Where Were You When Kennedy Was Shot?


Over the last fifty years, this question has become a cultural cliché—and a much longer lived cliché than most.  But, as we have now celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination, it seems poignantly obvious that that cliché will continue to have currency only for a few more decades, until the last of those who remember the event themselves pass away.

But, perhaps not entirely. The cliché has so rooted itself in the popular culture of the second half of the twentieth century that it may endure as a sort of historical footnote to our times.

To provide just one small example, one of my favorite films is Night Moves. Released in 1975, the film starred Gene Hackman and was directed by Arthur Penn. Like some of Hackman’s other fine performances of the period, his work in this film tends to be overshadowed by the acclaim for his portrayal…

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