, it doesn't make sense to have all belief in a government controlled conspiracy go away, but getting the stats down to 50/50 brings a sense of entropy to the whole affair.



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Re: 50/50

Postby brekin » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:14 pm

IanEye » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:57 pm wrote:
brekin » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:41 pm wrote:Anyways you have two protagonist school teachers, one is a presidential assassin who prevents nuclear Armageddon by assassinating the president (The Dead Zone) and the other prevents nuclear Armageddon by allowing an assassin to assassinate the president (11/22/63).



IanEye » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:58 am wrote:Johnny Smith doesn't successfully assassinate Greg Stillson.
But he ends his political career.

That is because Stillson grabs a child out of the audience and uses that child as a human shield.
Once the Press reports on this act of cowardice, Stillson's political ambitions are unattainable..

If you study The Dead Zone and King's following novel Firestarter, it puts his new "lone gunman" novel about the assassination of JFK in an interesting perspective.

*

Oh, and this is for Hugh:





IanEye » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:11 pm wrote:i was talking with a friend of mine who is a big Stephen King fan about the "11/22/63" novel and how King goes out of his way to split the difference between he and his spouse Tabitha in regards to how JFK was assassinated. Mr. King believes Oswald acted alone, while Mrs. King believes there was a conspiracy. The main point seems to be that it is alright to just shrug and say, "who knows?" and go on with your lives.

I think the main goal for the 50th anniversary is to achieve a 50/50 split in public polling in America. At the 25th anniversary, far more people believed there was some sort of conspiracy, people just differed on who the players were.

50/50 is a much more desirable outcome for some. As we have seen from the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings it is very beneficial to have a significant amount of the populace remain very paranoid about the government. So, it doesn't make sense to have all belief in a government controlled conspiracy go away, but getting the stats down to 50/50 brings a sense of entropy to the whole affair.


.


Yes, of course, not sure how I botched that (The Dead Zone protagonist not being successful (murder wise) with his attempt). I think because maybe in my mind he was "successful" with what he was trying to accomplish. I guess I have to slightly modify and say:

Just strange when you step back and look at American culture in regards to presidential and presidential candidate assassinations and attempted assassinations and these two novels of King's which I think are his most political. Both are basically saying it's a necessary evil to save the world.
If I knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. St. Paul
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer
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"This isn't Dallas, it's Nashville..."

Postby IanEye » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:49 pm

The Dead Zone is one of my favorites by King.
I always found it strange that the novel, published in 1979, features a botched assassination that is an inverse mirror of the botched assassination of Reagan in 1981.
Where the first attempt ends Stillson's career, the attempt on Reagan is often credited as giving him the "teflon" he needed to be an untouchable two term President.

I also found it strange that in the milieu of assassins Chapman and Hinkley, "Catcher In The Rye" and "Taxi Driver" are the supposed inspirations, when Altman's "Nashville" is the obvious muse.



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