May 06, 2006

Kennedys? Their only curse is Evil with a capital "E"!

ABC News "Good Morning America" are re-hashing the old "Kennedy Curse" bull. I suppose they can't help themselves.
Is Pat's Crash Part of Kennedy Curse?
Misfortune Has Long Followed Camelot

May 5, 2006 — The political career of Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., got off to an incredible start.

He first won office in 1988 at the tender age of 21, when he was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Then, at age 26, the son of the legendary Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was elected to Congress.

Thursday's car crash, though, near the Capitol may just be the latest installment of what some consider to be the curse over the Kennedy family.

"They've contributed so much, and at the same time so many of them have these human failings, drug problems, drug abuse, tremendously risky behavior," said Ron Kessler, author of "The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded."

Patrick Kennedy has spent time in drug rehab and admitted seeking therapy for depression. During his career, he has had to answer questions about personal incidents.

In 2000, he was captured on a surveillance camera shoving a female airport security guard. No charges were filed against Kennedy, and he apologized for "being rude." The guard's lawsuit was settled out of court.

In 2001, the Coast Guard was called after an argument with his girlfriend on a yacht. The woman reported he had been drinking. Kennedy also has been accused by two marina owners of chartering boats and returning them with damage — sometimes significant.

Kennedy's parents have had their problems, too. His mother, Joan Kennedy, has battled alcohol abuse. Her children — including Patrick — forced her into treatment after she was found injured on the sidewalk in front of her home. Ted Kennedy was at the wheel when his car drove off a bridge, killing a young female passenger, at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts in 1969.
Problems? Indeed! Curse? Hardly! Camelot? You must be joking!

"If ever there was a crook it was Joe Kennedy." The man who said that was not exactly a bah-bah whitesheep. Sam Mooney Giancana was a Chicago Mafia boss who was known for having his enemies strung up on a hook in a meat plant while his men slowly tortured them to death with ice-picks and blow-torches, and one of the unpalatable friends Joe had made during Prohibition. Joe walked a tightrope between organised crime and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's election campaigns to whom he both forked out and after which he was given the ambassadorship to Britain. Joe's first faux pas in London was to announce that he was pro-Nazi. In 1938, that was.

Joe Kennedy had his daughter Rosemary lobotomised without her consent in 1941 — at the age of 23 and without the knowledge of her mother. Joseph Kennedy made this decision because he feared that his mildly (if at all) mentally retarded daughter might embarrass the family and jeopardize the political ambitions he had for his oldest son, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., who died later in World War II and his ambitions for his daughter Kathleen to marry the Marquess of Hartington, heir to the Duke of Devonshire. [Notabene that it was okay to marry a Protestant if it fitted the ambitions of the relentless social climber Joe!] There were no pain killers given and Rosemary was fully awake as they cut away at her mind. It reduced her to a vegetable who was unable to care for herself. She spent the rest of her life in institutions.

In Rosemary's own diaries before the lobotomy she chronicled a life of tea dances, dress fittings, trips to Europe and a visit to the Roosevelt White House… while they revealed no great secrets, the three diaries -- written between 1936 and 1938 -- described people she met and concerts and operas she attended and that she was hardly a case of mental retardation.

So did nothing but unrulyness seal her fate? Rosemary Kennedy's letters show she was deeply saddened by the lack of acceptance she felt from her father. Her mother was looking for a way to cure Rosemary of her over-eating, her tantrums and her disobedient way of sneaking out of her convent, to drink and meet the opposite sex, no more and no less like many other privileged but unruly young women.

It seems that Joe was worried that his daughter would not permit him to have veto power over her relationships with men. She apparently thought it wasn't her duty to dedicate her life to pushing brother Joe Jr. into the White House. Her father did not take kindly to insolence, so he had her fixed.

Let's do a time leap! Hardly Camelot material was, too, Edward leaving Mary-Jo underneath a bridge in a waterlogged car for the night while he went home, caught up with some sleep, had breakfast, read the newspapers and finally reported the incident when he could be sure that she was well and truly dead. If somebody was cursed, it was the poor drowned girl.

Dying in a plane crash when you shouldn't be flying at all but thinking that for a Kennedy the weather forecast doesn't apply IS a curse, albeit only for the family of those you kill in the process. Date rape, driving backwards down a ski slope and hitting a tree, having an affair with one's babysitter, being arrested for possession of heroin and dying of a drug overdose are not part of a curse. They are character flaws. So is womanizing ("Jack" was not alone in this. Taki, the self-styled Greek playboy, remembers partying with Bobby in the Sixties. An "ugly character… a hater who passed moral judgment on everyone while committing adultery non-stop"). The Bay of Pigs fiasco, working for Joe McCarthy and involving the United States militarily in Vietnam... no curses, just bad judgement at best, plain evil at worse.

