What this episode did do was attract my attention & from there it was a couple of very simple hops to another couple of shipwrecks. I printed off some info, went hunting, but then it kind of fizzled out - just not enough bounce to keep an article afloat...until I watched the 1984 movie 'Romancing the Stone' & a friend mentioned Angelina Jolie & voila, an article was launched. At present I have absolutely no idea where it's leading - so I'm in the dark as much as you as to how this ends.
Batman made me contemplate the idea of superheroes as representations of gods, so what about movie stars? Gods or classical heroes/heroines "from Gk. heros "demi-god".
The more I look into this theme, the more it seems to me, that we're just rehashing the past. With the addition & repetition of just one word, I think we have been conned into believing that we live in 'brand new, never before seen' times - that word is 'modern'. A spot of word play with the phrase modern times creates some interesting anagrams - More Mindset - Dire moments -Remits Demon - Endmost Mire - Mind Remotes - Nimrod Metes.
So lets go back to the Lakonia & all the crossthreads she inspired to weave this material.
The Lakonia was originally the MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, built as a luxury liner for the Netherland Line & launched on August 3, 1929 & construction was completed on 1st March, 1930. In 1941 she was registered as an allied troop ship. She returned to 'public life' in 1950. On 23rd January 1952, four small fires were discovered as she sailed for Australia. Arson was suspected but no culprits found. You will come across many fires as we proceed - kind of like the beginning of Mission Impossible, different stories but one long burning fuse connecting all.
Four years to the day after 'the music died', - 3rd February, 1963, the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was decommissioned by the Netherland Line after 33 years of service. On 8th March, 1963 she was sold & her name changed to TSMS Lakonia.
Nine months later she set sail on December 19 for an 11 day 'Christmas Cruise' with a total of 1,022 people on board. 3 days into the cruise, at around 11.00pm on 22nd December, smoke is noticed seeping under the door of the ship's hairdressing salon. It sweeps rapidly through the ship. At 12.22am, the last distress call is sent "SOS from the Lakonia, last time. I cannot stay anymore in the wireless station. We are leaving the ship. Please immediate assisstance. Please help." Evacuation was very difficult, some lifeboats burned before they could be lowered. The Lakonia burned fiercely & was rocked by explosions. At 3.30am the first rescue ship arrived. Wiki states 128 people were killed, 33 of whom were crew members. On 24th December the Norwegian tugboat Herkules, attached a tow line to Lakonia & attempts were made to haul her to Gibraltar, however on 29th December she rolled over onto her starboard side & sank in only 3 minutes.
So how do we tie this history lesson in with John F Kennedy? Good question. For one thing you can notice the numbers 22 & 11 - being the day & the month that Kennedy was assassinated, with 33 being the sum of these two numbers.
Ok, we'll start with Lakonia, which in ancient Greece was the principal region of the Spartan state. Looking briefly at modern day Lakonia we find mention of some devastating fires in 1992, 2006 & 2007.
Man this is so tricky because I kind of need to slew sideways into Angelina Jolie, but I might lose you altogether, if this was a poster I could just stick all the pictures together & it would probably sit together quite nicely, words can be just so slow & cumbersome.
Because of Angelina Jolie which I will come to, I started wondering if JFK could be a symbolic god & who he might be – how I came to Apollo I’m not quite sure, a number of hints I think, you make your own mind up as we go along.
Apollo was one of the most important Greek & Roman gods - the god of light & sun & truth & prophecy, among other things.
Now some time ago I wrote about the media, in particular ‘the news’ & the rituals they use, at the time I referred briefly to the Delphic Oracle with “I cannot help but equate the modern News service with the ancient Greek oracles."
Well it was Apollo who was the executive director of the Delphic Oracle, taking ownership by bumping off the previous owner, the serpent Python, when he was a mere five days old. Consultations with the Oracle were via a priestess who was seated atop a tripod over a subterranean opening from which vapours arose. The breathing of these fumes led to some weird & wonderful messages. “The oracular replies were always obscure & ambiguous, but they served in, in earlier times, in the hands of priests, to regulate & uphold the political, civil & religious relations in Greece.”
We may scorn such 'no-sense' now, but how long did it take us 'awake' seekers to question the six o'clock news?
John F Kennedy is remembered for a number of things besides the manner of his death. One of these was his speeches – who doesn’t know that ‘He was a Berliner’ (yes I’ve heard the doughnut jokes too.) Who wouldn’t recognize his voice when other presidents may be forgotten.
