Bob Dylan, Festival de Pedralbes
Bob Dylan at Festival Jardins de Pedralbes in 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo credit: © Album via ZUMA Press

— OPINION —

In the rash of hot takes that followed Bob Dylan’s release of a previously unknown track, most commentators tiptoed around the true news value: a major cultural icon has boldly given voice to a widely held, but professionally radioactive belief: that John F. Kennedy was killed, not by the “lone nut” Lee Harvey Oswald, but as part of a plot that was tantamount to a coup d’etat. And one that reshaped and misdirected his own generation and those that followed.

This is an intriguing topic, but most commentary on the newly released track came from writers who were either ill-informed about its controversial subject or felt more comfortable in some safe corner (competing to catalog the song’s many cultural references, while skirting the big picture). 

A few writers, like Berkeley professor Timothy Hampton, come close to the heart of the song. But even these interpretations head off into the weeds, making the Kennedy assassination a jumping-off point for other observations — in Hampton’s words, that Dylan is ruminating “about what constitutes an event, and about how an event takes on meaning beyond itself.” Music journalist Tim Sommer gets it right: “Bob Dylan … is sadly but firmly stating that his generation were so easily distracted by the shiny objects of pop culture that they ignored a coup.” But even Sommer leaves that statement there, without explication.  

Vanity Fair’s take, on the other hand, is based on a conclusion that is flat-out wrong. “Like most honest chroniclers of the assassination,” writes Michael Hogan, “Dylan invokes the conspiracies without attempting to either confirm or deny their validity.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth. In this song, Dylan is clearly saying Kennedy was killed by a group of conspirators so that they could seize power. He’s saying it happened before our very eyes, and that Dylan’s generation — the cohort he supposedly represented in the 1960s, when the press dubbed him “the voice of a generation” — couldn’t or wouldn’t see it. 

Dylan is hardly alone in making the claim. Even a governmental body, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, declared in its final report, released 16 years after Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, that it looked like a probable conspiracy. Public sentiment in most opinion polls leans that way too, and there are enough books and movies making the case to fill a small library. Jesse Curry, chief of the Dallas Police Department at the time of the event, would later write: 

We don’t have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle, and never did. Nobody’s yet been able to put him in that building with a gun in his hand. And the few who have bothered to study the voluminous exhibits accompanying the Warren Commission Report know how often the panel’s own evidence contradicts its conclusions. 

No less than Bobby Kennedy, the attorney general under his brother, in the hours after Dallas turned to CIA Director John McCone, demanding to know if the agency had been involved. Bobby himself would five years later be taken out, reportedly by another person characterized as a “lone assassin.” 

But Dylan is Dylan. And what he has to say — plus how he says it — matters to more people than, say, the independent journalists and amateur researchers who have pursued this story for more than half a century.  

The songwriter reminds us again and again, in graphic imagery, that this act was bloody and brutal. His point isn’t obscure or philosophical. It’s direct, and even plain: an unnamed “they” killed the king to seize his kingdom, as conspirators have always done. 

Dylan is saying that the seminal event of the 1960s was a magic trick, a coup, an act of misdirection that shifted history before the eyes of a world that would not or could not see. 

Then, the song says, a generation built its own world on an architecture of illusion.

The Track

Observers have tended to assume that the song is recent. Perhaps it is, but Dylan’s voice seems more ragged on his recent recordings. Judging by the tone of Dylan’s ever shifting whiskey-and-cigarette vocal overtones, “Murder Most Foul” sounds more like something from  his “Time Out of Mind” era in the 1990s. 

Whatever its provenance, however, the commentators who tried to decode its historical and cultural references are playing games on the song’s surface without looking beneath it. This is no “American Pie,” no upbeat folk-pop confection meant to be deciphered at parties or on first dates. Everything about the song, from the gravity of Dylan’s delivery to the somber strings layered behind him, tells us that this is serious business.

