Johnny Cash Meets Nixon

DATELINE: Man in Black & Man with Black Heart

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Likely inspired by the various documentaries and movies about Nixon and Elvis, there was in 1970 another significant meeting between Richard Nixon and a music star. Conservative, religious, patriotic Johnny Cash, sometime rebel, was invited to the White House to give a command performance.

A short documentary telegraphs its feelings with the title:  Tricky Dick & The Man in Black. Though the film gives some balance, it is primarily told through the Cash perspective with intensive interviews with Johnny’s son and sister.

Nixon was not a fan of country-western music as his taste ran more to pop classics, like Richard Rogers’ Victory at Sea music, or the show tunes from South Pacific. However, those handlers in the White House felt besieged by youthful protests against the war in Vietnam.

Nixon’s advisors—Haldeman, Pat Buchanan, primarily—felt they needed a antidote to the protests and drug users of Haight-Ashbury. Cash was their man. When he noted on his TV show that he wanted peace with honor in Vietnam, it won him an invitation to perform in the East Room of the White House in April of 1970.

Alas, Nixon’s men did not do their homework. Johnny Cash was not only an advocate for prison reform, but he had created a music album on behalf of Native Americans and visited Wounded Knee.

When the Nixon White House asked him to sing “Welfare Cadillac” to appeal to the redneck supporters, Cash was taken aback. It was not his song or his style. No one told him what to perform. And, he had just returned from visiting soldiers in Vietnam, turning him into a dove with claws (in his own words).

The performance made Nixon uncomfortable, as Cash made him passive-aggressive points. Two weeks later came the college massacres at Kent State, and only then did Cash release his famous song, “Man in Black.”

A highly worthy insight into Johnny Cash, it may surprise many non-fans.

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Nixon Home Movies, Worse Than You Can Imagine

DATELINE: Pre-Watergate

our-nixon

Three convicted Richard Nixon aides were home movie junkies. Their film work has been collected for a movie called Our Nixon.

H.R. Haldeman, Dwight Chapin, and John Ehrlichman, took Super8 home movies of the Nixon years before Watergate. It makes for a strange behind-the-scenes look at history. It is an intimate portrait of Mr. Nixon that seems devoid of intimacy.

The three convicted obstructers of justice come across as good-natured, highly spirited citizens on a great adventure serving their country. They certainly never felt, even in subsequent interviews, that they were at any fault. Their movies reflect their American innocence, more accurately called naivety.

Nor did they see Richard Nixon as much less than a hard-working man whose agenda to help the country went awry. In fact, for all their close-ups of the man they worked for, there is no true insight into the man whose reputation puts him at the bottom of presidential honor.

The documentary suffers only from not identifying who took what movies and what did they know when they took them.

It seems the three men took many moving pictures of each other. Their canisters of film were confiscated during the Watergate investigation and kept locked away for 40 years.

Emerging now, when most collective memories of Nixon are dim when not dark, the movie footage makes for Zapruder-style depiction of a president going down from his terrible bureaucratic mistakes.

Like all amateur filmmakers, the trio of aides hone in on happy moments, oblivious to the cancer on Nixon’s presidency.

If you expect to find insights into the warm and fuzzy Nixon, you will find he is robotic, indeed catatonic, when out of the public media. Redeeming sentimental moments are not on these home movies.

Yet, they are priceless historical snippets of film, made by directors of their own downfalls. It is like someone has decided to share home movies of a train wreck.

Richard Nixon & Tom Brady: Technophobes

 DATELINE: 18 and a Half Minutes Missing

Tom Brady in Freefall Featured image

Technology did in Richard Nixon, and technology has done in Thomas Brady.

With the word that his suspension is upheld, the NFL accused Tom of destroying evidence. It seems he ordered his cell phone to be sledgehammered into oblivion when Ted Wells wanted to see and to hear it.

As we recall, Richard Nixon destroyed 18 and a half minutes of highly incriminating audio tape, rather than turn it over to investigators, causing the horror of Watergate.

If you are a student of history, you may want to tell us that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And, Tom has turned his phone conversations into the stuff of legend. Like Nixon’s comments, Tom’s comments will be the stuff of speculation for generations to come. Deflate-gate is a sports metaphor version of Nixon’s fall.

Brady is likely to go to federal court and play it to the hilt. Those who want to think the worst of him already do—and their opinion will never be swayed.

Unlike every thug and vicious criminal to have Goodell’s mercy, Tom Brady is the clean cut, white collar fellow who must face sworn testimony in court. Goodell wants to see his greatest QB facing perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

We cannot imagine a sport, short of Ancient Rome, that crowds called for the literal blood of its stars. There was no free ride. Those downturned thumbs meant you were dead meat

Tom ought to ride off into the sunset now, leaving puzzlement in his wake, refusing to participate in this turn of the screw.

