The JFK Assassination: The Orville Nix Film


I won’t be blogging for awhile as I’m completing a biography about my grandfather, Orville Nix, and his home movie of the JFK assassination.  The Nix Film is widely considered the second most important film of the assassination.  Of course to our family, it’s the most important:  it shows the Grassy Knoll.

My grandfather was an undereducated, hardworking, government believing Democrat in the Sixties.    He had no idea how important his place in history was, he just knew his film could mean a little extra money for his small family.  The government took advantage of him.  The Media took advantage of him.  His friends and some family took advantage of him as well.  It’s the American story!

I hope to remedy some of these wrongs while again, pleading for the return of the original film he took on that fateful day.  It has been lost.  Yes, lost.  The only copies available are first-generation copies that still leave room for skepticism that Oswald didn’t act alone….or possibly prove that he did.  No one will truly know until the original is found and enhanced using technology not available in 1963 or in 1978 during the Warren Commission the last time the original was presumably seen.

I have spent years dealing with CEO’s (CNN’s Burt Reinhardt & Reese Schonfeld) Politicians (Joe Biden, Robert Blakey) Filmmakers (Oliver Stone, John Barbour) Television producers, experts and authors (David Lifton, Robert Groden, Gary Mack, Jim Marrs)  trying to find the Nix Film to no avail.  If there is no conspiracy, is our government this mismanaged?  It all seems odd to me….and it did to my grandfather as well.

I hope to share some portions of this work here before its published.  In the interim, feel free to comment on any social media using the hashtag:  #FindtheNixFilm

Thank you!

The Borgias and Rhetoric and Catholicism: Truth or Drama?


The Borgias:  A Showtime Series

The Borgias: A Showtime Series

 

Let’s face it.  Drama is interesting.  It is!  Think of what our lives would be like without it?  With whom would we compare our lives?  How would the more insecure of us find substance in our little lives without having a lessor one with which to compare?  Drama makes us feel better about ourselves.  Drama adds excitement to the mundane.  Drama makes us feel alive.

I was watching The Borgias last night yes, I’m admitting to it and reveled at how truly enticing this series is to me.  It’s not just that The Borgias were the first Mafia family.  It’s not just that the characters are so beautiful well most of them.  It’s not just the time in which it is set.  (one of my favorite historical times)  But what TRULY makes it worth watching is how the writers blur the lines between true history and “drama”.  In grad school I had an advisor that loved to debate the merits of what makes a perfect story (i.e. book or movie or play) I loved hanging out with him when I was writing a paper (Big props to you Dr. Litton)  He and I would debate every Rhetorician/Philosopher’s idea from Aristotle to Freud from  E.M. Forster to Nietzsche as to what made the perfect story.  We both had big dreams of being writers. What we both agreed upon, and what I have always kept is that Rhetoric is not just style over substance.  It is not just drama over reality.  Rhetoric is not just, as Plato so ridiculously stated, “mere flattery”.  No, Rhetoric is the blending of the black and white.  Rhetoric has a substantive as well as stylistic genome….and a good story, like good bone structure is a gift.

For the sake of today’s argument, and to keep you reading, I won’t dissect or re-educate you on the five canons of Rhetoric.  What I will do is explain why I think drama is necessary in our lives using rhetoric as my argument and the Showtime Series The Borgias as my subject.  Using some of the rhetorical and philosophical thoughts of greater thinkers than me, I will try to convince you of my argument:  Drama is a necessary evil.   Yeah okay, I may just be showing off my grad degree in Rhetoric, but shouldn’t I? Sheesh, I’m still paying for it!  Since literary devices are so akin to rhetorical devices, those of you who are purists may want to argue later….to that I say, “Bring it” with a smile.

 

Let’s start with Kenneth Burke who stated:

The most characteristic concern of rhetoric [is] the manipulation of men’s beliefs for political ends….the basic function of rhetoric [is] the use of words by human agents to form attitudes or to induce actions in other human agents.