Let’s start with that title. “Murder most foul” is the phrase used by the dead king in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as he tells his son, heir, and namesake that he has been murdered by his own brother. The words were chosen by a songwriter who is also an extraordinarily literate and careful reader — so much so, in fact, that he has been accused of “stealing” lyrics and ideas from sources as varied as a retired Yakuza gangster and an obscure poet from the 19th century antebellum South. (I’m not sure how such adoptions, if true, deserve as criminal an appellation as “theft.” Personally, I hope he committed those “crimes,” and I hope he got away clean.)

The full exchange from which his song gets its title goes as follows:

GHOST: If thou didst ever thy dear father love — 

HAMLET: Oh, God!

GHOST: Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

HAMLET: Murder!

GHOST: Murder most foul, as in the best it is,

But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.

The message seems clear enough. Dylan’s own generation, and those that followed, professed their love for JFK and what he represented. And yet, they rarely inquire into the nature of his death, much less seek to avenge it. 

Premeditated. Foul. Strange. Unnatural. Mark those words. They were carefully chosen.

Premeditated 

“President Kennedy was riding high,” sings Dylan, adding the traditional words of a warrior about to die: “A good day to be living and a good day to die.”

In Dylan’s telling, Kennedy is confronted by his murderers. 

Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb
Say wait a minute, boys, do you know who I am?

“Of course we do, we know who you are,” the conspirators answer.

They’re talking in the language of gangsters. And the plural form — “boys” — makes it clear that Dylan believes the assassination was the work of more than one person. Dylan is rejecting the idea that Oswald fired the shots on his own, and that his bullets performed magical feats of trickery as they penetrated more than one occupant of Kennedy’s limousine.

Detroit News, John F Kennedy, assassination

Front page of an extra edition of the ‘Detroit News’ on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Photo credit: Springfield Daily News / Wikimedia

Foul 

“Then they blew off his head when he was still in the car.”

Dylan doesn’t mince words. It was a brutal killing, the slaughter of a man in the presence of his wife and a cheering crowd. “Shot down like a dog in broad daylight,” Dylan sings, “it was a matter of timing and the timing was right.”

Why was it “a matter of timing,” and why was the timing right? Kennedy was reportedly at odds with the CIA after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Other reports suggest that Kennedy may have been winding down the presence of US “advisers” in Vietnam, although this remains a matter of speculation.

How foul was the killing of the president? Dylan doesn’t mince words:

You gotta pay debts, we’ve come to collect
We’re gonna kill you with hatred, without any respect
We’ll mock you and shock you and we’ll put it in your face
We’ve already got someone here to take your place

The day they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching

More than half a century later, Dylan describes the violence of the act with an undiluted intensity that startles the listener. He seems to be fixated on frame 313 of the Zapruder film, bafflingly withheld from the public for years by Time-Life, which shows a bullet shattering the president’s skull. 

The media as a whole softened the violence of the act in the wake of the assassination,  studiously avoiding presenting its more violent images. Those only began to appear years later. The Zapruder film was not shown on television until March 6, 1975, on Geraldo Rivera’s Good Night America. The public outrage that followed led to investigations in both the House and Senate. 

JFK Official Portrait

Posthumous official presidential portrait (cropped) of President John F. Kennedy painted by Aaron A. Shikle in 1970. Photo credit: The White House / Wikimedia

Strange 

Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly — so quick by surprise
Right there in front of everyone’s eyes

“No one saw a thing.” The assassination was seen firsthand by hundreds of people, and the Zapruder film would eventually enter the public consciousness. We feel as though we saw the killing. But somehow the real act remained — and remains — invisible. 

Most remember an airbrushed JFK, while the violence of his death — and the forces that might have been behind it — are rarely recalled. It’s as if everyone who lived through it suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, excising the painful memory from conscious recall. But they had help. Here’s what is really strange: The darker implications of the assassination have been obscured by what looks like a huge and almost inexplicable collaboration involving media, government, and academia to foster the “lone gunman” myth. These unanswered questions go largely unaddressed, in a kind of collective amnesia that’s been passed on, almost epigenetically, to the generations that followed.

