«

»

Sep 03 2009

Spinster aunt complains about Ted Kennedy

One of the reasons this spinster devotes fewer and fewer aunt-hours to reading blogs these days is the increasing likelihood that I will encounter something along the lines of “You call yourself a feminist? Shame on you for not writing about blahblahblah.” Whereupon the blogger in question writes sanctimoniously about blahblahblah. I fucking hate that shame-on-you tone. Who died and made you king of the blog topic deciders, Sanctimonious Blogger?

This week the cause celebre and object of feminist indifference is Mary Jo Kopechne, who, in 1969, famously suffocated to death after having been abandoned in a submerged car by the recent Senator Ted Kennedy, who was perhaps a bit tipsy at the time.

“[E]ven the feminist blogs are not mentioning her. Yes, as if she never existed indeed!” says DaisyDeadhead, giving herself a little pat on the head.

DaisyDeadhead is pissed about how popular Ted Kennedy is lately, now that he’s dead. He’s so nationally beloved and so perfectly deceased that it is, she says, “considered ‘rude’ to mention [Kopechne's] suspicious and untimely death.”

DaisyDeadhead is right about me, at least. I have completely omitted to write about Mary Jo Kopechne’s suspicious and untimely death. I haven’t even thought about Kopechne in years and years. Hell, I had already tuned out the incessant chatter covering Kennedy’s princely week of national mourning and state funeralizing and sentimental eulogizing (if I hear the phrase “uncanny ability to reach across the aisle” one more time I’m gonna set fire to my own head). Another pink-faced old bloviating honky patriarch biting the dust is but a blip on the obstreperometer here at Spinster HQ. But Daisy’s got a point. When public figures croak around here the tendency to canonize’em and whitewash their not inconsiderable personal failings, especially when those failings are so perfectly in line with the evils we particularly abhor, can really chap the old hide.

It dawns on me, though, that the focus on Kopechne’s death has the untoward effect of historically footnoting her in terms of a dude. I know, I know, whaddya do? The dude in whose terms she is historically footnoted is a fucking dead Kennedy, bona fide American royalty whose considerable influence casts a fairly jumbo and luminous shadow. And had he not killed her, it is likely that nobody, not even DaisyDeadhead, would be writing about her now. One doesn’t write “Kopechne” without writing “Kennedy.” Peas and carrots.

Joyce Carol Oates authors a remarkable speculation in a recent Guardian article. It’s currently being bandied about in Femtown:

“[I]f one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?”

Unless one is insane, one is to think that that dude should have been tried for homicide, that’s what. Oates isn’t boostering for the guy, or suggesting that Kopechne’s murder was justified by her murderer’s subsequent good deeds. She’s just pointing out the unpleasant fact that patriarchal hegemony trumps justice, even as it pretends that justice is its highest moral purpose.

She kisses the master’s ass, though, by whitewashing this phenomenon as a “paradox” rather than calling it what it is: the logical conclusion of oppression culture.

Oh, those wacky men, and their lively tradition of perpetrating unspeakable criminal shit in private while simultaneously basking in the glory of their larger-than-life public service.

It is impossible to speculate what Mary Jo Kopechne, a woman with a promising career in politics, might have accomplished had she not been sacrificed for the political career of an ethically challenged, privileged white asshole. One thing’s for sure, though. She’s but one of millions of women whose invitation to life’s rich pageant turned out to be bogus.

I’m not one of those dorks who thinks that women should run the world and that if we did there would be peace and harmony and vegan tacos for everyone (No one should run the world. But that’s another post). I can barely imagine what human society would look like if women were merely accorded human status, but I tell you what. It sure as shit couldn’t be worse than this.

60 comments

  1. TwissB

    @Jill – ” I can barely imagine what human society would look like if women were merely accorded human status, but I tell you what. It sure as shit couldn’t be worse than this.”

