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  • #31
    Originally posted by Nash
    Probably partly because



    In fact, the moment when JFK "goes" (Nov 22 1963) is the key point of the chronology. Sam goes near this date as fast as Hailey moves away.
    For instance,
    H90 : Nov 1970; ie 7 years after, and S271 : Oct 1956; ie 7 years before.
    H181 : Jul 1984; ie 20 years and some months after and S180 : Jan 1943; ie 20 years and some months before
    H271 : Ap 1999; ie 35 years and six months after and S90: May 1928; ie 35 years and 6 months before
    H360: Jan 2063; 99 years and 3 months after (but we can expect that the last event will be on Nov 22 2063), and S1 : Nov 22 1863, a century before.

    And it's true for each page. It can also be noticed that the chronology slows down when it goes near the key moment.

    When you refer to the key moment, which moment specifically are you refering to? The "end?" I noticed time (history) slowing here as well.

    Why is JFK's death date such a significant one? Why is this the one that is exactly halfway in the 200 years of histroy spanned in the side bar?

    Also, I noticed that the history seemed to resonate much more when it was in time periods that I actually remembered the history from being alive at the time. The late 1800's and early 20th centuries were harder to get meaning from/relate to.
    Last edited by poco locomotive; 04-12-2006, 04:51 AM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by poco locomotive
      When you refer to the key moment, which moment specifically are you refering to? The "end?" I noticed time (history) slowing here as well.

      Why is JFK's death date such a significant one? Why is this the one that is exactly halfway in the 200 years of histroy spanned in the side bar?
      The key moment is JFK's death. I don't know why, but one of my HOL's interpretation was that Jed could represent JFK and Holloway, Lee Harvey Oswald (and Mr. Monster, the "real" killer). MZD may be fascinated by this story.

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      • #33
        It might be noted also that 1863 was also the height of the Civil War.

        Both events - the Civil War and the assassination of JFK - are often referred to as supremely defining moments for the country, and both have been connected to the development of the nation's "psyche" as periods characterized by the "death of innocence", a notion quite in touch with the character of these two narratives, in my view.

        The Civil War marked the death of innocence in terms of the "new republic," which to that point was seen as a kind of beacon of democratic possibilities and the inspiration for France's democratic revolution. But the "fratricide" of the Civil War ended that period of optimism and hope.

        Similarly, the JFK era, the "new Camelot", was - correctly or incorrectly - seen also as a kind of New Hope - an era of positive democratic values, of postwar prosperity and world leadership (cf 1962 Cuban missile crisis). The nation was characterized by a forward-looking optimism, due in no small part to the charisma and popularity of the president.

        JFK's assassination was an ephoch-making moment, in that it abruptly pulled the plug on the nation's New Hope - afterward, we got Johnson, Vietnam, the race riots, etc., eventually culminating in the Rise of Disco.
        Last edited by modiFIed; 04-12-2006, 06:58 AM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by katatonic
          So how about our circle with the two lines in it. The two lines are Sam and Hailey, and the circle around them is "only revolving", maybe not protecting?
          Ever since I got the book, I've thought the lines and the circle were the llo in the allone.

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          • #35
            That's good info, modi.

            What interests me is MZD's specific choice of events. If you'll remember, in the Submissions he asked us specifically not to include cultural or popular events. And yet, the sidebar is filled mostly with stuff you'll find in a World History in Ten Concise Tables pocket book, anyway. I mean, Superbowl, Gandhi, Titanic, etc.

            Also important, I think, is that so far I've only come across water disasters in the sidebar. Are there any volcanoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters mentioned in there? MZD is focusing on a few very specific topics (or themes, if you will) for that sidebar, which he keeps returning to.
            Last edited by sutrix; 04-12-2006, 10:01 AM.

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            • #36
              And what about Mount St Helen ?

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              • #37
                Originally posted by sutrix

                Also important, I think, is that so far I've only come across water disasters in the sidebar. Are there any volcanoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters mentioned in there? MZD is focusing on a few very specific topics (or themes, if you will) for that sidebar, which he keeps returning to.
                April 26 1991, tornados

                June 12 1991, Mount Pinatubo erupts.

                I think I remember a quake earlier, but not exactly where.

                Edit: Just found: Sept 13 1991 Himalayan shake (earthquake)
                Last edited by heartbreak; 04-12-2006, 07:22 PM.

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                • #38
                  Thanks, heart. Water disasters still outweigh all others so far in the book.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by modiFIed
                    It might be noted also that 1863 was also the height of the Civil War.

                    Both events - the Civil War and the assassination of JFK - are often referred to as supremely defining moments for the country, and both have been connected to the development of the nation's "psyche" as periods characterized by the "death of innocence", a notion quite in touch with the character of these two narratives, in my view.

                    The Civil War marked the death of innocence in terms of the "new republic," which to that point was seen as a kind of beacon of democratic possibilities and the inspiration for France's democratic revolution. But the "fratricide" of the Civil War ended that period of optimism and hope.

                    Similarly, the JFK era, the "new Camelot", was - correctly or incorrectly - seen also as a kind of New Hope - an era of positive democratic values, of postwar prosperity and world leadership (cf 1962 Cuban missile crisis). The nation was characterized by a forward-looking optimism, due in no small part to the charisma and popularity of the president.

