Friday, 29 May 2015

1917, John F. Kennedy is born / Greater dead heroes than live husbands: widows as image-makers

Volume 28, Issue 3, August 2002, Pages 283–299


 On #ThisDayInHistory in 1917, John F. Kennedy is born. Read More via @History

Greater dead heroes than live husbands: widows as image-makers


Before public relations had form, a name or formal practitioners, before visual images were created easily and indelibly with color photographs, television and computer morphing, widows created heroic images of their dead husbands. Widows as image-makers is both historic—Mrs. George Armstrong Custer and Mrs. Robert F. Scott—and contemporary—Mrs. John F. Kennedy and Yoko Ono among others.
The most successful wove the ambiguities of their husbands’ deaths into enduring myths and legends by adroitly using the mores, values, sentimentalities and dreams dominant in their times and countries.
The myths of dashing military leaders, pop celebrities and politicians—created, disciplined, and relentlessly publicized by their widows—alter still, even swamp reality. The widows insured that heroic veneration, honors, monuments, and tendentious history would dominate, thwarting spoil sport truth-seeking historians.

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