    Nice introduction to this link in which Wendy Murphy, billed as a “former prosecutor,” holds Chris Mathews at bay as she hammers in her view of the Jaycee Dugard case as a demonstration of the way the American legal system expresses American men’s disregard for women’s human rights and their unequal status. Hear Ol’ Hardballer complain that “you jumped on me!” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/#32663869

    I got a kick out of the way she played the required game – raising her voice, etc. – while getting what she wants to say said over all his efforts to derail her. She gets the obligatory dig in at NOW for not condemning inadequate punishment, if any, of rapists but, she’s right that there is nothing about the Dugard case on the NOW website.

  2. TwissB

    Wendy Murphy’s lengthy bio is on Google. Try to ignore the NFL cheerleader bit.

    Bad news for Onion fans. The Onion store sells a t-shirt inviting a chuckle over sex trafficking: “My friend went to Thailand and all I got was this lousy prostitute”

  3. ElizaN

    I’ve gotten so much stuff eulogizing Kennedy as this great supporter of women and women’s rights, I could heat my home with the junk mail. I remember him jumping right on that good ole boy bandwagon attacking Anita Hill, before turning around at the last minute and acting like he supported her all along.

  4. TwissB

    Furthermore:
    Wendy Murphy’s bio is at http://andjusticeforsome.com/ Too bad about the NFL cheerleader detail, but she seems to be doing her best to atone for that misstep.

    Bad news for feminist fans of The Onion – the Onion store sells a t-shirt inviting us (in lame prose) to get a chuckle over sex trafficking. Here’s the big joke: “My friend went to Thailand and all I got was this lousy kidnapped prostitute”

  5. Orange

    Of course, when you are effective at reaching across the aisle at the movies, nobody praises you. They just summon the usher to eject you from the theater.

  6. K.A.

    The second Joyce Carol Oates book I ever read was Black Water, though I didn’t realize at the time it was a fictionalized account of Kennedy’s drunken misogycidal incident (since I had never heard of it). Once I’d picked up Zombie and realized, oy vey, this is based on Jeffrey Dahmer, and anyone who could make me totally understand what’s going on in this guy’s head has to be totally fucked themselves/a genius, and does that mean that other book was based on another actual all-American sociopath, too? It blew my mind that the story was real and he got away with it–naturally, it was a Kennedy!–I laughed/died. Of course he got away with it! Of course he’s lionized now for his progressivism, ha. Didn’t you know that women are not part of the people-group that are deserving of rights? They’re the fuck-fodder that Kennedy’s blow through like booze. Women are just political pinatas.

    I actually think that Oates always has a tendency to downplay horrific human injustices in her writing in general, though she includes them to expose them for what they are. Maybe it’s a self-preservation thing she does out of habit.

  7. pheenobarbidoll

    Unless one is insane, one is to think that that dude should have been tried for homicide, that’s what. ”

    Fucking THANK YOU.

    I hinted at this on an unnamed Feminist site and was POUNCED for it.

    How DARE I over look at the women he’s helped!! Or mention the rapes he perpetrated (suddenly it was alleged sexual assault) when he’s made up for it!

    Made up for it? really?

    My shiney Texas ass he made up for it.

  8. Nolabelfits

    Great Link, TwissB.

    Finally I see my outrage over Jaycee Dugard’s ordeal expressed in the media.

  9. Nolabelfits

    As one person commented in my local paper:

    “If the Garridos had been growing pot in that backyard they would have been busted long ago.”

  10. Hattie

    Joyce Carol Oates is a hard eyed realist. In all her work, the men win out. Men make their mistakes, their inevitable sacrifices are left behind, they make alliances with men and useful women, and they determine the course of history.
    So far, at least.
    That article is brilliant. She says it all in so few words.

  11. VinaigretteGirl

    Over here in Britland most stories along the lines of “yeah, yeah, the Americans want to eulogise him but actually although he wasn’t tried for vehicular homicide [which has a risible sentencing attached to it, incidentally] CAN’T THINK WHY he cashiered any chance he had for the presidency and was forced to back off and do his job as senator, which he then did, not that a conviction for DWI and manslaughter would have actually made him unelectable.”

    Mary Jo Kopechne was killed in a car accident; I can’t deny her *some* element of agency in having decided to get in the car with a drunk, but that doesn’t mean the driver should have escaped justice, and like loadsamen who kill a woman passenger by driving, he got off. The fact that he’s a Kennedy is incidental to the fact that he’s male.

