The Showmanship of Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ’s helicopter was a big hit on the 1948 Senate campaign trail. Especially after he devised a tactic to keep people from wandering off before he gave his speech. According to Robert Caro, before beginning his speech LBJ would say:
“My good pilot Joe tells me it’ll be too dangerous if I take off with him because we wouldn’t have enough power to clear those 30,000-volt high-tension wires over there. He’s going to have to take off alone. And it’s going to be mighty tight. I just hope and pray he’ll be able to make it.”
Most people stuck around.
—Caro, Robert. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent. New York: Vintage Books, 1990, p. 249.
This reminded me of the media studies classes I took in school, and of all the discussions we had about how violence is one of the oldest forms of entertainment. In that vein (pun intended, and I’m not sorry):
We’re more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can’t give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They’re all blood, you see.
-The Player, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” — Tom Stoppard