Niagara Gazette

Opinion

March 23, 2014

SINGER: Still remembering Kennedy

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Which, I guess, one must address, however briefly. First, I don’t think he was simply salacious, as some allege. Yes, we’ve heard plenty about his linkage to Marilyn Monroe; but less, for example, of his love for the actress Gene Tierney, before he gave way to realism, marrying a suitable wife (Jackie). Brooklyn Irish by origins, Tierney had European experience, a frugal, unspoiled ability to repair and prettify small Hollywood places she’d inhabited, and as some know, high standards in her movies ... and tragedy? She was easily Monroe’s peer in that regard, given a marriage to Oleg Cassini ruined by her overbearing family and studio heads; German measles she contracted at the famed Hollywood Canteen and a consequently retarded daughter she bore; and her own mental illness around the corner, which after Kennedy impelled Tierney’s self-righteous family to lock her up in awful asylums, where she endured multiple rounds of shock therapy. And yet, one can see how JFK was drawn to this sensitive, vulnerable, accomplished person. Taste he had ...

Of course the man deserves to be mourned, but not in the superficial, sound-byte way that was too often the case for this anniversary of an event putatively ringing down an era. Yes, he deserves to be regretted, and in certain ways, so does his time period; but I don’t agree that a long-lived Kennedy would have significantly altered how we subsequently trended as a civilization.

That notwithstanding, the late JFK provides a good role model and might still be emulated in the present. But we’re too often distracted to choose high role models and try and walk the walk. There are so many discordant, lower role models about. All we can do to get Kennedy “right,” it seems, is via pastiche, such as in films like “Thirteen Days.” There the actor who played the president during the Cuban missile crisis did a creditable job, and certainly looked the part.

But it was only a part, however adept the film; and I stand by my original assertion: Kennedy deserves to be mourned as a man and as part of an era that for good or ill (or both), simply won’t come back again.

B.B. Singer has taught at several colleges in the area, including Niagara University.

B.B. Singer has taught at several colleges in the area, including Niagara University.

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