Unnatural 

That’s some feat. In Dylan’s telling, the assassination was a masterful deception — one that led his generation into distractions and misdirection. 

Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done

Scientist’s Trick ‘Explains’ JFK Backward Movement When Shot

JFK Had Ordered Full Withdrawal from Vietnam: Solid Evidence

Magic tricks are impressive because they seem to defy the laws of nature. They are the dark side of the miraculous, an inverse of biblical deeds like walking on water or reviving the dead. Even these affirmative miracles violate the laws of nature, which is why Ralph Waldo Emerson rejected them in a speech to the Harvard Divinity School. Such miracles were “monster,” in Emerson’s words, “not one with the clover and the falling rain.”

Kennedy’s death was the opposite of a miracle. It was a dark and monstrous act that changed the course of history. We will never know how events would have unfolded if Kennedy hadn’t died on that day. Kennedy had recently signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and was known to be an opponent of nuclear bomb tests. 

In one of his bolder and less-remembered peace initiatives, JFK had proposed making the moon landing a joint US–Soviet mission. That idea, which could have led to a powerful shift in the culture of the Cold War, was raised just two months before his murder in Dallas.

Would JFK have de-escalated the conflict in Vietnam? Would he have done more to rein in the CIA? Or do ideas like these come from a desire to airbrush history, a sentimental impulse to elevate the young president’s memory?

We don’t know the killers’ names. Dylan implies that Lyndon Johnson knew what was happening, and that the killing was a deliberate power play. Is he right? Dylan presumably has no access to secret information. But the public record itself raises deep questions about the official story.

Members of the Warren Commission

Members of the Warren Commission present their report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to President Lyndon Johnson. Cabinet Room, White House, Washington DC. L-R: John McCloy, J. Lee Rankin (General Counsel), Senator Richard Russell, Congressman Gerald Ford, Chief Justice Earl Warren, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Allen Dulles, Senator John Sherman Cooper, and Congressman Hale Boggs Photo credit:  Cecil Stoughton / White House / Wikimedia

Monsters

This unnatural killing brought forth monsters, in the Emersonian sense. But in this case they are monsters that entertain. The cultural miracles of the 1960s brought forth colorful mutant foliage, flora that distracted a generation from its stolen destiny. 

Dylan follows his “magic trick” lyric with a shout-out to his generation’s most famous radio personality, one who bears the name of a monster:

Wolfman, oh wolfman, oh wolfman, howl
Rub a dub dub — it’s murder most foul

Wolfman Jack, born Robert Weston Smith, first came to fame on “border radio” in 1963, the year Kennedy died. These stations were based in Mexico, where US regulations didn’t apply. They could send high-powered signals that covered much of North America. Wolfman Jack was based in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and he described the station this way: “We had the most powerful signal in North America … A car driving from New York to LA would never lose the station.”

He also said this: “Birds dropped dead when they flew too close to the tower.”

As anyone who has seen the old Lon Chaney films knows, a wolfman is someone who can’t suppress the monster inside him.

Merchants of Death

Dylan has some requests for the howling and disembodied voice from across the border:

Play the Merchant of Venice, play the merchants of death
Play “Stella by Starlight” for Lady Macbeth
Don’t worry Mr. President, help’s on the way
Your brothers are comin’, there’ll be hell to pay
Brothers? What brothers? What’s this about hell?
Tell ‘em we’re waitin’ — keep coming — we’ll get ‘em as well

The merchants of death have seized power, says Dylan. Soon, they will kill Robert F. Kennedy, too. Others are brothers in spirit, if not to the living JFK then to the idealistic image that lingered after his death. Who are these brothers — Malcolm X? The Black Panthers? Martin Luther King Jr.? They will meet the same fate. 

JFK Assassination Anniversary: Oswald Murder Witness Speaks

JFK Assassination Triggered More Than Kennedy’s Death

In the song, Kennedy rides to his doom as Dylan marks the landmarks along the way. “Try to make it to the triple underpass,” but we already know he won’t make it to this journey’s end: 

They blew off his head when he was still in the car
Shot down like a dog in broad daylight.

