Censored for 28 Years: My Little Plug for Oliver Stone’s JFK

by Richard Poe
Friday, April 3, 2020

1:17 pm Eastern Time
1 Comment

A Three-Part Series

Murder Most Foul, March 28, 2020

Censored for 28 Years
My Little Plug for Oliver Stone’s JFK, April 3, 2020

Ten Media Lies About Oliver Stone’s JFK
Article Published After 28 Years, April 24, 2020

Ten Media Lies: ALL EDITS SHOWN, April 24, 2020

Bob Dylan’s new song, “Murder Most Foul” (released March 27, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic), has focused more attention on the JFK assassination than any pop culture event since Oliver Stone’s movie JFK (released December 20, 1991). Dylan says he recorded the song “a while back” (possibly around 2013, according to some Dylan watchers). Why did he release it now?

DURING THIS COVID-19 LOCKDOWN, I’ve spent a good bit of time listening to Bob Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul” and pondering the JFK assassination.

Dylan’s somber ballad brought back memories of 1992, when our nation was riveted by another media sensation, Oliver Stone’s movie JFK.

I was young and full of fight.

As a senior editor of a national magazine, I thought I could get away with sneaking in a little plug for Stone’s film at the end of my regular column.

But I was wrong.

Certain of my fellow editors objected to my JFK reference. In the end, my boss Scott DeGarmo did a last-minute rewrite of the offending paragraph.


My JFK plug appeared — or rather, would have appeared — at the end of a column I’d written for SUCCESS magazine on “the perennial conspiracy of the mediocre against the best and brightest.”

The forbidden words were: “I suggest you go see the movie JFK. … [T]he film makes a compelling case that our most beloved President of recent times was felled by a cabal of faceless mediocrities.”

And that was all!

It doesn’t seem like much. But apparently it was too much for my colleagues at SUCCESS. The enforcers of media groupthink triumphed that day.

My JFK reference was deleted.


Fortunately, I saved a copy of the uncensored page proofs (see below).

I hereby re-publish my column, uncensored, with the final paragraph restored after 28 years. Better late than never.


Thank you, Bob Dylan, for your courage and patriotism.

Thank you for being an example, for showing us the way.

You are a lighthouse in the storm.

Richard Poe
April 3, 2020 1:17 PM ET

Above is the censored version of the final paragraph — written by my boss Scott DeGarmo — which featured a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Above is the original version of the final paragraph — written by me — which plugged Oliver Stone’s new movie JFK. This version was deleted and rewritten by my boss Scott DeGarmo before publication.

Reprinted from SUCCESS Magazine

A Diabolical Plot!
You’re Not Paranoid. The Resenters Are Out to Get You

by Richard Poe
SUCCESS Magazine
March 1992

ON MY RECENT TRIP TO MOSCOW, I was reminded once again that history is a battleground. Since ancient times, two great forces have vied for ascendancy over the human soul. One is the force of achievement, the other, resentment, envy, and petty malice.

That’s what Robert Shaeffer claims in his extraordinary little book Resentment Against Achievement: Understanding the Assault Upon Ability. Three years ago, when SUCCESS first reviewed it, we were amazed by the deluge of orders that poured in.

Why such keen interest, we wondered, in a book about history? Why did so many entrepreneurs want to read about the sack of Rome, the Nazi book burnings, the Bolshevik Revolution? I think I know the answer now. Entrepreneurs love this book because it says what they dare not, for fear of being labeled “paranoid.” In plain English, Sheaffer exposes the perennial conspiracy of the mediocre against the best and brightest.

Who are the conspirators? You’ve seen them in your office. They skulk through the corridors whispering, gossiping, and politicking instead of doing their work. They sow discontment, undermine the boss, jam paper clips in the copier, leak scandalous lies to the trade press, pour detergent into the coffee dispenser. Their goal is to drag everyone and everything down to their own level of mediocrity, and their weapons range from the laughably petty to the truly diabolical.

It’s no joke. On my recent trip to Moscow, I learned just how diabolical those conspirators will become when given half a chance.

Take the case of rock promoter Sergei Lisovsky. One day, he was hauled before a city prosecutor by zealous inspectors. His crime? Lisovsky was making more money than the state concert impresarios. Imagine!

At first, the prosecutor saw nothing criminal. But when he learned that Lisovsky personally made 100,000 rubles a year — 20 times the salary of any of the high officials in that room — he ordered Lisovsky’s assets seized and his company dissolved. “I considered myself lucky,” says Lisovsky, “not to be thrown in jail.”

Lisovsky fought back. He re-started his company, working out of his apartment with a few volunteers. Soon, he was back on top. “They took my money and property,” says Lisovsky, “but they couldn’t confiscate my knowledge or ability to work.” Then came the attempted military coup in August. While the tanks rolled in the streets, the prosecutor’s office notified Lisovsky that his case was being reopened.

We all know what happened next. The coup was defeated and all the rats scurried back to their holes. For now.

Then there’s Andrei Stroyev. The successful real estate developer has been called the “Donald Trump of Russia.” In addition, he’s chairman of a $2-billion state construction firm.

A brilliant innovator, Stroyev struggled all his life against stupid Communist bureaucrats. He longed to live and work under a system that rewarded achievement rather than punished it. When the military commander of Moscow ordered Stroyev to support the coup, he knew it was his moment of truth.

Stroyev promptly ordered hundreds of bulldozers and cranes to the besieged Russian Federation Building to help block the tanks.

Lisovsky and Stroyev fought back. What about you? Russia and its tribulations may seem remote, but the danger lurks nearer to home than you realize. Nearly a century and a half ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the first philosopher of the American spirit, wrote these words: “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” Entrepreneurs in Russia, and around the world, can never forget that they are forever set against the status quo. I suggest you go see the movie JFK. You may not agree with every detail of its thesis, but the film makes a compelling case that our most beloved President of recent times was felled by a cabal of faceless mediocrities. To this day, no one of Kennedy’s eloquence or dynamism has replaced him. Think about it.

Senior editor Richard Poe explores the frontiers of human potential for SUCCESS.


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  1. […] supercharged media pressure cooker of January 1992, it was apparently too hot to handle. My boss replaced it with a quote from Emerson. […]

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