Hello. Welcome again to the year 3740. This is Teachminder Phonias J. Futz, and since my revolutionary conclusion that Abraham Lincoln was a myth my students have been scouring literature left from prior to the catastrophe for more evidence to support this thesis. And we have indeed been fortunate, though in ways unexpected.
We have uncovered two biographies of one of 20th-century Usa's most popular leaders, J. Fitzgerald Kennedy: John F. Kennedy by Mills, and Jack: A Life Like No Other by Perret. The biographies are in poor condition, but we have gleaned enough information for at least one report which has led us to a new thesis: That many alleged events in the life of Lincoln, as reported in the 20th century, relied on written antecedents recording the life of Kennedy, who lived prior to the time that the most detailed biographies of Lincoln were written.
As I read these Kennedy bios, I noticed echoes of the life of Lincoln, especially in the detailed bio of Lincoln by Donald -- parallels between the two men, then between their wives, then between their surrounding characters and persons. Both Lincoln and Kennedy demonstrated a fascination with civil rights, defense of the nation, and came to a similar end. Sometimes the similarities in accounts obtain even at the level of word choice and minor plot elements.
I have come to conclude that writers of Lincoln bios wanted their readers to detect their use of Kennedy -- directly, if not subliminally. But the Lincoln biographers did not steal from these Kennedy biographers or from Kennedy's life; they also transvalued them by making Lincoln look more virtuous and more powerful than Kennedy.
However, their imitation was not servile; they used disguises such as altering the vocabulary, varying the order, length, and structure of sentences, improving the content, and generating a series of formal transformations. They were experienced authors who borrowed from many sources (not just Kennedy bios), blending the works as a buzzstripe gathers nectar. And interestingly, it appears that readers in the 20th century were blind to this important aspect of the Lincoln biographers' project.
We will have many examples of this to present as our research continues, but for now we will use as an exemplar the most significant -- the parallels between Lincoln and Kennedy in their deaths. We believe that we will show without a doubt that Lincoln's life, as recorded and reworked in the 20th century, was built upon the foundation of Kennedy. We will begin by explaining a few of the parallels in detail and their significance, and then compile all of the parallels in columns.
Warnings Against Their Travel. On the day of his assassination, several of Lincoln's advisers "urged him not to go to the theater. Before going on a mission to Richmond, Lincoln's regular bodyguard, Lamon, begged him, "Promise me you will not go out at night while I am gone, particularly to the theater." Lamon issued such warnings so often, however, that he merely replied that he would "do the best" he could. Stanton, one of Lincoln's aides, "repeatedly warned Lincoln against mingling with promiscuous crowds at the theater."
This night was regarded as most dangerous becase of rumors that General Grant, the hated military leader under Lincoln, would be joining Lincoln.
In the time before his assassination, Kennedy received several warnings not to visit the place of his demise -- Dallas, Texas. Mills: "The president has been warned over and over again to stay away from Dallas." Representaive Hale Boggs thought Kennedy would be going into "a hornet's nest." Senator William Fulbright warned: "Dallas is a very dangerous place." An editor of a Texas newspaper said that Kennedy would "not get through this without something happening to him." Governor Connally recommended that Kennedy not visit Dallas.
It should be noted that the timing of these events is significant. Kennedy made his visit shortly before the holiday known as Thanksgiving, a celebration of the founding of Usa. Lincoln biographers copied and transvalued this event by having Lincoln killed on the Good Friday holiday, just prior to Easter.
Kennedy died just before a holiday commemorating the birth of the nation, but Lincoln was to be associated with a holiday linked to the death of Jesus Christ -- the only way one could conceivably transvalue such timing.
Ironic loss of protection. Lincoln asked several people to come with him. One of these was Thomas Eckert, a man so strong that he broke several cast-iron pokers by striking them across his left arm. But Eckert was needed elsewhere and declined the invitation.
Seating arrangements. At the Ford Theater a special arrangement had been made for Lincoln's party. Lincoln and his party sat in a presidential box, a balcony seat. The box was actually two boxes, but a partition had been removed to make way for Lincoln's full party. Lincoln preferred a rocking chair to the normal seating and the brother of the theater owner provided one. The box was so high that most of the audience could not see the President.
Kennedy rode in a vehicle called a Lincoln, manufactured by Ford. It was a custom vehicle, longer than most such models, and had two jump seats. The rear seat rose 10 1/2 inches at the flick of a switch. Also significantly, whereas Kennedy was adored by well-wishers hanging from windows above him, Lincoln was the one above the crowd in his box.
Assassins. The character of the assassins of these men bears some striking similiarities and the stories show signs of editing by Lincoln proponents. Oswald was a ne'er-do-well; it could hardly do to have Lincoln killed by such a humble person, and so Booth was created out of Oswald as a more celebrated version of that nobody. A tip of the hat to Booth's fictional origins can be found in that Oswald hid in a theater after his deed.
It also happens that the assassins injured more than their intended targets. Their weapons were obviously different, owing to the times; Oswald's high-powered rifle would not have been around in Lincoln's time and so was replaced with Booth's derringer and knife, more appropriate weapons for the era. Booth also hailed from the rebellious South, recently put down by Lincoln's Union forces.
