Popular culture is pretty much the only culture we have left. like kudzu, it grows over everything in its path. One of the few things that can confound it, if only for a while, is genuine tragedy. Consider the following exchange:
"Did you hear Kennedy got shot?"
"No, but how's it go?"
Former comedian Vaughn Meader said that was his response when told of John F. Kennedy's assassination. He thought he was being set up for a punch line. At the time, Meader was one of the country's most popular performers, thanks to his ability to impersonate the 35th President with...