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Kenneth Goldsmith, Seven American Deaths And...

Nov 22, 2013
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Kenneth Goldsmith, Seven American Deaths And Disasters

It’s the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination — one cool read is this book, which includes KG’s transcription of radio broadcasts from the day. You can watch him read the whole JFK section here, but I think the text is much weirder and disorienting.

From Dwight Garner’s NYTimes review:

In his chapter about President Kennedy’s assassination, Mr. Goldsmith tunes in to KLIF, a radio station in Dallas. Ads for Armour Star broad-breasted turkeys (Thanksgiving was approaching) and Falstaff beer segue into “I Have a Boyfriend,” a hit by the Chiffons. He prints the lyrics:

(Boom-sh-boom)

(Boom-sh-boom)

He made a promise

(Boom)

(Whoo-eee-whoo)

He’ll never make me cry

(Boom-sh-boom)

Every time we kiss good night

Feels so good to hold him tight …

Then an announcer cuts in: “This is a KLIF bulletin from Dallas. Three shots reportedly were fired at the motorcade of President Kennedy today near the downtown section. KLIF news is checking out the report. We will have further reports. Stay tuned.”

The station cuts back to “I Have a Boyfriend.” It broadcasts advertisements for pimple cream and a Sandra Dee movie, and plays Tommy Roe’s song “Everybody” before switching over to cover the breaking news.)

Indeed, the ads are some of the best parts:

The first of the two most glorious holidays of the year is coming. So it won’t be long until you make a most important meat purchase.

I mean, those sentences are both completely mundane and super weird—which is exactly what KG is trying to highlight.

(Photos via book designer, Krzysztof Poluchowicz)

Filed under: my reading year 2013

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