Emily Dickinson THE American Gangster -- The Straddler Spring Summer 2008 Issue ONE

“We never know…in any assertion just what or how much we are asserting.”


Insistent Replay


On November 22, 1963, young women’s apparel-maker Abraham Zapruder recorded the most infamous 26-second film in American history.  Three weeks later video instant replay was used for the first time in a football game between Army and Navy.  America and its true pastime have been in permanent replay ever since.

What goes undiscussed about Zapruder’s film is that it is ghastly.  To watch the crucial act advance frame by frame is to experience a horror unsoftened by the passage of four plus decades.  One is conditioned to hear ominous music.  Or a quickening of “cuts.”  These are common observations from an ordinary moviegoer.  What does not bear viewing and reviewing is the dehiscence of a human head.  Exencephelation.  This transports the film from the awful to the godawful.