For a moment to be iconic is must be it must be a sui generis, like a platypus or a gingko tree.  It must be an organism unique to its species and its genus.  The murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby qualifies.  I have never seen anybody kill someone else.  It happened live on national TV.  It was one of a series of events in a wild weekend.  And this event is important enough that it should be in the index of a fat world history text book.  To appear in my set of iconic moments, the event or image must also be illustrative of my time.  I am aware that as I am collecting these images, I am also defining what I mean by iconic.  As I go forward, I will revisit these entries and change the so that they seem less like sketchbooks.

Marilyn Monroe Sings Happy Birthday to Jack

     A cultural history of the US in the early sixties will include this event, though I can't say right off why it is illustrative of the times.  It is.  John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe could be described as the king and queen of the age.  Both were polished performers.  Both were beautiful.  Both inspired desire, not envy.  Both were sexual icons.  Both died young and tragically.  What is it about some events that have surprisingly little content but become iconic moments?  Would Kennedy's oratory have been remembered as clearly had he not been assassinated?  Probably.  Would she have been remembered as a sex goddess had she lived into old age?  Probably not.  Mae West and Marlene Dietrich are remembered as flabby old sluts.  A pretty woman sings happy birthday to a handsome man and it becomes an iconic moment.  It probably wouldn't have had she not sung in a breathy, sultry voice.  That the queen was inviting the king to come fuck her right now, is probably why this moment will be remembered for generations.