I am fairly hard to offend. You can call me almost anything and it won't be new because I taught in the public schools for 35 years. I choose not to watch or read certain shows or articles because I find them in poor taste but hey, if you like it that's fine. I'm old and I understand that certain jokes or memes are going to be funny to one generation and not to another. That being said, I won't listen to, laugh at or stand around when racial jokes are being told. Today I was sad to discover something new that I cannot tolerate and I want it to stop. Stop the jokes about the the JFK Assassination.
As everyone knows, today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This is a sad anniversary for many people my age and older. A query which defines our generation is "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" It unites generations of Americans who didn't have a lot else uniting them as our world changed drastically after this event.
I so believed in the universality of this experience that I once had a question on a French worksheet, Do you remember President Kennedy? to practice the verb se souvenir de. When the whole class began their answer with NON I realized this was an experience of a certain generation, as Pearl Harbor had been for my parents' generation.
I had only heard about Pearl Harbor and V-E day from my parents. They talked about the depression and World War II and my dad's naval experiences in the Pacific Theater. I listened, I learned but I had not felt their feelings. Living through November 22 of 1963 allowed me to experience what the kind of emotions they had felt. I would have never denigrated their experiences, I just hadn't had the empathy until then.
The world as we knew it changed with assassinations following and violence escalating and we became a very splintered society. We Baby Boomers were agents of some of the shifts in society and I was in agreement with many of them.
Things are always going to shift and change and sometimes I wasn't in favor of them. I can remember being offended when a band called themselves The Dead Kennedys. I ignored it and felt insensitive stupidity like that would just naturally go away.
Today I think I was wrong, I think in this case ignorance begat more ignorance.
On television, newspapers and blogs I am seeing sensitive and outstanding programs, memorials and testimonies to our last assassinated President. On Facebook many people I know are posting respectful photos and memories of JFK.
This was a watershed moment for many Americans and they are writing and posting about it on social media.
I have liked and commented on a number of them.
But I began to see another element, a jocular comment, a snarky remark or a mocking post. It stunned me to read more than one time joking statements about the biological development (unfertilized egg for example) of someone who was not born for decades after 1963. Apparently they were answering the question, Where were you when Kennedy was shot?
Why those people felt the need to participate in an event they did not remember nor respect I cannot say. But I had to say something.
I posted my horror at these comments on Twitter and Facebook and got very interesting replies. Most younger people spoke of how they learned about it from their parents and then understood the moment when they went through the unfathomable days of 9/11.
Other people told me they had seen similar comments and memes. A radio station in Chicago posted this mocking picture of the shooting of Oswald with a guitar to mimic the band The Dead Kennedys. 193 people had liked it when I saw it and 87 people had shared it. And the comments were disgusting.
I am sickened by this and have to say STOP.
You're not cool, you're callow.
You're not hip, you're horrible.
You're not funny, you're ignorant.
You're not cutting edge, you're just stupid. Really stupid.
Generally I like to speak, write and think about all the positive things there are in my life and the world. I look for the good in others and the many blessings I have in my life. I prefer to praise, congratulate and give pats on the back.
I would have preferred to have written a blog about the meaning of this day for me and what I felt for this President. But instead I am urging everyone to STOP the jokes about the JFK assassination. If I see or hear them, I will call you out on them. If you see or hear them, can you please do the same?
We need to show compassion, respect and decency about experiences we don't understand or at least keep quiet.
Want to read a more positive reaction to today? Read my buddy Mary Tyler Mom's, she wrote a beautiful piece. Want to see what I am normally sew happy about? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. That's all, you're done. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
I usually write about quilting and sewing but sometimes, I have to write about other topics that mean a lot to me. Click here to read my thoughts about being a teacher.