Nixon had his Frost, and Brady may need to designate nemesis somewhere down the road. As for now, resignation looks like the best highway out of town.

Move Over, Richard Nixon! It’s Roger Goodell Time!

 DATELINE: Ghost of Nixon

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Suppose Roger Goodell held a press conference after the owners’ meeting.

How much would you bet that he would come across as the New Nixon?

We haven’t seen such nervous worry since the President announced there would be no whitewash at the White House.

Goodell was sweating all over his face, not just his upper lip. After a litany of alleged good news, and nothing close to Tom Brady, the first question was about Deflategate.

Goodell squirmed. There was no connection between his many conversations with Robert Kraft over the past few weeks and the Brady hearing. What?? They’ve talked many times? Wow, someone has not told us the truth.

Goodell also said he has been so busy with these two days of meetings that he hasn’t had a chance to think about recusing himself from being Tom Brady’s jury and executioner.

He also said he would have an announcement about an independent arbiter tomorrow—and then said how he looked forward to hearing what Tom Brady had to say.

Well, we presume we can skip the next press conference because we already know what he’ll say.

We await the press conference when Goodell has the entire Wells report behind him in multi-volumes and bound in leather. That’s how Nixon presented transcripts of the recordings in his Oval Office.

Perhaps the multi-million dollar Wells report will come in thumb drive, gilded in gold, hanging in effigy behind Goodell.

Nixon lives through the NFL Commissioner. May he have a happier ending than Mr. Nixon.

Where’s David Frost when you need him?

A Whitewash at the NFL

DATELINE: Next Comes an Impeachable Source

 

Rondo&CoachRelaxing

As a fan of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, we are mortified.

Watergate parallels grow more apt with each passing day.

Deflate-gate is a sports version of Watergate and an update of Spygate.

As in the Nixonian original, it was not the two-bit crime that started it which brought down a President of the United States, it was the coverup and hubris that followed.

We half expected Bill Belichick to come out at his press conference and mimic Lee Harvey Oswald by crying out, “I’m a patsy,” which would be both figurative and literal in its truth. He is a Pat Patriot Patsy.

Those who never learn from history are doomed to repeat it as Spygate morphs into Deflategate. All this is terribly ironic as there is no greater student of football history than Bill Belichick whose personal library of football books would be enough to start the Widener Library for Sports.

In a press conference that reminded us of the bitter days of the white wash at the White House, Bill Belichick did everything but say, “I am not a crook.” In his case, it would be, “I am not a cheat.”

We remain bemused by a public not fazed by the discovery that football stars were child abusers or wife beaters this season. We are disdainful of a public that is up in arms over an air pocket of rule inflation has set the Super Bowl on its ear.

What did they know and when did they know it? That was the catchpharase of the 1970s. Next, we expect to learn that there is an office taping system in Belichick’s office—but don’t hold your breath, the pivotal 18 minutes of air being let out of a dozen footballs is likely erased.

Tom Brady always dreamed of a political career at the end of football, but we never suspected that he would bring back the memories of Watergate.

Rondo’s Famous Last Words

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

 Prof. Rondo

As Celtics star Rajon Rondo slowly sinks into the team’s worst season with him at the helm, we note that he is in illustrious company.

Some day in the future, the ghost of Rajon Rondo will show up at a training camp like the ghost of Jacob Marley. He will be dragging his baggage behind him in a great sweep of chains. He will tell some future captain of the team: “The Boston Celtics were my business,” when faced with saving some slug from himself.

Rondo has taken on the mantle of Marie Antoinette, and not just in fashion. He now walks a hard road in her sneakers: Told of the suffering of the Boston Celtics, Rondo responded: “Let them eat birthday cake!”

Surrounded by the media, besieged by the enemy, like a general in World War II, he has every reason to surrender and offer his apologies. Instead, he comments, “Nuts,” when asked what was sprinkled on his birthday cake.

Like Winston Churchill, he will give every last ounce of blood, sweat, and tears, to fight off the media. “We shall defend our right to eat birthday cake. We will fight them on the beaches. We will fight them at Chuck’E Cheese. We will fight them at the parties.”

Like Richard Nixon, Rondo is even now collecting an enemies list of those in the media who hound him. He plans to make a television appearance to announce, “There will be no whitewash of the white frosting at the birthday party.”

We just hope he won’t be quoted in a final bitter press conference saying, “You won’t have Rajon Rondo to kick around any more. I quit.”

He has even cried out, “Et tu, Brad Stevens!”

For more shockers about Rajon Rondo, you should read RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR and its companion piece RAJON RONDO & THE GREEN NEBULA. Both books are available at Amazon.com in ebook format for smart readers, as well as traditional softcover.