                    JFK's assassination was an ephoch-making moment, in that it abruptly pulled the plug on the nation's New Hope - afterward, we got Johnson, Vietnam, the race riots, etc., eventually culminating in the Rise of Disco.
                    There are also parallels between the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy. I remember reading some 'Believe it or not' thing when I was a kid that described all these amazing coincidences between L & K at the time of the assassination, and between John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. Of course, most of these 'coincidences' turn out to be bullshit on closer inspection (a break-down by those ever-reliable killjoys at snopes.com can be found here), but it remains true that there is a strong identification of Kennedy with Lincoln in the popular imagination. All that stuff you describe about the optimism of the Kennedy era, modi – was it really the feeling at the time, or was it projected back onto Kennedy when he had the good fortune to be assassinated and linked forever in the nation's memory with the greatest president of all? Either way, a large part of the success in constructing of the Kennedy era as some kind of golden age in the nation's history was to do with the (implicit or explicit) identification of that era with the era of emancipation and the new republic.

                    Of course, the timeline is slightly out of whack, as Lincoln did not die exactly 100 years before Kennedy (1865/1963). Even so, there is overlap in the novel's history timeline, because time goes slightly faster at the beginning of S than at the beginning of H. The Lincoln assassination is alluded to at S2 (the page headed Sept 1864); but at H2 it is still the aftermath of Kennedy's death (still 1963).

                    Also, in line with the observation that 'death' is not mentioned in the history gutters: the line quoted here is JWB's Sic semper tyrannis, which often gets translated into English as 'Death to Tyrants'; but of course the word 'death' is only implicit in the Latin phrase, 'Thus ever for tyrants'.

                    Edit: one other (unrelated) point: the names of presidents are used in the narrative to denote cash values when associated with the Leftwrist Twist: at S127: 'My Leftwrist Ruby Twist's not liquid enough, Cleveland enough' (Grover Cleveland was on the 1000 dollar bill in the 1930s); and at H127: 'His Leftwrist Steel Twist's not tender enough, not Lincoln enough (Lincoln's on the $5 bill). I like the double meanings of 'liquid' and 'tender' here.
                    Last edited by Raminagrobis; 04-13-2006, 05:49 AM.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Rami
                      was it really the feeling at the time, or was it projected back onto Kennedy when he had the good fortune to be assassinated and linked forever in the nation's memory with the greatest president of all?
                      That's the question - and why I added that "correctly or incorrectly" - it's tough now to even know what the real mood was. I wasn't around, nor were most people alive today, so we depend on the media to provide an honest and accurate accounting of how things really were.

                      Good luck with that.

                      But we can say that any lionizing of Kennedy and his era must be tempered with his failure at the Bay of Pigs, plus the fact that it was JFK who really got US into Vietnam, starting with material and "advisers" (my father was one) in 1961 to help the GVN counter the NLF. One of the last things his administration did was give the nod to the S. Vietnamese military in approval of its plans for a coup against Diem and the GVN, which occured two weeks prior to the assassination. Johnson inherited that situation, and found it hard to back out given the characterization by Kennedy of S Vietnam as the "finger in the dyke" against communist expansion in Indochina.

                      It's telling that Kennedy-loving "journalists" of today always zero in on a conversation he had with a reporter in mid-1963. The reported asked if we should get troops involved in Vietnam, and Kennedy seemed to be saying he wouldn't commit troops - but of course politicians always say that while the military plans the initial operations.
                      Last edited by modiFIed; 04-13-2006, 06:10 AM.

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                      • #41
                        Interesting. There are also other more-or-less obvious problems with the popular identification of Lincoln and Kennedy at the level of personality: Lincoln was a great orator, and Kennedy had that ridiculous voice; Lincoln was a bastion of morality, and Kennedy was a philanderer; Lincoln was great, and Kennedy was something of an idiot. Or is Kennedy's enduring popularity actually because of and not despite these character flaws?

                        I think The Simpsons has perhaps done the most to debunk the Kennedy mythos, what with Mayor Joe Quimby (who, admittedly, has a touch of the Nixons about him too).

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                        • #42
                          I think most American men had to admire anyone who could run the country and manage to hold Marilyn Monroe's ass in both hands from time to time.

                          The cult of personality and the advent of the media "darling" had a lot to do with it too. Jackie, cute and perky in her pillbox hats. Little John-John playing under the desk in the Oval Office. JFK and RFK with their abundance of hair, and those playful pushes of the locks out of the sparkling eyes, the fake self-deprecation and ever-present aroma of old money.

                          Americans love a show. Much more than the truth.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Raminagrobis
                            Edit: one other (unrelated) point: the names of presidents are used in the narrative to denote cash values when associated with the Leftwrist Twist: at S127: 'My Leftwrist Ruby Twist's not liquid enough, Cleveland enough' (Grover Cleveland was on the 1000 dollar bill in the 1930s); and at H127: 'His Leftwrist Steel Twist's not tender enough, not Lincoln enough (Lincoln's on the $5 bill). I like the double meanings of 'liquid' and 'tender' here.
                            Even more unrelated: Cleveland=cleave, Lincoln=link?

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by hello?
                              Even more unrelated: Cleveland=cleave, Lincoln=link?
                              Nice.

                              The word 'cleave' is used a lot in the narrative, isn't it? I noted it down a few times. It's a good word, because it has that handy double meaning built into it, 'to split'/'to cling to', 'to separate'/'to join together'.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Raminagrobis
                                All that stuff you describe about the optimism of the Kennedy era, modi – was it really the feeling at the time, or was it projected back onto Kennedy when he had the good fortune to be assassinated and linked forever in the nation's memory with the greatest president of all?
                                This is tangential, I know, but: Kennedy was the first President not to wear a hat at his inauguration; the story is that that fact caused hat-wearing by men (as part of business attire) to fall out of style in this country.

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