LINCOLN JACKIE PINK SUIT AD
I've got a copy of the October 2nd, 1964 Warren Report edition of LIFE magazine with the in-colour, time-sequence photos of JFK being assassinated on the cover. In many articles on the website over the years I've scanned photos and excerpts from that edition to share with ORWELL TODAY readers. I'm still mining nuggets from it and have articles in progress that need to be finished.
One of the great things about LIFE magazine is that in every edition a picture says a thousand words and a person can arrive at their own conclusions without even reading the articles which, Orwellianly, often completely contradict the photos.
And sometimes, too, when turning the pages to continue reading a particular article, a photo totally unrelated to the subject will jump off the page -- sometimes an ad. That is exactly what happened to me when I first read this Warren Report edition of LIFE and I've been meaning to bring it to readers' attention ever since. It being November again, now is the time.
I couldn't believe my eyes but there, after turning the last page in the fifteen-page JFK assassination article (where blown-up photos show Jackie in her pink suit in the Lincoln as JFK's head is being blown to pieces) there was a two-page center-fold ad showing a lady -- in an identical pink suit and hairstyle as Jackie -- standing beside a Lincoln. Can you imagine how Jackie and JFK's family must have felt when they saw this?
What words can one use to describe the total insensitivity of this ad? It's more than "tacky". It's more than "in poor taste". It's more than mockery. It's obviously subliminal -- meant to convey a message of some sort to somebody. People of a certain age (the generation up to and including baby-boomers) will have read, or at least heard of the book THE HIDDEN PERSUADERS which exposed the mind-control and psychological manipulation that goes into the creation of every ad.
To me, the ad is speaking -- kind of as an inside-joke -- to the powers-that-be who masterminded JFK's assassination -- giving them a wink and a nod for a coup d'etat well done. The ad reeks of wealth and power -- a private road on a secluded estate where the men who killed Kennedy (Communist-Capitalist enemy agents who'd infiltrated the government) met to conspire. See JFK OPPOSED MONOLITHIC CONSPIRACY
At the time this ad came out -- ten months after the assassination -- Jackie's pink suit had become an iconic image -- as embedded in the psyche as the memory of where a person was and what they were doing when they heard that JFK had been shot. We'd first seen the photos in the November 29, 1963 edition of LIFE.
JACKIE CRAWLED FOR HELP
"Oh, no!, Oh, no!", Mrs Kennedy cries (top row of pictures) as she sees the blood flowing from the President's head. But the convoy keeps going, past the onlookers and photographers who stand frozen or fall to the ground as they hear the shots. As the President lies dying, Jackie scrambles out of her seat and crawls onto the trunk of the car in a pathetic search for help. As she crouches on hands and knees, the President's head presses against her, staining her skirt and stockings with blood. A Secret Service man leaps on the bumper to protect the First Lady and get her back into the car.
In newspaper coverage the day after the assassination the symbolism of Jackie's blood-stained pink suit had already been established.
Jackie Says Goodbye
by Frances Lewin, The Sun, November 23, 1963
Mrs John F Kennedy said goodbye to her husband with a kiss on his lifeless lips and then slipped her ring on his finger. And from then on -- from the emergency room in the Dallas hospital through the sad flight home, to the naval hospital where he was prepared for burial until she brought him home in death to the White House earlier today -- she was at his side. As she passed through the sombre portals of the executive mansion she still wore the pink suit -- stained with the blood of his fatal wounds, and bore herself with self control. It was a harsh day and it left Mrs Kennedy dazed and tearless, almost unable to show emotion. Her husband had been shot as he sat beside her in a gaily received motorcade. She had held him, bleeding and mortally wounded in a speeding dash to Dallas hospital where he never regained consciousness. In the hospital, she had bid her handsome 46-year-old husband a goodbye that was so touching a witness, Representative Henry B Gonzalez (Dem Tex), "couldn't bear to watch". "Pray for him", Mrs Kennedy asked a Roman Catholic priest who administered last rites to the president....
From Wikipedia: Several people asked Mrs Kennedy whether she would like to change her suit but she refused. When Lady Bird offered to send someone to help her, she responded: "Oh, no...I want them to see what they have done to Jack". Despite the advice of John F Kennedy's physician, Admiral George Burkley, who "gently tried to persuade her to change out of her gore-soaked pink Chanel suit", she wore the suit alongside Vice President Johnson as he was sworn in on Air Force One as the 36th President of the United States. Lady Bird recalls that during the swearing-in: "Her hair was falling in her face but she was very composed... I looked at her. Mrs Kennedy's dress was stained with blood. One leg was almost entirely covered with it and her right glove was caked, it was caked with blood -- her husband's blood. Somehow that was one of the most poignant sights -- that immaculate woman, exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood". Kennedy had no regrets about refusing to take the blood-stained suit off; her only regret was that she had washed the blood off her face before Johnson was sworn in.
I'm glad to be finally getting around to sharing the pic of that LIFE magazine Lincoln ad from fifty-four years ago. I wonder if anyone else ever noticed it and found it shocking.
All the best,
Jackie Jura, November 2017
Jackie wore the pink suit at least six other times before the trip to Dallas (Here she is on White House grounds lifting John John high so he can see the parade)
Natalie Portman on the 'symbolic' power of Jackie Kennedy's pink suit, USA TODAY, Dec 4, 2016
Every outfit tells a story. The one behind Jackie Kennedy's pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat is of resilience, says Natalie Portman, who mesmerizes as the former first lady in biopic Jackie (now playing in New York and Los Angeles). Kennedy was photographed wearing the outfit while disembarking Air Force One with husband President John F Kennedy in Dallas, an hour before he was assassinated in a motorcade by Lee Harvey Oswald [sic] on November 22, 1963. The first lady sat with her husband when he was shot three times [sic], and she cradled his head in her lap shortly before he died. "It's crazy when clothes become symbols, and when you see something so recognizable and iconic", Portman tells USA TODAY of the ensemble. "It tells a whole story, just the dress, itself. And then, of course, with the blood on it... it has the sort of history of America in it". As depicted in Pablo Larrain's movie, Kennedy refused to take off her blood-stained suit in the hours after JFK's assassination, telling "Lady Bird" Johnson, "I want them to see what they have done to Jack". The very first scene Portman shot in the pink costume was when the first lady finally arrives back at the White House and takes it off, a moment that the actress finds telling. "It's really impressive that somebody who was going through something so personally awful and traumatic and terrifying had the presence of mind to understand that it was not only her grief, but also the whole nation's", Portman says. "Symbolically, she had to represent something to them and present an image that would make an impact. It seems that the natural instinct would be to get out of that immediately -- to get clean, to wipe your husband's blood off of you. But for her to insist that it stayed on showed this real awareness of public image".
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