The road’s dark ending brings to mind the poem “The Highwayman,” by Afred Noyes, which the voracious reader Dylan undoubtedly knows. Dylan even repeats the poem’s line, “shot down like a dog”: 

Blood red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.

A highwayman was a thief. But Noyes’s highwayman found honor and love, and as a result was shot down by King George’s men. Could Dylan be saying that Kennedy, too, was murdered by the true powers behind the throne? 

He seems to be saying that Kennedy expediently gained the presidency through some deals with bad people, then didn’t carry out his part of the bargain. “You got unpaid debts and we’ve come to collect,” the killers tell Kennedy. 

“Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder”

The ghosts of the murdered cry out for vengeance. But murders can’t be avenged until the killers are identified. In Dylan’s telling, Kennedy knew his killers. In the public narrative, however, a lone and disaffected stranger murdered the president almost by chance.

If Kennedy knowingly defied some ruthless people, then to deny the existence of a conspiracy is to deny Kennedy the martyr’s death he deserves. For the generation that most admired Kennedy, the generation to which Dylan himself belongs, that would amount to a form of betrayal. 

The failure to confront this betrayal arguably allowed the “coup” to stand, shifting the balance of political power and leading to decades of failure, immiseration, and inequality. As the Wolfman himself said, “Birds dropped dead when they flew too close to the tower.”

Dylan couldn’t have said it any plainer. But, if all the analyses of this song missed the point, if the commenters got lost in a maze of song references and cultural puzzle-play — well, that’s the story of Dylan’s generation, too. 

“Look for me by moonlight,” says the highwayman to his lover. “Play ‘Stella by Starlight’ for Lady MacBeth,” says Dylan. “Stella by starlight,” says that old song, “and not a dream.”

The JFK assassination was not a dream, no matter how much we have ignored it or wished it away. It can’t be a dream, not for Lady MacBeth and not for us, because there is a damned spot of blood on our history and it can’t be washed away. 


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from National Archives and Alberto Cabello / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

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robert e williamson jr
robert e williamson jr
1 year ago

I’m sure hoping that the number of responses here and everywhere else please Bob Dylan.

It is amazing that his story and music elicited the number of comments I’ve seen everywhere.

It is unfortunate however that Mr. Harrison doesn’t get it.

Lonny Harrison
Lonny Harrison
1 year ago

Good analysis, I follow you…but what about the other 15 mins of the song?

Lonny
Lonny
1 year ago

Good analysis, I follow you…but what about the other 15 mins of the song?

Mitch S
Mitch S
1 year ago

To me it’s very clear what Bob is talking about in this song, and it fits well with his religious beliefs and who he thinks is running the earth. “Brothers? What brothers? What’s this about hell? Tell them, “We’re waiting, keep coming.” Satanic forces are at work now and Bob makes that very clear in the message he sent to his fans when he released this song. “Stay safe, stay observant and God Bless.”

Jonathan Mark
1 year ago

Special article that backs up what is true about the “conspiracy” of the assassination and cover-up, and the brilliance of Dylan’s subtle and direct way of dealing with it. I mentioned my thoughts of the song at a dj’s timeline who posted it and kind of got yelled at for claiming it was a coup and that people felt I was invading such a timeline post. Finding such an article to back up my comments is really very appreciated.

Thank you Richard Eskow and of course the troubadour himself.

robert e williamson jr
robert e williamson jr
1 year ago

This comment is to everyone who has commented here, but i want to single out especially Mr. Gerald Goldberg . You mentioned The NSA of 1947, this act was a sister/brother act tied at the hip to the United states Atomic Energy Act of 1947, the later being a major driving force behind the birth of the former, the National Security Act.

I become familiar with both through my former employment. Based on what I learned, research and reading history I believe that Allen and John Foster Dulles, with help from especially Robert Blum and others in the Dulles inner circle at the behest of a group I call the SWETS, super wealthy elitists, hijacked the CIA during the time they created it.

