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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Real Kennedy Curse

Surely most people are aware that the sudden resignation of Porter Goss, third CIA director under President GW Bush, is a much, much more important story than Rhode Island Congressman, Patrick J. Kennedy's befuddled introduction to the Capitol's barriers?

So, why is it that the news organisations are leading with the Kennedy story, and not the Porter Goss one?

I know, I know.

If it bleeds, it leads, and let's face it, Porter Goss is a bloodless coup.

Much more juicy drubbings can be had, by picking apart yet another Kennedy scandal, with people being allowed to utter with glee, those fateful words, "The Kennedy Curse".

(For the record, I don't believe in curses, and think the whole idea of a huge clan of hyperactive, arrogant individuals living on faded glory fumes being cursed is very silly)

As much as people love to rag on the Kennedys, because of their sheer numbers, they will always provide the media with ample opportunities to half-snipe, half-reminisce.

But during the latest Patrick Kennedy drugs-addiction story, I was reminded of one incident, which touched me a lot at the time:

I remember waking up to the live story on ALL the networks, let alone the cable channels, that young John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s plane was missing, and the Coast Guard were scouring Martha's Vineyard for him.

They kept doing so, until they found him, a few days later.

Until that time, the nation's media were in suspended animation, as if the President of the United States himself, had just disappeared.

And that is the power, the allure, the spell of the Kennedy name, at its best/worst.

I grant you that a lot of people were slightly in love with young John Kennedy -- I was.

Who can forget that immortal salute with those chubby baby fingers as his father's caisson passed by?

In fact, I love that little nuclear family of President Kennedy a lot, and mourned inside me, the death of each member -- from his widow, to his son, leaving only his daughter now, as she ages unexpectedly into a graceful grande dame of New York society.

But just as with Patrick Kennedy, John Kennedy's death resonated BECAUSE of who he was related to, and not what he had himself done in his short lifetime.

I remember in 1999, hearing young people around me wonder what the "fuss" was about, and why the airwaves were saturated with the photos and newsreels and interviews of this other John Kennedy.

It occured to me then that the people, that is, the reporters, journalists, and journalist-powers-that-be were young men and women during the early 1960s.

If I was touched by the baby salute, much more they since they were actually alive then, which must've branded their psyche with a nostalgic fondness for all things Kennedy, even perhaps more than that -- an allegiance which has all the hallmarks of an emotional tie which has never fully matured.

It's part angry at being abandoned, but part hoping not to let go, because there is so much to say still.

I can assure you that at no time Friday, did anyone around me (even when asked), evince the slightest interest in the Patrick Kennedy story.

So although journalists can put out reasons why they have to cover this incident, such as:

- It's Surprise Friday, when news is slow yet sometimes breaks of a sudden
- Momentum can be gained for the weekend ratings by hammering the story
- It's a legitimate news story, after all


Which are all true, of course.

But I do believe, and perhaps you may too, that what drives the Congressman's sad tale, is not partisan politics, for once -- but that need not to let go of the Kennedy Myth.

The myth that these are Olympian gods, with flaws perhaps, but gods nonetheless.

And the gods which capture your mind as a young person, live inside you long after their laurels hang limp.

I wish PJ Kennedy well.

Olympic standards are hard to live up to, even if graven idols abuse them.

5 Comments:

  • Victoria, I couldn't add to this, you took me back and I relived, again, the Kennedy Albatross which none of those want to throw off and I don't want to see go. The then Kennedys not so much the now Kennedys.
    I think at that moment of the first JFK America was at its zenith in believing what it could do and it had a man pushing to acheive those things. Whether it was true or not, the press seemed satisfied to go with the man and his family rather than seek to destroy him as now is so often.
    I have to read this again. Thank you.

    By Blogger Paul, at Sat May 06, 02:23:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Victoria, I couldn't add to this, you took me back and I relived, again, the Kennedy Albatross which none of those want to throw off and I don't want to see go.

    It's because he was the last, untarnished President, Paul.

    Since then, every President who followed has had attacks on his presidency, but of a much more vicious nature that existed, even given the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

    Before Johnson, the presidency had a certain undefineable aura of greatness.

    It protected the man, as much as it elevated the office.

    The then Kennedys not so much the now Kennedys.

    I admit, whenever I see the then Kennedys, with their toothy Irish grins, their youth, and yes, their vigah, I love them.

    What an awful, awful downward spiral they have had, these many years after the two brutal assassinations.

    Inevitable, but still sad.

    I think at that moment of the first JFK America was at its zenith in believing what it could do and it had a man pushing to acheive those things.

    You captured that perfectly, Paul.

    That's it -- America was at its peak in terms of influence, and admiration around the world.

    Everyone was dazzled by America, even though they were still resentful that the US was hogging the limelight.

    But still.

    America, pre-Vietnam, must've been something else to live in. That spirit of endless, limitless possibilities, which the space race only heightened.

    I envy you.

    My love of America was made stronger because she is so hated, but it would've been so wonderful to have lived when she was loved.

    Whether it was true or not, the press seemed satisfied to go with the man and his family rather than seek to destroy him as now is so often.

    Yes. :(

    I have to read this again. Thank you.

    Thank YOU, Paul, for patiently waiting for a new blogpost.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat May 06, 02:35:00 pm GMT-4  

  • News of hope for the Kennedy family in DC, as only National Nitwit can present.

    By Blogger Subcomandante Bob, at Sat May 06, 05:26:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Bah, they get fair recompense for the scrutiny.

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun May 07, 03:22:00 am GMT-4  

  • It took the absolute Nadir of America, under Jimmuh, to make most voters realize what a foolish place Washington, D.C. had become. Enter the Actor.

    And he was precisely what we Americans needed. He told us we had greatness in us, we had promises to keep, we could do anything we put minds and hearts to. And we healed.

    Now the Actor is gone, and the midges swarm us with their hum of, "Defeat, defeat, defeat!"

    A pity the 'now' generation of Kennedys cannot abandon the Socialism of Uncle Ted, and embrace Liberty and Freedom, once and for all.

    By Anonymous benning76, at Fri May 12, 09:50:00 am GMT-4  

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