I think that the man who was made president, was subsequently made into a symbolic god via the modern version of the Delphic Oracle – the Media. This however, was no one-sided partnership, for the man who became the sun god of America, birthed through his life & death the new Delphic Oracle – the Media. Prior to Kennedy there was a modicum of televised presidential coverage, but it was JFK who, like the young Apollo took over this media oracle. In 1960 was the first ever presidential candidate debate between JFK and Nixon. Kennedy used this visual medium to his utmost advantage “Kennedy came across as young, athletic and poised. Nixon, wearing a wrinkled gray suit that melded with the backdrop on black-and-white screens, looked pallid, thin and ill at ease. He refused to wear makeup to mask his “fiveo’clock shadow…The debates afforded chances for tens of millions voters to see the candidates compete directly for votes.”
“These debates were widely regarded as having a decisive impact on the result.”
" INTERVIEWER: How do you think it changed the way American journalism is done, and the way the media functions?
MIKE MOSETTIG (senior producer for foreign affairs and defense at The NewsHour): Well, it certainly highlighted what had been developing, because Kennedy was really our first television president. He was elected in large part because of television”
“Just five days into office, President John F. Kennedy faced network cameras to answer the questions of the Washington Press Corps. It was an innovation to see a president in an unrehearsed setting, and the session established a tradition that continues to this day.”
So Kennedy was inducted into the hearts & minds of a nation as well as throughout the world via the ‘medium’ of television. For the first time a president entered the homes of the ‘ordinary’ man & woman in the street. This same president was killed in front of their eyes a few years later. We who have been trained in death via this same medium cannot grasp the effect on the psyche of the people who witnessed this event, the murder of a man they ‘knew’. “John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination was one of the most shocking public events of the 20th century.” Nevertheless this event was crucial for anchoring the ‘Oracle’ in the psyche of the people.
“The network coverage of the assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy warrants its reputation as the most moving and historic passage in broadcasting history. On Friday 22 November 1963, news bulletins reporting rifle shots during the president's motorcade in Dallas, Texas, broke into normal programming. Soon the three networks preempted their regular schedules and all commercial advertising for a wrenching marathon that would conclude only after the president's burial at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday 25 November. As a purely technical challenge, the continuous live coverage over four days of a single, unbidden event remains the signature achievement of broadcast journalism in the era of three network hegemony. But perhaps the true measure of the television coverage of the events surrounding the death of President Kennedy is that it marked how intimately the medium and the nation are interwoven in times of crisis.”
I believe the death of Kennedy was the true birth of the Delphic Oracle known today as the Media. “Television became the primary source by which people were kept informed of events surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Newspapers were kept as souvenirs rather than sources of updated information. All three major U.S television networks suspended their regular schedules & switched to all-news coverage from 22 November through to 25 November 1963. Kennedy’s state funeral procession and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald were all broadcast live in America & in other places around the world.”
The death of the sun god took & ‘shepherding in of the oracle took place exactly one month before the death & birth of another son (sun) of god “The sun “dies” for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops in its movement south, to be born again or resurrected on December 25th, when it resumes its movement north”
Referring back to Apollo we find that on 25 May 1961, Kennedy declared his goal of putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade. This intention also became a part of the American psyche through the ‘Oracle’. It was of great interest to me to see this lofty dream occur through the media in 1969, on July 20 which was the birthday of the man who climbed to the loftiest place on earth, none other than Edmund Hillary & even more intriguing to find that Kennedy was born on May 29, the very date that the Everest 'landing’ occurred – ‘great’ people do seem to turn in ever decreasing circles.
Turning again to fire scarifices/initiations, the first Apollo mission named in retrospect was one that saw the death by fire of Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom, Ed White & Roger B. Chaffee when a flash fire occurred in command module 012 during a launch pad test of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle. If astronauts were as superstitious as sailors this would probably also have been the last Apollo mission, for myself as an ‘ordinary’ non ritualistic type of person I find this naming a little bizarre. It is also rather interesting that the Apollo Moon Landing took off from the Kennedy Space Centre - the man may not have been present, but his name has certainly not been put to waste.
Nevertheless, the Apollo 11 mission was ‘televised’ & millions of people who knew the Oracle spoke the truth because it had been shown them with shocking clarity in 1963, watched & were amazed as this new Apollo boldy went where no man had gone before & claimed the moon for its own.
Wiki informed me that the ‘Eternal Flame’ that lights the American Apollo’s grave was a last minute request by his wife Jackie, cough, cough, splutter sorry I’ve got a bit of a cold. Remembering that the sun “dies” for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice, I suggest that another Eternal Flame was lit one month after his assassination & the birth of the Oracle, on the good ship the Lakonia/Sparta.