The atmosphere in the South is highly reminiscent of the atmosphere in Dallas at Kennedy's period, in which racism was prominent and Kennedy's name was booed in classrooms. A handbill distributed in Dallas had a picture of Kennedy and the words WANTED FOR TREASON. Significantly Booth reportedly yelled, "Thus always to tyrants" after shooting Lincoln -- a natural adjustment given that Lincoln had been depicted as being on the "winning" side of a civil war.
Finally the danger is made greater for Lincoln as it is shown that there was a greater plot to assassinate others at the same time. The place of John Connally, also wounded when Kennedy was fired upon, is taken in part by Major Rathbone and in part by Lincoln's Secretary of State William Seward, who was nearly killed by one of Booth's co-conspirators.
Miscellaneous. In various ways Lincoln was made to look superior to Kennedy and appear to be a greater hero. Lincoln survived his wound by many hours; Kennedy survived only a short period. Donald is careful to note the opinion of Lincoln's doctors that "the average man could not survive the injury Lincoln had received for more than two hours..."
It is also notable that while both men are carried to their place after being shot (Kennedy of course to a hospital, Lincoln not so, owing to the limitations of the time) special note is made that Lincoln was too big for the bed he was placed on.
We will now add impact to our case by placing the parallels in columns. Note that the parallels are dense and sequential:
|Life of Kennedy||Life of Lincoln|
|Kennedy was actively seeking re-election||Lincoln had just achieved re-election|
|Kennedy received warnings not to visit Dallas||Lincoln received warnings not to visit the theater|
|Dallas was a rebellious, racist and hostile place||Lincoln's assassin hailed from a rebellious, racist and hostile area|
|Kennedy was aware of the danger and proceeded with his trip||Lincoln was aware of the danger and proceeded with his trip|
|Kennedy visited Dallas just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, on a Friday||Lincoln visited the theater just prior to the Easter holiday, on a Friday|
|Kennedy was offered a bulletproof car top, but declined||Lincoln offered to take a strong bodyguard to the theater, who declined|
|Kennedy rode in a Ford vehicle||Lincoln went to Ford's Theater|
|Kennedy's vehicle was equipped with special seating||Lincoln's theater box was equipped with special seating|
|Kennedy was accompanied by his wife and another couple, the Connallys||Lincoln was accompanied by his wife and another couple, the Rathbones|
|Kennedy was cheered and applauded by citizens in the windows above him||Lincoln was cheered and applauded by citizens in the theater below him|
|It was a sunny day in Dallas||It was dark inside the theater|
|An assassin acted alone||An assassin acted with two others|
|Oswald was a nobody, a former military man, member of an opposition group hostile to the nation||Booth was a celebrated actor, handsome, member of an opposition group hostile to the Union|
|Oswald entered the school book depsitory without incident||Booth entered the presidential box without incident|
|Oswald was an employee of the school book depository||Booth was employed in theaters like Ford's theater|
|Oswald shot Kennedy in the back of the head||Booth shot Lincoln in the back of the head|
|Oswald also injured John Connally, who survived||Booth also injured Major Rathbone, who survived|
|Kennedy's opponents in Dallas accused him of treason||Lincoln's opponent Booth accused him or tyranny|
|Those along the street were at first unsure of what had happened||Those in the theater were at first unsure of what had happened|
|The first reporter to see Kennedy, Merriman Smith, thought Kennedy had been fatally wounded||The first doctor to reach the box, Charles Leale, thought Lincoln had been fatally wounded|
|Kennedy slumped toward his wife, who wept bitterly||Lincoln was held upright in his chair by his wife, who wept bitterly|
|Kennedy's wife shouted: "They've killed him!"||Lincoln's wife shouted: "They have shot the President!"|
|Kennedy was carried on a stretcher into a hospital||Lincoln was carried across the street to a house|
|Kennedy's wife, over the protests of a nurse, went in to be in her husband's presence||Lincoln's wife, because of her constant protests, had to be removed from her husband's presence|
|Kennedy died after a half hour||Lincoln died after nine hours|
|Kennedy's assassin was shot by an follower of Kennedy||Lincoln's assassin was shot by follower of Lincoln|
|Kennedy's Vice-President, Lyndon Johnson, was confined for fear that there was a plot to assassinate America's leaders||Lincoln's Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, was also targeted as part of a plot to assassinate America's leaders|
The results of our study are obvious. Lincoln's death was molded upon, yet designed to supersede, the death of Kennedy.
Welcome back to the 21st century.
If many of these parallels between Lincoln and Kennedy seem forced or of no relevance, it is because they are -- just as most of the parallels drawn by Dennis MacDonald in The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark are forced. By collapsing down language (i.e., "a follower of Kennedy/Lincoln") in ways that ignore differences; by using commonplace events that are inevitable contextual elements, and by other such tactics, it is possible to create any sort of connection.
At the same time, we have also shown how easy it might be for a writer (like Mark) to imitate another writer without compromising true history.