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Thread: Our new satirical gamebook, "Who Killed John F. Kennedy?"

  1. Default Our new satirical gamebook, "Who Killed John F. Kennedy?"

    While I have lurked on DPF for some time, I recently registered for a proper account.

    I am not a researcher, and though I am better informed about the JFK and RFK assassinations than any of my immediate peers, I would not, particularly in this company, claim to be any kind of expert. Yet I recognize the catastrophic consequences of the assassination for America, and wish desperately that more of my generation cared to examine the issue. I believe there is no hope of having an informed political opinion in 2013 absent a basic understanding of the facts and implications of Kennedy's death.

    Recognizing that DPF is where the best informed of the best informed discuss and debate the truly dizzying details of the case, often with great passion, this lengthy post from a relative neophyte may be unwelcome. If that proves the case, I apologize.

    I'm personally of the belief that basic familiarity with even a small amount of the conspicuous evidence in the case is enough to convince the uninformed of the fact of conspiracy, the likelihood of Oswald's innocence in the deaths of Tippit and JFK, and the certainty of a government cover-up. Yet therein lies the rub. How to get younger generations interested giving it even a second's thought, a challenge made all the more insurmountable by the cacophony of confused and often intentionally misleading narratives which permeate the culture? The Parkland film. Bill O'Reilly's turgid tome. The endless procession of colorful, outrageous distractions like "The driver did it!", "Jackie did it!", etc. All of them deafen the younger generations to the whispers of obvious conspiracy which ring most true.

    While I am not a researcher, I am an author of sorts. I co-founded a company called "Despair, Inc." ( fifteen years ago. We're in the satirical products business, primarily known for creating Demotivators posters. You might have seen one or two over the years.

    My own recent and admittedly minor contribution to the effort of converting the uninformed has been to write a satirical book on this topic. Using the framework of the wildly popular "Choose Your Own Adventure" books (the fourth best-selling children's book series ever), which allow the reader to choose various actions to take and turn to pages to see what the outcome might be, we created a parody version of it.

    Book 1, "Who Killed John F. Kennedy?", turns the reader into Texas' answer to Encyclopedia Brown, the brilliant teenage son of an unnamed (but come on) idiotic Chief of Police in Dallas in '63. It gives them the opportunity to witness Oswald's interrogation with Hosty, the Helen Markham line-up, to see the bullet hole in the windshield during the limo clean-up job, hear witness accounts of grassy knoll shooters, and witness a wide variety of conspicuous events that took place, particularly over that fateful first weekend.

    The book gives the reader moral agency, and constantly confronts them with opportunities to take bold stands (against witness tampering, against cover-up, etc.) or to make 'pragmatic' compromises (go along with Specter's Magic Bullet theory, help steal the Lake Ponchartrain film from the HSCA, etc.) Ultimately, one experiences the bitter fruits both of selling out (moral corruption, foreign policy disasters, lifelong guilt, etc.) and of trying to expose the crime (personal humiliation, death, etc.) There is no way to "win" the book- save for cheating, which grants the reader a glimpse of what America might've been like had you solved the crime.

    Though liberties are taken with timelines, the story itself was profoundly simplified, and half the intent was comedic, I believe, from the early customer reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, that it's actually having an impact on reader understanding of the obviousness of conspiracy, and the profound, indeed ongoing consequences of that fact. The #1 "Best Reviewer" on Goodreads just gave it a 5 Star Review, and many other reviewers are noting that the book's historical elements led them to question their understanding of the assassination, such as this one:

    Because many are buying it simply as a parody of a beloved children's book series they grew up, they are all more surprised to find that they've learned a great deal of troublesome facts in the course of having a lot of laughs. At the book's end, we point readers to gold standard research books on the topic, such as "JFK and the Unspeakable", "Destiny Betrayed", "The Last Investigation", and others. And we include an "End Notes" section, to explain to them that many of the absurd things they've witnessed over the course of the book (whether it be a vanishing Mauser, or outlandish claims of alien connections to the killing) have some basis for inclusion in the book.

    It is my deepest hope that these new skeptics will take the next step and buy a proper research book, so they can become better informed skeptics, and can use their deepening knowledge (and perhaps our book) as a means of transferring knowledge and skepticism to their own peers. It seems to me, as a man in his early 40s, that the biggest challenge the research community faces is not deepening their understanding of the false mystery, but rather, getting a younger generation informed about why he died, and why it matters. Otherwise, the 50th Anniversary of his death will perhaps be the last time there is any sort of national conversation about it.

    I don't know whether, given the simplistic and often humorous nature of the book, anyone here would be interested in buying it. I'm certain we got details wrong, which might drive an expert researcher nuts. But on the whole, I think we got the BIG PICTURE right, and there are a lot of little nuggets included especially for the amusement of this community (a CIA disinfo agent named McAdams, Dan Rather's butchered description of the Zapruder film, discovery of Oswald's 11th hour call to his likely cutout John Hurt, a private screening of the legendary Lake Ponchartrain film showing Oswald, Ferrie and David Atlee Phillips, etc.) And I think, despite its imperfections and humble form, it can be a pretty useful tool for reaching those otherwise unreachable via a direct entreaty. It already seems to be doing so.

    In conclusion, I hope those here who have dedicated huge portions of their lives to trying to deepen their own understand and reach those without one will appreciate our underlying intent. I feel indebted to Douglass, DiEuginio, McKnight, Pease and so many others for helping deepen my own understanding of the death of JFK. Though it is humorous in nature in many respects, it treats the death of JFK with a profound seriousness. The targets of the satire are Hoover, the DPD, the CIA, the Mafia, the Media, those touting idiotic theories (whether knowingly or unknowingly), and all the other parties who worked together to create a mystery where there never was one.

    If anyone has questions about the book, I'd be happy to answer them here. Thanks for what you do.

  2. #2


    That looks interesting, and welcome to the forum. I love the tag line "the mystery is utterly unsolvable!" I've had that thought a few million times, at least when it comes to the details and logistics of the plot. There's definitely a Rashomon quality to it all. It feels like the work of a fiction writer who decided to confuse the reader by constantly feeding him clues that may be wrong and lead nowhere.

    And that's where most people just give up and support the official story, or they say, "Oh hell, the Mafia (or Castro or LBJ or whoever) did it." Most people are not good at dealing with uncertainty. They want answers, so they just make them up.

    I think the only hope of getting more people interested in the subject is to get them to understand how it is linked to every other major event in the United States during the last century or so. Why has the US become an empire abroad and is becoming a police state at home? Why do the government and the media keep telling us stupid lies? Why do we keep putting different people in power and nothing ever changes for the better? Why is nearly every institution corrupt? Why is big business taking over the world? Why are war, drug trafficking, financial scams, human slavery, gun-running, and money-laundering the major "growth industries"? Why are the rich getting richer and everyone else is getting screwed?

    It's all tied together, folks. The Kennedys and MLK were just three among the billions of victims of this system.

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