  12. speedbudget

    If anyone has any doubt why we need an equal rights amendment, the fact that you get more time for property crime than perpetrating sexual violence on women and/or children should be the eye-opener. In an ideal world, of course.

    We are still chattel, and it’s deeply disturbing.

  13. Jodie

    I hate to think what Kopechne’s parents must be feeling, if they are still living. Yes, he should have been tried for murder.

  14. Agasaya

    ‘Chattel’ is a term which indicates affiliation within the group via ownership. In such cases, women have some value depending upon the degree of interest/attachment exhibited by the male(s) involved. They have the protections afforded property as well, stopping short of the more extensive legal remedies available for standard property damage. Land and its influence has always had more value than the women occupying it.

    That doesn’t mean a complete lack of progress though. I believe we’ve become more valuable than stereos. Next goal, overtaking the car market!

    An unaffiliated woman lacks even the benefits conferred upon ‘chattel’ via the property laws. No “owner” to complain about loss or damage.

  15. Anna Belle

    I wrote about the Kennedy worship and Kopechne, but my gripe was with bloggers who say they are feminist or at least feminist sympathizers, who then wrote love-stories about Kennedy’s history, thereby exposing the utter hypocrisy of their internal thinking process. Kennedy should have gone to jail, period. What’s more, he’d have never, ever left a dude to die in that car.

    But I bitch about a lot more too with regard to Ted and the other Kennedys. I can’t stand watching liberal (a synonym for “arrogant” these days) people worship them. I have such low tolerance for idiocy these days.

    PS: Kopechne’s parents are both dead (Mary Jo herself was an only child). The Kennedys bought their silence with half a million dollars and by shaming them into believing she might have been pregnant, thus causing them to decline having an autopsy to performed. Because, you know, having their unmarried daughter pregnant is way more horrible than having her dead.

  16. slythwolf

    Mary Jo Kopechne was killed in a car accident; I can’t deny her *some* element of agency in having decided to get in the car with a drunk

    I don’t claim to know the details, having not been alive at the time, but the way I understand it, Kopechne was asleep in the back seat of the car when Kennedy got in and drove away. He claimed not to have known she was in the car.

  17. MM

    While I agree with your points and I thought Ted Kennedy was anything but a smirking blowhard, I notice no media blackout on the subject of Mary Jo Kopechne. Every article I’ve read about Kennedy’s life has discussed the Chappaquiddick crash, usually prominently and not as a footbote.

  18. MM

    Oops, that should have read “…and I NEVER thought Ted Kennedy was anything but a smirking blowhard…”

  19. Gayle

    I read some pretty extensive blog discussions about this and the Kennedy Smith rape trial right after his death: Shakesville had more than one thread if I recall correctly. The Confluence and No Quarter did too (both Puma affiliated group blogs with feminist writers). Even Huff Post had some lively debates.

  20. PilgrimSoul

    Fabulous, Jill. Nothing sort of pissed me off more than all these people bitching and moaning that Kopechne (or the Kennedy Smith rape trial) was even being brought up because, “now’s not the time.” Well, fuck, you guys, I realize this is a culture where having your cake and eating it too is a God-given male right, but I’m hardly being intellectually dishonest when I point that out.

    One of the other logical conclusions of oppression culture that strikes me as being highlighted by this entire incident: one can do all of this and still be lauded as a champion of women’s rights and equality because (and I do not doubt his sincerity here) one is willing to grant them certain bare legal protections. Mamma mia.

  21. Notorious Ph.D.

    Come for the blaming, stay for the prose. This is my favorite:

    “She’s but one of millions of women whose invitation to life’s rich pageant turned out to be bogus.”

    Thank you.

  22. virago

    “I don’t claim to know the details, having not been alive at the time, but the way I understand it, Kopechne was asleep in the back seat of the car when Kennedy got in and drove away. He claimed not to have known she was in the car.”

