Our Nixon?

As I recounted in Jesus Died for This?, “I joined in my parent’s artistic anarchy by writing a one act play that pretty much crucified Tricky Dick while setting up Ted Kennedy as the next Messiah. (This was before I taught myself how to spell Chapaquidick.) Whenever Richard Milhous Nixon’s mug would appear on the television,  this nine-year-old would give the screen the middle finger. My parents applauded my anti-patriotism. They were all for peace, love and tolerance but their rants against the ‘*%^$* establishment’ showed they didn’t exactly practice what they preached.”

Hence, I found myself becoming increasingly disconcerted while viewing the documentary Our Nixon, a  film that centers on a compilation of forgotten home movies shot by Richard Nixon’s top aides. The men I was taught were monsters are depicted as boyish pranksters and best friends who entered the Nixon White House in ’69. They goofed around on Air Force One, played with the Easter Bunny on the White House lawn, and gave props to Billy Graham. As the documentary  progresses, the Americana facade they crafted begins to crack. In the end, the devil business spewing forth over at 3600 Prospect Street could not hold a candle to the actual hell contained within the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Our Nixon opens in New York on August 30 at the IFC Center, followed by a national roll-out.

Becky Garrison is a satirist/storyteller whose most recent book is Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues (Wipf & Stock, March 2020). Also, she edited Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge and Resilience (Transgress Press, 2015). Her six books include 2006’s Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review).