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Color him pretty.
May 21, 2012 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Anti-JFK coloring book from the early 1960s. Talking Point Memo has posted photos of the New Frontier Coloring Book, a conservative satire of the Kennedy administration, discovered by a TPM reader.

Notes:
  • Abraham Ribicoff was Kennedy's Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (now split into Health and Human Services and Education) and one of the point men for Kennedy's proposal for universal health care for the elderly, or Medicare. Ribicoff left the administration in July 1962 to run for the Senate in Connecticut, which puts the date of the book at least before then.
  • J. William Fulbright was a Democratic Senator from Arkansas, Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, and a supporter of Kennedy's Medicare proposal.
  • John Kenneth Galbraith was US Ambassador to India and a leading liberal economist at the time. He was also very tall.
  • Billie Sol Estes was a Texas businessman with ties to Vice President Lyndon Johnson who was discovered running an elaborate fraud involving nonexistent selling ammonia tanks to farmers, for which he was later sent to jail.
  • "Urban Affairs" refers to Kennedy's proposal to create what would become the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • "Laos" refers to the Kennedy-backed agreement to keep Laos neutral in the then-brewing conflict in Vietnam.
  • The "we couldn't get him" line refers, of course, to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.
I couldn't track down every reference--for example, what's with JFK wearing a coonskin cap on the cover? and why does Castro have a chicken on the last page?--so hopefully commenters can fill in the gaps.
posted by Cash4Lead (42 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
MetaFilter: there is no question -- they know best.

I will assume 'blue' is egghead colour.
posted by mazola at 10:01 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Castro was accused of keeping live chickens in his rooms at the Waldorf Astoria. Another story about the chickens.
posted by exogenous at 10:01 AM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just realized that some day I'm going to be wistfully looking back to the days of the Obama presidency, man am I going to feel old that day.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


More proof that current righties are just playing "me too, dad!" with their rhetoric. "Gee, if I repeat the things I hear my daddy say, maybe he'll love me."
posted by gjc at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


what's with JFK wearing a coonskin cap on the cover Possibly there's another reason, but if his slogan was "The New Frontier" it could be just a reference to pioneers in general, which is why he has a gun as well?

Though I kind of hope there's a story as awesome as the Castro-kept-live chickens story, which I never heard before.
posted by emjaybee at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


As for the coonskin cap, this is very soon after the Davy Crockett craze. He, of course, was the King of the Wild Frontier.
posted by Longtime Listener at 10:10 AM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Vintage Anti-J.F.K. Handbill On 'Storage Wars: Texas' (VIDEO)

"I missed out on coonskin cap mania, though I recall seeing a few of them in the 60's. It all began in 1954, when Walt Disney put on a series of episodes about Davy Crockett."
posted by clavdivs at 10:11 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The more things change, the more things stay batshit crazy.
posted by sutt at 10:11 AM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


The "controls" ball and chain are hilarious and lead me to wonder why the left can't get their message as unified over the decades like this. Here's a free and easy starter for you: What's the opposite of "controlled"?
posted by DU at 10:12 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


blunderbuss
posted by clavdivs at 10:12 AM on May 21, 2012


You know, I would like to find out how many of these types of colouring books exist. I recall seeing a bizarre anti-black power one that someone had put up on a retro site, but can't quite recall it or the site name. I seemed to recall one picture that showed a black dude holding up Santa Claus or something like that. This seems to be an interesting and weird category of ephemra.
posted by Calzephyr at 10:15 AM on May 21, 2012


> What's the opposite of "controlled"?

Coordinated?
posted by stonepharisee at 10:17 AM on May 21, 2012


why the left can't get their message as unified over the decades like this

When you only see black and white it is easy to paint the other side as "other".
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:19 AM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Mad Magazine's Mort Drucker did a better JFK coloring book.
posted by zamboni at 10:25 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Upon reading the text, the OP coloring book appears to be riffing off the Mort Drucker version.
posted by zamboni at 10:26 AM on May 21, 2012


So if your editorial cartoons are too infantile for anyone to publish as such, repackage them as a satirical coloring book? Good plan. All these really needed to perfect them was a statue of liberty with a tear in her eye in each one.

Also it's a pity they hadn't yet come up the "death panel" meme in those days, it would have punched that Medicare one right up.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


And that little satirical artist, the one nobody loved, grew up to draw Mallard Fillmore. And that is the rest of the story.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:38 AM on May 21, 2012 [19 favorites]


Fascinating, and amazing to see how hard they went after JFK, especially in light of the fact that I have heard some Republican's attempt to claim JFK as actually being one of their own ideologically in many ways.

If I was in the DNC, I'd try to make some use of these materials, especially in regard to the Affordable Healthcare Act. Of course, then the GOTP would come back with charges of the DNC comparing Obama to JFK, and how dare they and all that, but really you can just point to those drawings and tell them to stick that argument where the sun don't shine...
posted by Skygazer at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2012


I have heard some Republican's attempt to claim JFK as actually being one of their own ideologically in many ways.

