Thursday, June 21, 2007

On conspiracy theories

There are people in America who believe that the Apollo moon landing of 1969 was a hoax, in fact shot in a sound studio somewhere in California.

There is the more recent speculation that the Twin Towers were felled on September 11th not by jetliners, but by explosives planted by the government.

And then there's this asshole:

The guy on the right, geniuses.

Meet Robert Groden. Photo expert, former technical advisor to several Hollywood films, conspiracy theorist. We'll come back to him.

I spent the day yesterday in the 6th Floor Museum, the museum set up in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald set up his sniper's nest.

The museum is excellent; a veritable treasure trove of information including a dozen or so newscasts from the time surrounding the event, including the murder of Oswald a few days later caught on tape.

After the museum, I walked around Dealey Plaza and took a few pictures of the book depository and the famous grassy knoll.

Walking back to the parking lot, I passed Mr. Groden's table and was naturally sucked in. Mr. Groden, it turns out, is a photo expert who has testified before government inquiries into the assassination. He's written several books on the matter, and when Oliver Stone made JFK, he served as a technical advisor. He later went on to be an expert witness in the OJ Simpson case, as well as technical advisor for the film Ruby.

And now he spends his days sitting beside graphic photos of the assassination and subsequent autopsy, expounding the various facts that discredit the lone gunman theory to anyone who will listen. People like me.

To his credit, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the very government inquiry for which he testified in the late seventies, went against the findings of the Warren Commission and claimed that it was highly probable that Oswald had not acted alone. But beyond that is anyone's guess.

To his discredit, while all formal inquiries were officially concluded in 1988, Mr. Groden continues to sit by the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza. Here is a man who has worked on major Hollywood films, sat before grand juries, yet has failed to parlay any of this reasonable success into a more comfortable means of living. Here is a man who sits and peddles his books, unwilling to let go of the past while the rest of us forge on.

After listening politely for a few minutes, I left him to go get lunch.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Leave it to you to talk to conspiracy guy on the grassy knoll!