The Real JFK Jr.

by R. Cort Kirkwood

The only thing better than a book smashing the myth of Camelot and John F. Kennedy is a book smashing the myth about any other member of "America's Royal Family."

And the best kind of book like that would be one dissecting the life and work, such as the latter was, of the dearly departed John F. Kennedy Jr.

Wouldn't you know it, someone has obliged. Life wasn't just beer and skittles, a news report on the book says, for the fellow whom Democrats fantasized would run for president some day.

The Book

The book, titled The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family For 150 Years, tells us that JFK Jr. was just another twisted pig in the Kennedy poke.

What we heard about his heavenly match with Carolyn Bessette was only so much eyewash from the adulatory media, which never met a Kennedy they didn't like. The intensity of the nonsense reached its high water mark, so to speak, when Kennedy, the Hyannis version of Wrong-Way Feldman, crashed his plane in waters off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.

According to the latest installment in things Kennedy, the boy-man and his bride were on the verge of divorce.

"The sexiest man alive," the book reports, had trouble with his sex life; apparently, Carolyn didn't buy the press releases. "I want to have kids." he told a friend, "but whenever I raise the subject with Carolyn, she turns away and refuses to have sex with me."

The Ice Lady also was a dope fiend. At one restaurant, the books reports, she ducked into the ladies' room a half-dozen times and returned with white stuff around her nose. It wasn't from eating powdered sugar donuts.

And a typical argument went like this:

"You're a cokehead!"

"You fag!"

John-John, who failed the bar exam twice, didn't know what to do. He thought Carolyn, who ordered her pedicurist to redo her toenails three times on the day she was killed, was cheating on him with a former boyfriend, a thespian who appeared on "Baywatch."

What Tragic Curse?

Funny thing is, no one needed to write a book to answer the question in its title, why a "tragic curse haunts" the family.

Not that anyone cares, but as dipsomaniac Ted Kennedy once explained, things happen in large families. A hapless child will die in an accident; another will contract some horrible disease. Bad things happen more in the Kennedy family because the men are undisciplined, and can't handle money, alcohol, or fame. The rules that apply to everyone else, they believe, do not apply to them, even simple safety rules.

This belief accounts for Michael Kennedy's death while "football skiing" in 1997. A ski ranger warned him to stop clowning around with the ball. He refused.

John-John wasn't skilled enough to fly in bad weather. He flew anyway.


So the "tragedies" are hardly a surprise or a "curse," and given the truth about the family, one wonders how the Kennedys retain the title of "America's First Family" or "America's Royal Family."

If this brood is "first" in anything, it's troublemaking, boozing, wrecking cars, chasing and killing women, and other unsavory activities. They are also first in hypocrisy.

The Kennedys are royal, all right. A royal embarrassment.

Syndicated columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send him mail] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va.

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