Forget JFK. They are claiming Lincoln as an (ideological) Republican.
posted by DU at 10:51 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


They are claiming Lincoln as an (ideological) Republican

...and simultaneously voicing support for states rights.
posted by goethean at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Forget JFK. They are claiming Lincoln as an (ideological) Republican.

That one's true.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:00 AM on May 21, 2012


...Wait, unless by "ideological Republican" you mean "I know he was Republican in party affiilation but the platform he used weren't nothin' on what it is today", in which case, yeah.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:01 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


They are claiming Lincoln as an (ideological) Republican

...and simultaneously voicing support for states rights.


Well now that one wouldn't be so totally inaccurate...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:05 AM on May 21, 2012


Ich bin ein Eierkopf!
posted by mazola at 11:15 AM on May 21, 2012


That one's true.

In name only. It's not the same party. There have been a couple to many major realignments since then, depending on who you ask. Secessionist politicians weren't exactly progressive humanists.
posted by cmoj at 11:23 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's cruel -- I saw the title and had a sparkle of hope that it was a coloring book of images from Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 11:23 AM on May 21, 2012


Secessionist politicians weren't exactly progressive humanists.

Yeah, but they weren't strict "States-Righters" either, nor was Lincoln an anti. Don't buy the Jim Crow era southern-apologist bullshit.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2012


Don't buy the Jim Crow era southern-apologist bullshit.

Sorry, to bring this derail back on the tracks... that same bullshit was used as fodder for the birth of the Dixiecrats, and, in turn, lead to the early foundations of Nixon's Southern Strategy in his 1960 run against Kennedy and other mean-spirited propaganda such as this coloring book.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:45 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The term "Southern Strategy" was also what the reporters of the time called the use of the filibuster and of delaying tactics in Congress by the bloc of southern dems (with the help of northern conservative republicans) to waylay civil rights legislation all through the '40s, 50s, into the mid-'60s when POTUS and former Senate Majority Leader LBJ finally outmaneuvered the likes of Harry Byrd and Richard Russell, former allies in his rise to power.
posted by Phud at 12:00 PM on May 21, 2012


That present crush to co-opt Lincoln by modern Republicans is a strictly-neoconservative phenomenon (see the Claremont Institute). The strong presidency, the Constitution-trampling, the exporting of democracy into a foreign country (the South, CSA), they love it all.
posted by resurrexit at 12:03 PM on May 21, 2012


Maybe the raccoon cap is meant to signify that he was still a kid. He was, after all, the youngest elected president the US has ever had. (Teddy Roosevelt was a year younger, but assumed office after McKinley was assassinated.)
posted by crunchland at 12:05 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I saw this last night, even though it should horrify me that the Republicans are doing the same old, same old -- I actually found it weirdly comforting. There's something about the bullshit being the same old shit but before I was born that gives them less power.

(I'm feeling the same way reading Rachel Maddow's books and the forgotten/unknown-to-me details of Iran/Contra.)

It doesn't make it right or okay that it has all happened before and it will all happen again, and maybe it should make me MORE, not less frustrated, but for some reason, it doesn't.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:15 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wrong foot then GOP, still on the wrong foot now. Not the government but the insurance companies have tied the hands of medicine.
posted by Cranberry at 12:51 PM on May 21, 2012


When you only see black and white it is easy to paint the other side as "other".
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:19 AM on May 21 [3 favorites +] [!]


You HAVE to only see black and white to be able to produce a coloring book!
posted by chavenet at 1:05 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Today's Republicans are the Know Nothings of Lincoln's day:
The platform of the American Party called for, among other things:
I don't think he would like them:
As a nation we began by declaring "all men are created equal." We now practically read it, "all men are created equal, except Negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty--to Russia, for example, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:06 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll just drop this here.

JFK: Wanted For Treason

Wait until you get to the bit about JFK encouraging the "Communist-inspired race riots." plus ├ža change ...
posted by joe lisboa at 1:31 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


In case it's unclear from the Wiki, this poster was circulated in Dallas in the days leading up to the assassination. The rhetoric is startlingly familiar, including the usual "anti-Christian" tropes.

The past isn't dead, etc.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:33 PM on May 21, 2012


then the GOTP would come back with charges of the DNC comparing Obama to JFK

"I knew JFK. JFK was a friend of mine. And you, Obama, are certainly carrying on his legacy."
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:15 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had never heard the story about Castro's chickens, but it makes a lot of sense for him to control his food supply in this manner, considering the number of attempts on his life.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:28 PM on May 21, 2012


Conservatives couldn't do funny back then, either.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:34 PM on May 21, 2012


I can't be the only person who looked at the health care one and concluded that it described a lot of for-profit managed health care well. I'm certain that's not the conclusion I was meant to derive.
posted by immlass at 4:30 PM on May 21, 2012


I expected a lot more overt racism.
posted by Scientist at 9:33 PM on May 21, 2012


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