Has anyone her ever heard of this book, an authorized history of the CIA, “THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, an instrument of government to 1950” , written by Arthur B. Darling ?

I’ll assume that not many know of it’s existence. This book is not a fun read but it is extremely enlightening. It seems from day one the Dulles’ and Blum desired the CIA be privately funded.

I cutting this off here to ensure it gets posted, great comments and remember You’re never too old to rock and roll! REW born 70 years ago.

Thanks to all at WWW.

Jim Powell
Jim Powell
1 year ago

I want to add that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s essay in the Dec. 5, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone (#1197), p. 49-54, “John F. Kennedy’s Vision of Peace,” makes an extremely important contribution to this discussion.

Jim Powell
Jim Powell
1 year ago

Thank you for this excellent article. One point, however: There is no longer any question about JFK’s intention to withdraw from Vietnam. He signed an executive order to that effect during the last month of his presidency. This is documented in

Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy (New York, Skyhorse, 2007)

James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable (Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books, 2008)

L. Fletcher Prouty, JFK, The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy (New York, Birch Lane, 1992)

Jim Powell
Jim Powell
1 year ago

Thank you for this first rate essay. American mainstream journalistic reception of Dylan’s song so far is of a piece with the conspiracy of silent and deceit which it has maintained since November 22, 1963. It’s good to see one person stand up and tell the truth, and one source publish it. Free speech and a free press are not yet utterly dead in America, but they have been in the ICU for decades.

However, one point needs making:

It is now an ESTABLISHED FACT that during the last month of his life, culminating administration activities going back months, JFK signed an order beginning a withdrawal of US “advisors” (troops) from Vietnam. There is no long any reasonable doubt about this fact.

See especially

Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy, JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (New York, Sky Horse, 2007),

James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable (Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books, 2008) and

L. Fletcher Prouty, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy (New York, Birch Lane, 1992).

Will R.
Will R.
1 year ago

As a longtime Bob nut and a JFK conspiracy aficionado for over a decade, I am doubly moved. In Oswald’s final public appearance, as he was walked down a hall past reporters, he said “I’m just a patsy.” Bob mentions that word, and the three “tramps” who were mysteriously “arrested” in the vicinity after the assassination (and more mysteriously released). JFK and the Unspeakable by James Douglass is the single best book on the subject, but there are many good ones. (Not Posner! or Bugliosi) That it’s coming out on his new record makes it very likely that it’s recently recorded. So awesome that even at 77 he is still capable of amazing us. One thing I haven’t seen noted is how much violence is in Bob’s recent work. It’s all over “Tempest” including the promotional videos, and his Nobel speech.

John Caruso
John Caruso
1 year ago

Thank you for discussing this most relevant recent creation by Bob Dylan and covering it in depth. The impact of the assassination is given its depth and kept alive in the secret language of music by a well-deserved Nobel Prize contributor. Many thanks as well to other commenters who appreciate this.

Ren
Ren
1 year ago

Dylan has always had an eye/ear for dynamic events, gunfire and violence; and critics of the official Kennedy assassination narrative have always been inventive and voluble. Mind, as a man only a little younger than Bob, I don’t quibble with the possibility that there were others involved in the assassination, though I’m now sure there never will be one story everyone can accept.

My problem with conspiracy theories tends to be unilateral and turns on the premise that not all evidence is either evidence or equal and any conspiracy is only as effective as the conspirators are competent and committed to silence. As for the notion that what Dylan sings he literally believes, well, millions have long speculated about that as well. I cite songs. Joey Gallo wasn’t some misunderstood family man. Leo wasn’t on the Titanic with his sketchbook when the good ship went down.

Musician and writer, Dylan toys with factuality and fantasy and may at times value his personal opinions less than he expects others will. He’s a song writer, our Laureate, with no obligation to sing the truth, as opposed to say, sing a good story. Your argument is well made enough, but it’s loaded up with speculation about what JFK might or might not have done and most aspects of your argument as I understand it don’t hold for me.

