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Showing posts from November, 2013

My Favorite Oswald

[I wrote this in 2005. It has never appeared until now. I've updated some references but otherwise it still holds up.]
Classical actors are judged according to how well they play Hamlet. After seeing for a second time Gary Oldman’s bravura turn in 1991’s JFK, I’ve decided that modern actors must be judged by how well they play Lee Harvey Oswald.
What other character in recent American history, other than Richard Nixon, has been more complex and confounding, bullying his way into our nightmares and turning history? With his bayou-coonass and Bronx accents and shifty-eyed demeanor, Oswald presents physical and psychological dimensions that would challenge the most accomplished actors.

I was barely six years old on November 22, 1963, so I won’t claim I shared the nation’s grief and shock, other than being peeved at the pre-emption of Saturday morning cartoons on KRGV and KGBT in the Rio GrandeValley. Still, I grew up knowing Kennedy’s assassination was an intensely Texas affair and t…