I don’t know much about the writers of The Borgias.  Are they Catholic?  Are they Jewish?  Are they Atheistic?  Or are they just hacks getting paid to write an almost semi-porn series with historical overtones?  In other words, what is their will for writing this series?  In watching it, and because I tend to be optimistic, I think they are truly attempting to appeal to the more educated viewer while also appealing to the “voyeur” viewer who really is just watching it for entertainment.  For instance, the Pope Rodrigo (Alexander VI) quotes Socrates while his son Cesare lustfully beds his daughter Lucrezia.  In skillfully blending the two appeals, the writers attract a larger audience through drama.  Personally, the show has made me want to know more about The House of Borgia in order to delineate between dramatic truth and manufactured drama.  Which leads me to the next definition of Rhetoric by Francis Bacon who wrote in (1561-1626): Advancement of Learning:

  The duty and office of rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of the will.

Using Bacon’s definition, this would mean the writers of The Borgias are forcing us, the viewers, to use our imagination to make willfull observations, right?  But are they for the better?  I am not Catholic, but I empathize with those who are in regards to this series.  Has the Catholic Church become the media darling of all things wrong with religion?  Is this series just another testament to the abuses of the Catholic Church?  As a Protestant, I have suffered and witnessed  the hypocrisy of those who feel their religious worldview is better than others. It just seems that the Catholic Church has a history of drama; from the Borgias to medieval relics to modern day pedophilic priests.   Has the Catholic Church publically asked for an apology from the writers for making their religion look like a God-ordained form of organized crime?  And would other religions react the same?  Or do the writers have a more noble, daresay, religious agenda by athey showing that though religious, we are all still sinners….and there is no sin greater than another? nota bene:  the Catholic Church DOES believe that some sins are greater than others and they are divided into mortal and venial sins. Just knowing that makes a difference in applying reason to imagination. So what indeed are the writers’ trying to persuade their audience to see or believe?  Which leads me to….Sappho who was far from being religious:

Persuasion is Aphrodite’s daughter: it is she who beguiles our mortal hearts (frg 90).

Good rhetoric, communication, poetry,  writing, film, and speech are designed to persuade someone to see the artist’s point of view.  I’m not always the most fun person to watch a movie with, and definitely not commercials.  I immediately try to pinpoint the persuasive element behind the words, images, sounds and actions of others.  This could also be a reason I have difficult times in relationships!  ssshh!!  What I do know, is that if you can beguile my mortal heart, you have my attention.  The writers of The Borgias have done that for me.  Though I don’t condone nudity and violence for the sake of shocking the viewer into watching more, I do appreciate the artful mixing of history and fantasy to tell a good story. And I also appreciate drama that has intellect.  And maybe that’s where I should end this, because in the end, The Borgias is just a dramatic television series meant to entertain.  Don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rambling About the Past and the Grammys


The Grammys were announced tonight.  Funny, I used to be so enthralled with this annual announcement as if it were an affirmation of my musical tastes.  I grew up though and realized its just another over-rated accolade to semi-talented musicians who need to sell records.  Or a popularity party.  Or a good lead in for the many mind-numbing celebrity “news” shows that proliferate mainstream television today. (okay, okay, I confess, I love the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons…see?  old habits die hard)

And, as is the way of my mind, that lead to my next thought:   I always wanted to date a musician.  A REAL musician, not the air guitarists of my youth or the John Cusack wannabes with a boombox on their shoulder.  I wanted to be involved with a musician  for his creativity; for his emotional depth; for his poetic talent; but if the truth REALLY be known, (label this next revelation  narcissistic) I wanted to be his romantic muse.  I wanted him to write love songs for me.  Or Goodbye songs.  Or “Wish you Were Here” songs.  I wasn’t looking for the song of the year or even a Top 40 song.  Just one for me 🙂  Which leads  me to this post.  I was playing the piano tonight, showing off for my 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.  This is the song I played.  Then of course, I had to give them the whole history of Simon & Garfunkel and how cool the 70’s were.  Truly, they were.  I was an innocent kid just a few years from becoming a teen,  but this song was beautiful to me even then and it may have been the start of my wishful wanting:

Trivial Sex Facts About the Victorian Era


King George IV….romantic souvenirs?

There is something to be said for helping with homework.  In doing research, my mind often wanders and in Googling facts about Victorian Britain, I found this:

Among upper class people in 19th century Victorian Britain, it was customary to collect pubic hair from a lover and keep it as a souvenir. The museum of St. Andrew University in Scotland has in its collection a snuff box full of one of King George IV’s mistresses pubic hair. We really hope this doesn’t ever become popular again. [Wikipedia]

Really???  I so love Scotland, I so love romance,  but like the author of this article, I don’t think I would want this “romantic” idea to ever flourish again!