    I read somewhere that Mary Jo Kopechne may have been pregnant at the time of her death and was considered by Ted Kennedy to be a liability. I don’t know if she was or not, but there’s been a lot of speculation that her “accident” was on purpose. Either way, Kennedy should’ve been charged with murder because he failed to report the accident to the authorities until AFTER the car with Kopechne was found. He killed her all right. One thing that I find very suspicious is that Kennedy supposedly offered to give Mary Jo a ride home that night, but her friends didn’t even know that she had left, and she didn’t take her purse and keys with her. Who goes home without their purse and keys? The fact that he was never charged for homicide is incredible. OTOH, Kennedy is one of the leading patriarchs so I guess Mary Jo didn’t count. IBTP.

  23. wiggles

    Agasaya: “I believe we’ve become more valuable than stereos. Next goal, overtaking the car market!”

    I’m not so sure about that. Most of the VAW cases I read about, rape in particular, the perp gets a shorter sentence than the next guy who nicked some home entertainment equipment.

  24. Dr. Righteous

    Kopechne was chattel all right–of her parents. Otherwise, why pay them for her?

    At the time, in that part of the country anyway, being pregnant out of wedlock was still an awful, terrible shame. And we were willing to risk death from illegal abortions rather than be pregnant.

    But I doubt that the parents could accept her death before they could accept a pregnancy: I seem to remember the Kopechnes saying that it would blacken her good name if she were found to be pregnant and she wouldn’t be any the less dead for it, ergo, no autopsy. It was the media who hinted that it was about the money.

    But the original topic was blogging (or not) on Mary Jo. Someone, I forget who, maybe it was Daisy, blogged that only the right wingers were bringing her up. I wonder if feminists were wary of trashing Kennedy because that’s a right-wing meme? IBTP.

  25. yttik

    We have an awesome police force that does nothing but run around policing feminists to see if they’ve sinned. Did she cover this issue? Recycle? Shop at the Whole Foods? (Or is that not shop at the Whole Foods?) Has she been politically correct this week or did she fall off the wagon somewhere?

    “I believe we’ve become more valuable than stereos.”

    Really? Have you dated men who own stereos???! I believe the ranking is usually, my car, my stereo, my dog, and than possibly his mother or his girlfriend.

    Chattel have some value. Ironically women are valued more when they are temporarily upgraded to chattel, like when crimes against them are designated as crimes against the state.

  26. speedbudget

    An unaffiliated woman lacks even the benefits conferred upon ‘chattel’ via the property laws. No “owner” to complain about loss or damage.

    Obviously if the chattel is unafilliated, it must be defective, so anything that happens to it can’t make it worse than it was to begin with.

  27. servical

    Problem:
    “You call yourself a feminist? Shame on you for not writing about blahblahblah.”

    Solution:
    http://getyourowneffingblog.wordpress.com/

  28. Agasaya

    Speedbudget:

    Actually the more ‘unaffiliated’ chattel lying around, the cheaper it is to acquire some of your very own. So, a market flooded with product means that product comes more cheaply. Excess products left ‘on the shelf’ (an expression which used to mean spinster) are less likely to be choosy about affiliating with the less desirable males.

    This is likely the first time in history where women in a few regions of the world are free to remain ‘unaffiliated’. Major threat to testosterone containers everywhere! And of course, easier game for them as well since officials aren’t going to waste time on that segment of the population.

  29. Gayle

    “I’m not one of those dorks who thinks that women should run the world”

    I was a Democrat long enough to know that if your start negotiating at your point of compromise, you lose. I say we insist on it all and then settle for parity.

    And things will change even if we just have the latter. Call me a dork, but I have no doubt about this. A token woman here and there can’t do much, she’s forced to fit into the existing culture. A group of women can create real change. This has been proven true in corporate cultures and would transfer into political culture, too.

  30. Rugosa

    In today’s stricter anti-drunk-driving climate, Kennedy may have been charged for Kopechne’s death, but back in the good old days of the 60s, I think a DUI-related death was looked at more as an unfortunate accident than a crime. I’m not excusing him, I am just remembering what things were like back then.

    Vehicular homicide is a touchy subject in any case – it seems that charges are not brought against perpetrators nearly as often as they should be. Wasn’t there a congressman a couple years ago who killed someone on the road, and got away with it? Was Laura Bush prosecuted for killing her ex-boyfriend by running a stop sign, and if she was, did she serve time?

