On 8.5 I ran a fast riff on James DiEugenio‘s “Reclaiming Parkland,” which questions the “Oswald did it alone” theology in Vincent Bugliosi‘s “Reclaiming History” and more particularly Parkland (Open Road, 9.20), which uses the Bugliosi book as a basis. It also goes after producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman for being overly susceptible to Bugliosi’s research or whatever. I haven’t read “Reclaiming Parkland” but I’ve read a partial summary. DiEugenio is a good writer. He knows his JFK assassination data cold. And he’s tenacious. And convinced he knows what’s what.

My impression of the “Reclaiming Parkland” summary (i.e., in no way, shape or form a review) is that DiEugenio sees Bugliosi as a prejudiced researcher, and that he went into the JFK murder case with a pre-set attitude which allowed him to ignore or finesse evidence and information. He also seems to believe that Hanks and Goetzman are impressionable tools who are kowtowing to the Washington-Hollywood axis of bullshit information manipulation, and so they latched onto the Bugliosi book and the lone gunman view of things when they wanted to make an HBO movie based on “Reclaiming History” and that they went for Parkland as a fallback.

I’ll never be a 100% believer in the lone gunman theory, but I don’t know. Deep down I suspect that the ship has sailed. 50 years have passed and no major decisive revelations have come to pass above and beyond that House committee having declared that JFK was “probably” killed as a result of a conspiracy. So what are we really left with? The bottom line is that it seems at the very least eccentric to suggest that this conspiracy is in any way being helped along by that great dark goblin of American back-alley politics, Tom Hanks.

DiEugenio and his conspiracy brethren may be correct in their Dealey Plaza analyses but if they haven’t nailed the bad guys by now — i.e., men who collaborated with or used Oswald or obscured or muddied the evidence — then I think they need to face something. The bad guys have gotten away with it. If there was some decisive piece of smoking-gun evidence it would have come out by now.

I’ve read the Parkland script. With the exception of a third-act occurence in which evidence about Oswald is burned by an FBI guy, it’s about what happened in plain sight with several witnesses. Hanks is a traditionalist, of course. He’s at heart a mainstreamer and perhaps a bit of a conservative in terms of basic values, okay, but no one will never be able to paint him as a “bad guy.”