THOUSANDS MOURN FALLEN HERO
AT FUNERAL MASS
TWO FIREFIGHTERS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES
LAID TO REST
Requiescant in pace.
[uh, ...newsflash, take 2: ...and... roll it!]
A KENNEDY PASSES
HEROIC FIGHTER FOR THOSE MARGINALIZED
DEDICATED TO FAITH & FAMILY
LIFELONG PUBLIC SERVANT
... uh, that would be....
EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER, 1921-2009
Requiescat in Pace
[damn! I'll get it this time....
Here we go: Newsflash!...]
ADDENDUM: ANOTHER KENNEDY PASSES
Edward M. Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, can stop swimming now -- stop treading water and paddling furiously to escape that riptide moment which consummated a lifetime pattern of trampling over rules, feelings, persons, and boundaries of decency to preserve and prosper himself: from cheating on exams, to cheating on his wife, to trying to cheat the American system by getting the State of Massachusetts to do a legal flip-flop [or insert a Joe-Kennedy-hand-pick] every time he wanted keep up the Democrat vote-count in the Senate when a vacancy occurred.
Actually it's not accurate to refer to a "riptide moment", because the Chappaquiddick incident [good analysis here] unrolled with chilling calculation over a period of hours; and while he may have been swept into the moral whirlpool by an instinctive and natural panic, it is plain for all to see that he very quickly made the conscious choice to go with that flow.
[That is assuming, via the benefit of the doubt, that he did not in fact drive off that bridge deliberately -- and why would he do that? Well, it could have made a speedy end to any nasty fallout from accusations of rape or impregnation. The burial, literally, of any autopsy findings on Mary Jo Kopechne leave these speculations both legitimate and eternally hanging.]
It is my sincere belief that the life of any person cannot be summed up in their one worst act. Ted Kennedy could long ago have been completely forgiven for his role in Mary Jo's death, were he sincerely repentant, and (as a putative Catholic) had he availed himself of the Sacrament. But, let's face it, his life was not otherwise sterling, both personally and politically.
He left a shattered wife after 20 years of marriage, for a dissolute life of booze and broads [brought to a close only by his marriage to a fellow-divorcé barely older than his children, which he has insisted now has the Catholic Church's blessing, though God alone knows how].
And he has championed [with at least a coherent consistency not found in many politicians] every cause on the left-wing political menu, often with requisite passion, but just as often with characteristic excess in spleen and calumny against his foes. Reliable and respectable Mona Charen sums this up perfectly today. What time we invest in wondering whether Mr. Kennedy has had the grace to repent his horrific wrong toward Mary Jo Kopechne [feel free to doubt that -- apparently it was one of his favourite topics for a good joke] could just as well be spent on the subject of his unquestionably deliberate character assassinations of Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork, President George Bush, and the American military in Iraq.
Odd, that -- a man whose family was sliced apart by physical assassination found the public slaughter of personal reputation out of one side of his mouth irresistible, while out the other side he was an impassioned advocate of "hate-crime" legislation, and insidious and repugnant vehicle for gagging free speech, which is always selectively enforced (Christians are never considered victims) and inevitably morphs into the creation of "thought crime." (Welcome to Canada)
But then, why should this man blanch at character assassination when he has been able to make himself comfortable with the bodily death of one (Mary Jo) or of millions (the killing fields),
or of millions upon millions (the pre-born) where it suited his larger agenda. [Kennedy was against abortion when he began his political career, but, as Germaine Greer so deftly said it, "I never knew a philanderer who wasn't pro-choice."]
The one time he did hold his tongue while the rest of the Democrats were flapping theirs was during the confirmation hearings for successful Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas -- Kennedy's own well-earned reputation as "an aging Irish boyo clutching a bottle and diddling a blonde" and "Palm Beach boozer, lout and tabloid grotesque" and "the living symbol of the family flaws" [from GQ, Time, and Newsweek, respectively -- long before there was ever a Fox News!] made it impossible for him to meddle in the lurid sex-swamp that the Democrats were juicing up for Judge Thomas. Far from being understanding, the Dems were livid with avuncular ol' Ted for not firing off a shot at that OK Corral.
I'm glad there is a God who is in the forgiving business, since such vast swaths of his creation [i.e., me] are not. The Anchoress, as usual, inspires with her charity and largeness of spirit at these moments. I make my less generous comment part-way down her page.
Senator Edward Moore Kennedy:
Knight Errant of England
-- not everyone thrilled with taking Camelot this far!
Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
-- not everyone thrilled at this shallow substitute for a Gold in the 100-metre breast-stroke!
Lion of the Senate
-- would you want to be one of these?:
"Once established with a pride, males are usually able to scrounge food from the females, but they also have pride duties: males have to patrol and mark their territory by spraying urine, rubbing secretions of glands on objects, and roaring."[I think they called it a "waitress sandwich" -- Chris Dodd would know...]
And in answer to the musical question: why am I dissing the guy, now he's dead and can't do any more damage? That's an easy one. It's the rank dishonesty of it all -- the papering over, the re-writing, the distortion not just of the sordid realities of his repugnant personal life, but of the true picture of his performance as the total political partisan, right to the last week of his life where he tried to game the system to overturn his own previous gaming of the system to preserve the filibuster-proof majority in the senate. The longer his "leonine" career went on the more it became self-parody, as he barked and bloviated his way through the process while his underlings tried to prop up his superficial involvement -- best exemplified by his laughable performance at the Roberts and Alito hearings, as he took the field against two men each with more intellectual heft in their left eyebrow than Kennedy has every displayed at any juncture in his academic or political life.
Had the commentators of the past few days simply had the good taste to keep their assessments out of the stratosphere of hagiographical exaggeration, distortion, or just plain lies (Kennedy was a fighter, but it was never personal????) people like me might have just laid off and let it go. But I have heard enough (and I haven't listened that much) to find myself so sickened by the disingenuousness that I had no choice but to vent a little reality into the cloud. So here it was.
What is it with these professional stenographers? It's like calling Michael Jackson "the greatest entertainer who ever was" just because he died. Greater than Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.?
Not even greater than the ensemble cast of the Carol Burnett Show, for cripes sake. Give me a break.
What children these newsmongers are -- once it was their sin to try and rewrite history by knowingly spreading falsehoods (Cronkite on Vietnam) -- now I think they rewrite it because they are too emotionally self-indulgent and memory-challenged to keep their grip on reality on these momentous occasions.
Fortunately, when the flower-shrines have wilted and the kleenexes have been hauled away, most regular folks get on with their lives, and come to the sad conclusion that the world is full of the over-praised, and that these displays of emotional extremism change nothing. How much better to acknowledge a sane assessment of a person's true worth, and feel happy for the good they actually did, than to canonize them without warrant. So it is even with Princess Diana, whose departure still holds all the records for excess. She loved her sons. As memories go, that should be enough.
For the Tedster: Requiescat in pace is enough too.