Camelot my ass and royalty my behind!

Well, maybe having too much money, power and spare time can be curse, but I doubt that's the meaning the media are trying to cram down our throats.

The only curse of which the Kennedys are suffering is Evil with a capital "E"!


The sources I used are all freely available in the internet save one, an article from a far-back issue of the English glossy Tatler, volume 289, number 9, August 1994, pp. 86-93.

The author is Glenys Roberts, the article was inappropriately dubbed, I suspect by the editor, not by the author who staunchly dismisses any equation between the Kennedys and "royalty" throughout her piece, "The fall of the house of Kennedy".


Promethea said...

Well you summed up THAT family pretty well! It certainly shows the power of spin that this evil family has gotten away with murder (figuratively and literally) time and time again.

Speaking of murder, it's been suggested that Marilyn Monroe was murdered because of her relationship with John. Don't know if this is true (no one does), but it adds to the general story of crime and disgusting behavior re the Kennedys.

Esther said...


Off topic - A recent Spiegel article mentioned elterngeld.,1518,414520,00.html

I posted an article on my blog about it, but I was hoping maybe you could explain more? Is this a tax break or money in hand? Does it encourage the unemployed to stay home?



The_Editrix said...

Esther, "Money for parents" (Elterngeld) is, as far as I know (I am nor eligible for it) not a tax reduction but money paid out.

It is not aimed at the unemployed, rather the reverse is the case. Here is what Angela Merke has to say about it: “If 40% of academics are no longer having children, then I have to ask, how can I avoid a break in their biographies.”

This (brief excerpt below) is worth reading as well.

"In an effort to boost fertility Germany is taking another small step in 2007 by setting up a "familien politik". This time in the form of "elterngeld" whereby the parent (in Germany by tradition always the mother) who stays at home for the first 12 months receives a 67% compensation of their net income up to a certain maximum, plus if the father also pull his weight that period can be extended by 2 months to 14."

emily said...

Just discovered your blog in THE most round-about way (Ted Kennedy>Shriver>Kathleen Cavendish>Deborah Mitford>Mitford Sisters). Wonderful stuff. Hope you have written on the Bayreuther Festspiele. I have bookmarked all 3 blogs and will visit frequently!

The_Editrix said...

Thank you, Emily!

Every time I consider to stop my English blogging efforts, something like that keeps me going.

Always On Watch said...

Aha! A post which doesn't canonize the Kennedy Family.

Ever since Teddy died, all I hear and read is about how wonderful he was. Pfffft!

The_Editrix said...

AOW, not here, you won't. The Kennedys do not belong on the scrapheap of history. They belong on the hazardous waste deposit of history.

fpb said...

Actually, their curse is the curse of Ireland: drinking, machismo and power politics.

The_Editrix said...

When I was in my late teens, young twenties, I used to be a lot in Ireland because of the horses. Had I had a daughter, I wouldn't have let her do the same, so your point is well taken. But even the lecherousness of the average Irish male, bad as it may be, is harmless compared with that of the Kennedys.

Off topic: I wonder why Polish men, who have an alcohol problem as well, are not more lecherous than the average male is anyway. ;-) And although they are very Catholic as well, different from the Irish, I have never heard them curse in a blasphemous way, as the Irish are so fond of doing ("Jesus Chroist foock me off...") and that when they are the worst swearers on earth.

fpb said...

The background of the historical trauma of Ireland is too long and too dreadful a story to cover here. But to put it as briefly as I can, Ireland is a nation that has systematically been deprived of every layer of its aristocracy and societal leadership. When it reconstructed itself in the Fenian period, it did so starting, essentially, from a lower-class without a middle and upper class - unrefined, unpolished, and traumatized by a series of horrendous abuses and tragedies going back centuries. What is more, this proletarian society was further atomized by massive immigration, that left only the skeletal remains of families at home, often isolated in half-abandoned farmhouses where the national proclivity for drink had free range. Poland suffered some similar abuses, but except for the 1939-1945 period, nothing really comparable. The Polish aristocracy and the merchant and intellectual classes were not systematically extirpated or denaturated over centuries; centres of Polish education were not silenced or driven abroad; the country declined, but it was not reduced to its own ghost. Also, the sufferings of Poland began with the Partitions, in the 1770s; they were pretty much over by 1989, and in fact one may say that even Communist Poland was not comparable with the centuries of systematic English destruction of Ireland - it was still a Polish state governed by a Polish elite and with a Polish culture and institutions. The sufferings of Ireland, by contrast, began in the early fifteen hundreds and were not over until 1922. Everything that went bad about Poland went incomparably worse in Ireland. No wonder that popular culture was debased to the level of drink and machismo; machismo, in particular, is clearly a false psychological compensation for an essential sense of powerlessness, isolation and lack of control.