  31. yttik

    Kennedy didn’t just accidentally kill a woman in a drunk driving crash. He drove into a creek, escaped the car, left her there to drown, went back to the party, eventually went to bed, and only reported the accident the next day at the urging of his friends.

  32. Dawn Coyote

    Regarding men, their women and their stereos:

    I spent the night in jail once for throwing my abusive boyfriend’s stereo off of our 19th floor balcony. In a holding cell the next morning, waiting to be arraigned (“Common Nuisance”) with an assortment of women who’s life experience included drug trafficking and prostitution (and presumably incest, rape, DV, etc.), I was the Belle of the Ball. Every time a new woman was brought into the cell, they’d get me to tell the story over again. When she got me on the phone the next day, his ex-girlfriend shouted at me. “I fucking LOVE you!” was the main thrust of her argument.

  33. Rugosa

    yttik – you’re right of course, which is why I’m not excusing Kennedy of culpability. My point was that the authorities didn’t – and still too often don’t – give this kind of crime the weight it deserves.

  34. Lexie

    I read this yesterday and since I only remembered the basics of the Kopechne case, I looked it up on good ol’ wikipedia. The description of the rescue diver who eventually found and pulled out her body was chilling and it haunted me all night.

    He said basically that she was found with her face up in an air pocket. Which indicated that she did not drown, rather, she asphyxiated due to lack of O2. He estimates that this probably took about two to four hours. If he had been called right away, he estimated that he could have gotten her out alive in 25 minutes.

    Just, shivers. Can you imagine waiting in an air pocket for two to four hours, thinking someone will be there to save you any minute…yet your friend/boyfriend/whatever is so busy worrying about his good ‘ol boy reputation that he is just running around above you covering his tracks? THAT is the crime, here. Not that he had the accident in the first place (although if it was a DUI, that’s bad enough) but that he was such a self-entitled ass with no regard to this woman that he wouldn’t even lift a finger to try to save her.

  35. Jill

    @ Dawn Coyote: Hah!

  36. Hedgepig

    Lexie, that is horrendous. Like being buried alive. My only hope is that on his deathbed, surrounded by his adoring family and public, he was utterly shit scared of going straight to hell. I gather that even rich male Catholics sometimes fear the wrath of the Big Dude in the Sky.

  37. Gayle

    Hedgepig,

    I’d like to think so, but noting his now public letter to the Pope, it seems Kennedy was more concerned with how his former votes on abortion would affect his everlasting standing with the church. In an attempt to prove his worth to Benedict, he asserts his support for conscience clauses allowing health care professionals to refuse treatments (we all know what “treatments” he’s talking about). There is no explicit mention of this hideous event or any other personal failings in his plea for postmortem blessing.

  38. Unree

    Gayle, you’re right, but at least Kennedy was shit-scared of eternal damnation. Or at least fretful that he wouldn’t qualify for heaven. Nice to see the Church making itself useful.

  39. madeleine

    There was a Dutch literary magazine, Zwart Water, named after the Joyce Carol Oates book Black Water, which describes in 32 chapters the two hours between the accident and the death of (a thinly disguised) Kopechne. The magazine was not explicitly feminist, but dedicated to the ‘unique, individual voice’, and published mostly women. I still mourn its passing after only six numbers.

  40. delphyne

    I think he drove the car into the water deliberately and left her there to die. He’d probably raped her first. Maybe he punched her in the face so she was unconscious. That’s what everything pointed to.

    She didn’t even get an autopsy.

    He didn’t cover his tracks, he just made sure that a dead woman wasn’t going to tell any tales about him.

  41. Bruce

    Re: Kennedy, it’s entirely possible that he is not guilty of a criminal offense, but that’s what criminal trials are for, right?

  42. Jill

    Well, that’s just crazy talk, Bruce. Like women are actually likely to get justice in a dudely justice system! Haw, what a howler.