Cindy
Cindy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ren

Thanks, Ren. You’ve written my thoughts on the topic perfectly.

robert e williamson jr
robert e williamson jr
1 year ago

E.M. Schotz receives an A+ 100%, Mr. Douglas was correct.

I don’t know, it may just be me but David Talbots “The Devil’s Chessboard”, should be used to teach U.S. recent history. It is my firm belief that every high school senior should read this book and then study it in class.

It is not well known but Francis Gary Powers was shot down flying over Russia on May 1, 1960. This is of the public record but not a well known fact by anyone under the age of say, 70!

Can anyone tell me what Russians and folks world wide celebrate on May first? Ike was furious and claimed he never wanted to see the face of Allen Dulles again.

Talbot’s book is a store house of info on Allen Dulles and his inner circle of right wing extremists.

Thanks to WHO WHAT WHY and stay safe folks!

Eric R
1 year ago

Since people are doing book recommendations try Final Judgement by Michael Collins Piper that can be accessed via Unz Review free of charge.

‘Inexplicable collaboration’ (with the Big Lie)? Who inserted the early resounding affirmations of the official story in your otherwise excellent article? The author?

Dylan’s song was released at the right time.

Jim Powell
Jim Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric R

Fully agree about the silliness of “inexplicable.” Easily explicable in view of the concentration of ownership of media and the pervasive “influence” exercised by the “Mighty Wurlitzer” of covert propaganda.

E. M. Schotz
E. M. Schotz
1 year ago

If you want to know why the CIA killed JFK — read his 1963 American University speech and contemplate where he was trying to take the country and what forces he was turning against. This is all clarified in JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE: WHY HE DIED AND WHY IT MATTERS, by James W. Douglass.

Ronald Magoc
1 year ago
Reply to  E. M. Schotz

Mr. Shotz, your book “History Will Not Absolve Us” is an excellent and unique contribution to the case!

marilyn wood
1 year ago

I spent years looking for clues as to what Lee Harvey Oswald was up to and who his companions/conspiritators were up to in New Orleans when I lived there for a decade until 2018. I read widely even mapping out the movements he made.

I instantly recognized the message that Dylan was giving in the song because he was not only laying out the conspiracy, he was saying why the denial that followed it mattered.

“I said the soul of a nation been torn away
And it’s beginning to go into a slow decay
And that it’s 36 hours past Judgment Day.”

The date he recorded it is another distraction. It isn’t as important as the date of release which is current and obvious.

Why did he chose to release it on March 26, 2020? I think he was drawing a direct line between the assassination and what we are experiencing now…the complete rot of our social fabric, our ideals and our government, a direct line from our current collapse and the dissillouisionment and denial about the theft of our country by the rabid national security state and right wing haters who pulled off the coup. Denial isn’t objective, it isn’t neutral. It allows the rot to go unchecked and grow, and posits that no one in government can be trusted.

I used Thomas Merton’s term to describe it, borrowed from James Douglass’s book mentioned in another comment above. The term denotes spiritual death and complete abidcation of agency: The Unspeakable.

SmartyMarty
SmartyMarty
1 year ago

Not sure I agree with the criticism of Dylan’s generation. I am part of that generation and my perspective, and I believe the perspective of many my age, is that the Kennedy assasination was suspect but that the powers that be did not have the will to reveal the truth if indeed they knew the truth. I have always felt it clear that Oswald did not act alone if he acted at all, but that the multitude of theories were now obscuring the truth and the truth had effectively been buried.

Bob
Bob
1 year ago

Interesting article, enjoyed reading it and here in the following lyric “For the last fifty years they’ve been searching for that” Dylan is telling us that this was written in 2013

robert e williamson jr
robert e williamson jr
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

Great observation Robert.

Maybe Bob Dylan decided not to release his work on the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK murder. He surely would have been criticized by his haters as using the opportunity as a marketing tool, much like most businesses would do today.

Then the virus showed up!

I’m seventy and ashamed that my generation never seemed to get it. However, Vietnam, the Vietnam that JFK clearly intended to leave, intervened.