“The ancient city of Amyklai was situated some 5 kilometers south of Sparta… On the hill of Agia Kiriaki one can see the remains of the Archaic sanctuary of Apollo, which at one time boasted an enormous statue of the god seated on the altar - tomb of Hyakinthos… It evolved into the Sanctuary of lakinthos and Apollo Amykleos, the most important religious centre of the Spartans, which has also been known as the "Throne" of Apollo.”
Why the Lakonia caught fire I do not know, a deliberate fire or the result of energies created by the events of the previous month, heck most people not of the ‘wondering’ persuasion would roll their eyes & murmur something about electrical faults or bad luck. The Lakonia herself played an importanr contribution to the early days of the Oracle through LIFE magazine
“The only color photographs ever taken of the Lakonia disaster ran in LIFE magazine on Jan 3, 1964. LIFE’s photographic coverage of the event marked only the second time in history that a publication was able to offer hour-by-hour photographic coverage of a disaster at sea.”
Four years earlier on the very same day “One day after announcing his candidacy for president, John F. Kennedy appears on Meet the Press.”
The Oracle did much more than announce & televise Kennedy’s presidency & death. The word oracle comes from L. oraculum "divine announcement.” Over the years it has turned him & the Kennedy family into ‘Stars’ – here are some excerpts from an excellent article (see link below for the full story.)
“transformation of the Kennedys from largely conventional political figures into pop-culture deities from the world of entertainment -- the cultural equivalents, perhaps, of Elvis Presley or the Jacksons…
Neither is it a coincidence that the Kennedy family, through its infatuation with Hollywood, was instrumental in the conversion…
To be sure, the Kennedys have had -- and continue to have -- a political impact on the nation. To many, they have embodied an ideal of public service. But politics hasn't been this family's calling card in the mass culture for some time…
The Kennedys have really become entertainment superstars. Consider some of the evidence: Like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, they attract a kind of tabloid journalism and biography which focuses even more than usual on scandal and unsavory personal tidbits…
This is a family identified by first names in the familiar Hollywood style -- Jack, Jackie, Bobby, Ethel, Teddy -- just as we once knew Elvis, Marilyn, and Ringo, but certainly not as we have known Franklin, Ronald, or even Bill…
As a kind of entertainment family the Kennedys were a prime force in blurring the distinctions between Hollywood and Washington -- that blur being a condition characteristic of the age…
Sadly, the assassinations also played a role in the conversion of the Kennedys into pop-culture phenomena. As Schickel has observed, dying young, if not violently, is something of an entertainment-industry phenomenon, as anyone familiar with the lives and deaths of Elvis, Marilyn, Valentino, James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Buddy Holly, John Belushi, Ritchie Valens, John Lennon, and Jim Morrison knows. It's not simply that an untimely death fulfills a romantic image that goes back to Byron and Keats, or that the premature passing of an entertainment figure tends to inspire a death cult in which numerous fans refuse to believe the star is dead. Dying young freezes the stars at their peak: like the promise of Hollywood itself, they remain forever young and beautiful -- the perfect icons for the immortality that films and records purport to offer.”
The whole of this excellent article is here. http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/flashbks/pres/stark.htm
I believe that through the scarificial blood of John F. Kennedy, the oracle that is today’s media was was brought forth, just as humans rise & fall as symbols, then so to did the media then begin it’s ascendancy to the god-like heights it has attained today.
Last but not least on this Apollo Trek was something that I almost missed & perhaps it’s been remarked somewhere else, but it knocked my socks off. "Apollo was the son of Zeus & Leto . “Leto… known as the hidden one and bright one, her name came to be used for the moon Selene. Hera was jealous of Leto because Zeus, the husband of Hera, had fallen in love with her. From their union Leto bore the divine twins, Artemis and Apollo. Leto found this to be an arduous task, as Hera had refused Leto to give birth on either terra firma or on an island out at sea. The only place safe enough to give birth was Delos because Delos was a floating island…To show her gratitude, Leto anchored Delos to the bottom of the Aegean with four columns, to aid its stability.”
The Terrace of the Lions dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos
I can’t help but see that Dealey Plaza does look rather like an island,
so we have our sun god, Apollo on an island in Dallas, or could we perhaps say in Delos?
Well I’ve written much more than I intended & there’s more to come so I think for all our sakes I’d better make this into a two parter, I’m just bloody glad I’ve got this far. Our next exciting installment will have more burning ships & Greek myths & movie stars. Stay tuned.