I'm not sure I ever get to the real point in this column, which came to me only today. What I was trying to say is that there is more interesting stuff in the Kennedy assassination story than the standard "Who done it?" question that can never be answered. Stuff that most people don't know and won't learn from this new data dump. That comes across, at best, as a subtext in the column itself, so I thought I should say it directly first thing.
Many hieroglyphics have never been read. At least not since whatever tomb or ruin where they were discovered was unearthed. The papyrus or pot shard is collected, put into a drawer at an academic institution to await someone to come along and read it. Fifty or 100 years might go by.
Just as well. When scholarly eyes finally fall upon ancient writings, they find not a beautiful poem or key piece of history but a sales receipt, another inventory of wheat or a recipe for beer. Most of life is ordinary, even under the pharaohs.
That truth echoes to the current day. Ordinariness abounds though we refuse to accept it.
The last batch of classified Kennedy assassination material — thousands of pages — is expected to be released Thursday.
Oh goody, just what we need. More words about the Kennedy assassination. Because there just aren't enough now. We're curious about the new batch even though we have only the vaguest notion of what we already have.
In one of those coincidences that would look trite in fiction, I can, as I sit here writing, shift my right knee six inches and touch 21 volumes of "HEARINGS BEFORE THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY." Sturdy blue volumes, each with the Great Seal of the United States on the cover.
The 2-foot-high stack is under my desk because the Sun-Times is moving its office to the West Loop. Part of the process of squeezing our physical presence to fit a smaller space has been shedding books. The Kennedy report was fished out of a dumpster by a colleague, then abandoned at my office like 21 blue-swaddled babes since I'm the crypt keeper, apparently, for this kind of thing.
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