[NOTE: This is a partial repeat of a previous post.]
Here are some of writer John Updike’s reflection on the JFK assassination, originally published at the time in the “Notes and Comments” segment of The New Yorker, and featured again in this New Yorker tribute to Updike published shortly after the author’s death. I think it is one of the best descriptions I’ve ever read of the emotional atmosphere of the event for those of us who lived through it:
It was as if we slept from Friday to Monday and dreamed an oppressive, unsearchably significant dream, which, we discovered on awaking, millions of others had dreamed also. Furniture, family, the streets, and the sky dissolved, only the dream on television was real. The faces of the world’s great mingled with the faces of landladies who happened to house an unhappy ex-Marine; cathedrals alternated with warehouses; temples of government with suburban garages; anonymous men tugged at a casket in a glaring airport; a murder was committed before our eyes; a Dallas strip-tease artist drawled amiably of her employer’s quick temper; the heads of state of the Western world strode down a sunlit street like a grim village rabble; and Jacqueline Kennedy became Persephone, the Queen of Hades and the beautiful bride of grief. All human possibilities, of magnificence and courage, of meanness and confusion, seemed to find an image in this long montage, and a stack of cardboard boxes in Dallas, a tawdry movie house, a tiny rented room where some shaving cream still clung to the underside of a washbasin, a row of parking meters that had witnessed a panicked flight all acquired the opaque and dreadful importance that innocent objects acquire in nightmares.
And here’s Jacqueline Kennedy as Persephone, the Queen of Hades and the beautiful bride of grief: