Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hitchens on Jackie O

My mom never liked her, and I never really understood why.   In Vanity Fair Christopher Hitchens comments on the release of her interview tapes with Arthur Schlesinger Jr.:  Widow of Opportunity

I suspect it had something to do with this:
when examined carefully and in context, the pouting refusal to have any ideas except those supplied by her lord and master turns out not to be evidence of winsome innocence but a soft cover for a specific sort of knowingness and calculation.
And this: 
hey certainly make it difficult if not impossible to accept her at her own paradoxical valuation, as merely a self-effacing hostess and decorator.
Regarding Camelot:
Now consider: The nation has just buried a president whose books were replete with the language of valor and grandeur—fit rhetoric forProfiles in Courage. Arlington cemetery has been garlanded as never in the century. The bugle calls can still be heard wafting on the air. And then: Oh, mercy me, why do I worry my pretty little head?—why, all I can call to mind is some plonking ditty from Lerner and Loewe that even the Broadway critics found a tad paltry.
My mother could not abide fakery of any sort, but especially female self-effacing.  I feel proud of her insight.

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