Now we all know how that turned out for the country don’t we!

Kanapathipillai Sivagnanasunderam

They say when JFK. Was shot & killed by elements within , every one will remember where they.were, especially for me growing up in the north of srilanka, I was listening to VOA radio station -& the news flashed, about JFK. Without any knowledge I started to cry, since he was my childhood hero & a person always looked up. The most foulsom murder in the history of mankind of this generation.

Gerald Goldberg
Gerald Goldberg
1 year ago

DEAD MAN WALKING!
Before he met his last mistress Mary Pinchot Meyer, JFK was as much a hawk as the rest of the pack. Mary got JFK to smoke weed & chill out and see life for what it was. Her big mistake was being friends with Timothy Leary, a Crypto CIA asset, who reported what Mary was doing with JFK.
JFK never realized that he didn’t have the final say on anything important!
The un-elected elite were always in charge, no matter who won the Presidential election!
The National Security Act of 1947 had changed America for the worse, along with the creation of the CIA.
Ben Bradlee, Ms Pinchot Meyer’s brother-in-law, went searching for her diary the day after he death, but when he arrived at her locked home he found James Angleton, the CIA chief spymaster and Zionist

Ronald Magoc
1 year ago

Gerald,
I don’t think JFK was ever a hawk. He battled with the Joint Chiefs (given that name by Mary Meyer?) from the beginning over their desire to overthrow Castro, and did as much as he could to ignore the hawks who wanted a showdown with the Soviets. As a senator in the early 50’s he gave a speech warning against a ground war in Vietnam.

Brian
Brian
1 year ago

Nobody would find the “certainty” of what this song is about funnier than Dylan would. This hypothesis is no more or less accurate than all the other theories sighted. Dylan has always been ambiguous, this is no different. I don’t think he’s saying anything other than this was a shocking incident And significant event in our history. He’d laugh if you proposed to him that this is what he “meant”

Ronald Magoc
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

Brian, I must disagree. Certainly Dylan has always been vague and ambiguous, but this is an exception. Mr. Eskow cites several examples where the song is very easily interpreted as declaring that this was a coup. There are others and one of the best is “they mutilated his body and took out his brain.” That is a bold statement and shows his awareness that several (3-5 ?) Parkland doctors who worked on JFK were adamant that the photos taken at the autopsy 6 hours later were not at all what they observed. Other evidence supports the alteration of the head wounds, which was done for the purpose of making the “Oswald as lone nut” fiction seem plausible.

Joseph McBride
Joseph McBride
1 year ago

Why does the author not realize that Kennedy had already begun the withdrawal from Vietnam and that LBJ secretly reversed that policy on November 24, 1963?

Penelope Aldrighetti

This analysis fits with the book: JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. Jim Douglas wrote this book, published in 2008, before the 50th anniversary of this murder most foul. He brings up all of these points and goes over the immediate history of that time. He notes the fraught relationships with the Joint Chiefs (especially Curtis LeMay) and the CIA. He reminds you of the test ban treaties that JFK wanted, but his Chiefs did not. So many details caught up in the time before he was shot. He doesn’t analyze the shooting itself so much, but the atmosphere in which it occurred. Dylan’s song could be a comment on Douglas’ book, it follows the thinking so closely.

Joseph Kramer
Joseph Kramer
1 year ago

As I argue with history profs, what we have is a situation in which the history of the 60s must be redone with a foundation of truth about the assassination rather than the fairy tales and lies that have sufficed as the basis of our thought. The truth makes things clearer. A democracy must have the truth.

Gordon
Gordon
1 year ago

Congratulations on the article. I found it spot on about the other reviews missing the point of the song.
Perhaps I can help on the dating of the song! About five or six years ago Bob´s voice, mysteriously, improved. So the song does not have to be from the 90´s.
My guess is that it is recent, from the last two years. If you have heard his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, which was read with a piano accompanying; I believe that was what showed him the way to create such a long song without having a real tune like Sad-eyed Lady or Highlands.

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