JFK as an Icon
When thinking about the iconic figure, there are certain names that immediately spring to mind, John Lennon, Che Guevara, Elvis to name but a few, although the figure who seems to have had the biggest impact, especially in American culture is JFK, who is often looked upon as a Marta by American people. There are many suggested reasons why this is the case, the fact that he died while in presidency and the world famous footage of the assassination, the fact that his presidency was seen as ‘The Camelot’ period, and the American people were genuinely happy with the presidency of the time, it could also be his charismatic character and good looks that has kept him in such high opinion with the American citizens, in my essay I will examine these issues and more, looking at pop art recreations of JFK, Photojournalism used at the time of the presidency, I will also look at JFK the film, and Oliver Stones interpretation of aspects surrounding JFK, I will also look at how the assassination footage is so memorable, and how it could contribute to his iconic status I will also examine the re-appropriation of the Kennedy image, and the assassination footage in continuing to build on the Kennedy myth.
It is true that Kennedy was a good president, before him it was impossible for anyone under 50, to identify themselves with the president, apart from being president he became a symbol for Americas most cherished ideals, during his presidency he offered his public an opportunity to join him in the fantasy he projected, The man who was president still exerts a mythical pull generated by the drama of his presidency, his physical grace, and the terrible events surrounding his death captured on film, the image of his head exploding that we can never erase, but myth’s can cut both ways, allowing most to see Kennedy as a hero, still some as a villain. The man who saved the world from nuclear war in the Cuban missile crisis, or the cold war warrior who brought the world to the brink of destruction, The lost leader who could have saved the agony of Vietnam, or the man who set the scene for the tragedy, a devoted father and husband or a compulsive womaniser, who’s recklessness’ is more than any president since. What ever there opinion, they still see him as an icon in this essay I have tried to explore the reasons for this.
Photojournalism paid a big part in Kennedy’s appeal, photos showing John and Jackie such as figure three, made the American people aspire to them, they were beautiful, glamorous and had huge sex appeal, they had film star qualities
When appearing on TV instead of thinking of the public as his voters, he saw them as his audience; his attitude when appearing on television was very cool and collective. In the past when politicians had appeared they had seemed uninteresting and un-composed, this could be due to the fact that it was still quite new medium, only being used since the forties some of the politicians were still getting to grips with it, though Kennedy realised its full potential, he looked good on camera and is charisma came through. An example of his early successes was just before he was voted into presidency a live debate against Nixon, up until this point many voters still believed JFK was too inexperienced to become president, although in this debate he out shun Nixon, he answered questions directly and to the point, where Nixon hesitated, he looked better on camera than Nixon, and used humour to get the public on his side an make Nixon look bad. His style and elegance swung many voters into believing he would make a good president.
Some topics in this essay:
John F Kennedy, John F Kennedy Assassination, Lyndon B Johnson, Vietnam War, Assassination, President Of The United States, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jacqueline Bouvier, Kennedy Administration, Robert Rauschenberg,
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