This is an incredibly abbreviated sketch of what I think is the matter with modern Ireland. I might post a longer version on my LJ, but I have too many other things to do at present.

The_Editrix said...

Machismo as a psychological compensation for a sense of powerlessness... what a fascinating thought. (I wonder whether we can extrapolate that concept and apply it to Muslim cultures!)

I got a LJ ID and I'm looking forward to further thoughts on that matter there.

fpb said...

I think it can be shown by a multitude of examples. To mention the most extreme, think of the swagger of "gangsta rap". This is the performing art - I would not quite say the music, because it is as much acting and chanting as singing - of a social sub-group that feels itself cut out of the normal paths to achievement and success, in a society where achievement and success are very highly valued. Do we doubt that the extreme arrogance, the penis-centredness, and the abuse of women - at best as pornographic fantasy, at worst as slaves - is directly related to this? As for Muslim attitudes, I would say that you have to take in mind the extreme abjection of the Muslim before his God, very unlike the Catholic Christian view of, say, Michelangelo. Michelangelo's God is mirrored in the man he has just created, and man is indeed lower than God in power and knowledge, but visibly His equal in being free. Or as Dante said two centuries before Michelangelo -
Lo maggior don che Dio per sua larghezza
Fesse creando, e a la sua bontate
Più conformato, e quel ch'e' più apprezza,
Fu de la volontà la libertate!

"The greatest gift that God gave in His greatness
And closest to His shape of goodness still,
And that in His creation pleased Him best -
It is the freedom of the thinking Will!"
Muslims do not have this, or at least they do not have it unless they acquired it privately, as the best of them do, and then ascribed it to their religion. And that being the case, those who are not blessed with natural humility - and that is a rare gift - must surely look for a compensation for their status of helplessness before God, I would suggest.

fpb said...

As you have got on LJ, I assume you want to read some of my stuff. Here are a couple of dozen items (from six years of writing) that might interest you, for various reasons: (The heresy of dialogue) (Germany and World War One) (military history and WWI) (The Red Pope and the White Pope) (A comparison of Beethoven and Goethe) (War and Communism) (DON'T teach history to children!) (the popular arts) Catholic doctrine of sexuality) (patriotism) (HG Wells, Berthold Brecht, and artistic truth) (Christians and Jews) (the social implications of a famous film) (the sins of the past, as seen in another film) (reasons for PC-thinking; to be read before the next one) (the origin of some false contemporary ideas) (ugly ideas in popular art) and (changes in children's attitudes to sex)
- and the "A plague on both your Houses" series about American politics and society:

The_Editrix said...

You assume correctly, Fabio. Thank you so much. I have recommended your blog to others as well.

hank_F_M said...

Madam Editrix

A friend of mine from Massachusetts once explained the difference between Joe Kennedy and Al Capone.

When Al’s run runners got arrested he bailed them out of jail. The tax collectors followed the money trail and Al died in prison for tax evasion.

Joe let his rum runners rot. No money trail.

This is not a defense of Al who got less than he deserved.

Alligator said...

The Kennedy mystique, Camelot and the nearly sacred nature in which the national press lauds this family.

The way the media has covered for this family and created a mythos around them almost borders on a full blown conspiracy. It is interesting to note the age of the news anchors who still wax orgasmic over the Kennedys and Camelot. The younger generation cares not as much and that luster created by the media is wearing off. Now people who are genuinely interested are really finding out what went on in that family. In truth, it was just like the real Camelot or any "royal" family in history: they've had their success, but also their greed, failure, rape, infidelity, subterfuge, shame etc. etc.

I don't wish ill on anyone but I'd say as far as "curses" go, most of the bad things that happened to Kennedys was the result of their own poor choices. No, I don't count the political assassinations as the fault of JFK or RFK (I'm not a conpsiracist) Rose's lobotomy was the result of her father's evil desires. I'm sure he's had plenty of time to regret that and some other things he's done in the infernal reaches.