Opinion

America, It’s Time to Stop Crushing on the Kennedys

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JFK and Jackie

Dear America,

How are you? Did you have a fun Halloween? Great, me too. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? That sounds nice. Look, we need to talk.

John “Jack” Schlossberg, son of Caroline Kennedy, was recently photographed at his mother’s side when she was sworn in as the U.S. ambassador to Japan. Since then, the Internet’s been abuzz with talk of how adorable he is. And I agree with you. On a scale of 1 to hot, JFK’s only grandson is definitely hot. But before you tweet another marriage proposal his way, check yourself. Are you just crushing on the Kennedys?

Unless you suffer from a very specific type of amnesia that prevents you from forming memories of attractive celebrities, you’ll know that Schlossberg is by no means the first good-looking member of the Kennedy clan to capture the nation’s heart.

First, there was President Kennedy himself. Jackie. Robert F. Kennedy. People named JFK Jr. the Sexiest Man Alive. Taylor Swift, our proxy in all matters of the heart, dated Robert’s grandson Conor Kennedy after writing a song about his grandparents (you know, normal couple stuff). Joseph P. Kennedy III, another RFK grandson, is a charmingly ginger congressman. Maria Shriver. Patrick Schwarzenegger – the progeny of Shriver and a little-known Austrian bodybuilder slash former governor – is a model, as is “Kick” (real name Kathleen) Kennedy, yet another RFK grandchild.

I totally get it. I went through a Kennedy phase of my own – which, for some reason, took the form of reading the entire Warren Commission report on JFK’s assassination as a weird, bookish middle schooler. But that’s the thing: President Kennedy, the historical root of our collective Kennedyphilia, passed away fifty years ago next Friday. (I wish I’d had to look that up.) This is why I fear for you, America. If one of your friends nursed an unrequited crush that lasted more than half a century, you’d be worried, too.

Yes, the history of the Kennedy/Bouvier/Schlossberg/Shriver/Lawford family history is utterly tragic. They’ve seen untimely deaths, miscarriages, plane crashes, failed lobotomies. For those who are drawn to that kind of thing, the Kennedys are what would happen if a Nicholas Sparks movie could hold political office. But Camelot isn’t (and has never been) a red-white-and-blue fairy tale borne on the wings of a bald eagle. Shit got dark. Pretty much everyone cheated on everyone else. Kennedy relatives have committed both murder and statutory rape. And in case you forgot, Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge and didn’t bother to inform the authorities about Mary Jo Kopechne, the campaign staffer he’d left inside, until the next morning. She died.

Contrary to popular belief, the Kennedys don’t constitute a mini-race of genetically superior, preternaturally patriotic chosen people. Please note that there are many of them. So many of them. Statistically, in a family that large, the bell curve of humanity is going to churn out some intellectuals, some real lookers, a few lowlife creeps, and a whole lot of mostly average Joes and Janes (and Jacks). It’s science. Or math. Whatever.

Don’t let the romantic Hyannis Port haze – pine and pipe smoke, saltwater and chum – cloud your better judgment. The Kennedys are just a bunch of dudes and ladies, like any other bunch of dudes and ladies. It’s time to get over them.

Your friend,
Molly

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