Imagining an old JFK

ou know what I kept thinking last night when Ted Kennedy was talking, and not for the first time? I wasKennedys
thinking how impossible it is to imagine any of his older brothers as old, feeble men, being lionized in the winter of their years. Not Jack, certainly not Bobby, and absolutely not Joe Jr.

And yet here was the baby of the family, fabulously old and famously ill. It’s weird.

Something else occurred to me: He doesn’t have nearly the heavy accent that Jack and Bobby did. It’s there, but his manner of speech is much more whitebread America. I found myself wondering if this has happened over time and I’m just noticing it, or did he always speak this way? Is it that he has lived through a time of greater homogenization of the culture, a time his brothers didn’t survive to live through, or is it just an individual difference?

I’m always thinking stuff like this, instead of paying attention to the words…

5 thoughts on “Imagining an old JFK

  1. Lee Muller

    JFK would be speaking on the Republican conventions, supporting fellow Navy officer John McCain.
    JFK was patriotic, fiscally conservative by todays non-standards, a Life Member of the NRA.

  2. Brad Warthen

    JFK was a man of respect, no doubt about it. But so was that whole generation, by and large, back before both parties went stark raving bonkers with their ideological program of mutual loathing.

  3. bill

    How easy it is to romanticize JFK and “that whole generation” decades later.Kennedy would never have been elected in these days of tabloid “journalism”.He made Bill Clinton look like an amateur.
    Imagining and old JFK IS difficult.He died with untreated venereal disease.

  4. Lee Muller

    JFK is romanticized, and the younger generations are fed a false history about it. He was a miserably incompetent President. He was insecure, and surrounded himself with a bunch of advisors from his old Harvard days, who were bright, fast talkers, but also totally inexperienced in the real world. McNamara, Galbraith, Califano, Eckstein, and the rest made a mess of foreign policy.
    Kennedy’s sexual philandering and abuse of pain killers and amphetamines made him even more unable to handle the job.


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