This has been one of my favorite LBJ photos for a long time. And as you may know, I’m a big LBJ fan, so I’ve looked at quite a few of them. This one is almost slapstick. It speaks volumes about the relationship between the two men, particularly up until about 1960. By then, Connally was able to do his mentor favors he needed.
I scanned the photo from the Jan. 17 Time magazine issue, which was designed to introduce a shaken public to the new prez by introducing them to his home state, “TEXAS: Where Myth & Reality Merge.” The content seems fairly hokey today, but it’s also fascinating. Oh, and in case it escaped your attention, the date is six weeks after JFK was assassinated in Dallas. LBJ may have been the Master of the Senate and one of FDR’s right hand men, but once he helped Kennedy squeak into the White House, the Kennedy clan kept the big Texan hidden from sight as much as humanly possible, much to their deficit.
What I’m reading is Anne Carson. If you haven’t heard of her or you have and you just don’t remember or your brain is tired and you’d rather just read the NY Times piece on her from last March, here it is.
Her latest novel-in-verse, red doc>, was pretty great, but I liked The Autobiography of Red more. Nox was pretty great as well, and it was a brilliant reinvention of what we think of as a book, too (It comes in a box, and instead of pages, it’s an accordion fold thing, and that’s just the physical aspect; the book itself is a collection, sort of, of Greek translations, found art and poetry, and in general, a hefty dose of Anne Carson’s groove, which is pretty damn brilliant, funny, brain-twisting, and brilliant). But right now I’m reading Antigonick, her version of the Sophocles play Antigone. As you may know, Antigone is one of the Theban plays of Sophocles, the last, chronologically speaking, in the series of plays in the Oedipus cycle. The story is pretty brutal and grueling, but in Carson’s hand it’s strangely humorous in parts. Maybe it’s her impish mind playing tricks on me, but I find myself saying “wow” out loud, and laughing, and rereading pages several times, just to re-experience them. It’s one of the coolest books I own, one of the coolest things I’ve ever read.