I tried to post yesterday but deleted it by accident. C’est la vie. Periodically I get fed up with “stars.” Whether they are professional athletes, actors, wealthy families, etc. They are still people who are regular people. I definitely have a chip on my shoulder since I attended state schools because they were what I could afford. When people lauded their private school status in our work environment I took comfort in the fact we made the same salary regardless. Plus if one attends such prestigious schools, shouldn’t one have commensurate manners? I, a lowly state school product, at least know to use napkins while eating and that flossing at the lunch table is a no-no. Whatever. Just goes to show.
Anyway….I’ve been reading a fair amount of non-fiction in the last several months. I’m a history buff but will also read biographies and memoirs. I’ve burned through “The Boys in the Boat,” “Dead Wake,” “Killing Reagan,” and most recently “Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter,” and Frank Langella’s “Dropped Names.”
To tie back to the first paragraph…the latter two in my list almost caused my head to explode. My disdain for the Kennedy family has turned into total repugnance and my opinion of Frank Langella altered precipitously. Langella is a respected actor for good reason but as a person he embodies many of the same traits that stars seem to possess: narcissism, self-admiration, inflated ego, etc. I suppose it’s what allows them to be “stars” but, gee whiz, why can’t they be nicer people? His book is interesting in a gossipy-type way but it left me feeling disenchanted because now I doubt the sincerity and integrity of every actor. Please note I use the term actor in a universal fashion, it applies to men and women.
Now to the Kennedy family. Wow. Hypocrisy is a terrible understatement when it comes to them. On the eve of the release of “Spotlight,” the film that chronicles the journalistic effort to expose Boston’s clergy-related sex abuse scandal (reminds me of a similar film “The Verdict”), the most recent of two books about Rosemary Kennedy does a great deal to damage the Kennedy name along with exposure of the integrity of various Catholic institutions. The fact that Joseph Kennedy was held in such high esteem by the Church in spite of his serial philandering is just a drop in the bucket in this book. The eventual fate of Rosemary is just so damn sad. Having an intellectually-impaired child must be exceedingly difficult for any family. The fact that the Kennedy’s had so much money at their disposal makes her fate even more of a tragedy. But it’s okay because when matriarch Rose has had enough, she goes on jaunts to Europe to recover. It’s so ludicrous. Enough already.
I’ve just had enough of holding all of these “celebrities” in high esteem. Look what it has done to professional athletes. They do terrible things and are rarely held accountable. But that’s another topic for another day.
On the positive side, Kate Larson’s book on Rosemary Kennedy was well-written and well-researched. O’Reilly’s book on Reagan also points out the character flaws of Ronnie and Nancy, two performers, who are far more interested in their images. His book on Lincoln is the best in his series thus far, in my opinion. The epic story of our medal-winning crew team from 1936 is worth reading. It is an excellent chronicle of the drive and determination to succeed that laid the foundation for the Greatest Generation. And I like most anything that Erik Larson writes. “The Devil in the White City” remains my favorite of his.
Reading teaches us so much. It’s a shame it’s becoming a lost art.