  43. katrina

    In defence of Daisy Deadhead, I’m pretty sure she was referring to the bloggers who normally use the phrases “white privilege” and “male privilege” a lot but suddenly came over all New York Times and wrote pious-sounding eulogies for Kennedy, only alluding to Mary Jo Kopechne as a tragedy or a setback or a stain on his reputation. There were quite a few of them. I don’t think she was referring to bloggers who didn’t write about either Kennedy or Kopechne.

  44. ginmar

    Christ, middle class fucking feminists. I’ve seen plenty of women talk about Mary Jo, but I guess pointing out repeatedly that it’s not a fucking BLACK AND WHITE GODDAMNED ISSUE

  45. ginmar

    That’s what I get for getting this goddamned pissed off. Christ on a pony, I thought you all middle classers were fucked up when you had that precious, precious discussion about whether or not it was ethical to hire women to do your cleaning because you were too scared or whatever to talk to your Nigels. Thanks for the systerhood, oh middle class, uh…well, what are you?

    I hate to be the bearer of news from the class wars, but this is not a black and white issue. Do people really give a shit about Mary Jo? Hell no. The only people going on about her are people on the Reichwing side of the fucking aisle. If the guy who’d driven the car was some fine, God-fearin’ white man, they’d have said the bitch got what she deserved, temptin’ a fine God-fearin’ man like that.

    Meanwhile, of course, plenty of feminists—even the ones who get on my last fuckin’ nerve, like spinster aunts who airily talk about how they’re giving up meat to retire to their horse farm—were talking about how to balance Mary Jo Kopechne’s loss and Ted Kennedy’s life, and how it left one with a queasy stew in one’s stomach, heart and brain. But no! Lo and behold, we’re just not good enough for you all. Scatter back to your bistros and vegan food and hired help. Me, the hired help, will just go back to my place and I STILL WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS SHIT.

    Life is not black and white. Christ on a pony already.

  46. Jill

    Since I am so firmly ensconced on your last fuckin nerve, Ginmar, you may consider yourself formally relieved of your obligation to comment on my blog.

  47. DaisyDeadhead

    Thanks for the link, Jill. In fairness, my “as if she never existed indeed” was in agreement with one of my commenters, who was quoting Robert Duvall in GODFATHER II–who was also speaking to a politician about a young woman’s death that he may or may not have been responsible for. (Interestingly, the movie leaves it as an open question, rather as Chappaquiddick is a mystery also.)

    “You call yourself a feminist? Shame on you for not writing about blahblahblah.”

    I didn’t say this.

    Katrina: In defence of Daisy Deadhead, I’m pretty sure she was referring to the bloggers who normally use the phrases “white privilege” and “male privilege” a lot but suddenly came over all New York Times and wrote pious-sounding eulogies for Kennedy, only alluding to Mary Jo Kopechne as a tragedy or a setback or a stain on his reputation. There were quite a few of them. I don’t think she was referring to bloggers who didn’t write about either Kennedy or Kopechne.

    Thanks, yes. ALAS, A BLOG (to name one example) did a lengthy, even detailed obit and account of Kennedy’s life, and didn’t even mention Kopechne, even as a footnote. When I mentioned her (as pheenobarbidoll and Pilgrim Soul have similarly pointed out) I was told this was “not the right time”… and it was this phenomenon that I was referring to.

  48. Jill

    DaisyDeadhead: “You call yourself a feminist? Shame on you for not writing about blahblahblah.”

    I didn’t say this.

    True, and although I did not actually attribute this statement to you, in re-reading my post I can see how my inadequacies as a writer suggest otherwise. Apologies.

  49. Isabel

    “yttik
    September 5, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Kennedy didn’t just accidentally kill a woman in a drunk driving crash. He drove into a creek, escaped the car, left her there to drown, went back to the party, eventually went to bed, and only reported the accident the next day at the urging of his friends.

    Yes, I really can’t get past this. It wasn’t just the accident. He left her to die – it was sociopathic. Right? Correct me if there is another way to interpret leaving someone to die, who is possibly still alive, who could possibly be rescued.
    Many bloggers do seem to have missed that distinction.

    The weird thing is – how was he planning to cover it up? His car was missing, people knew they had left together…But anyway, the bloggers acting like it wqs some youthful indiscretion (that could have happened to anyone) was disturbing to say the least…but it’s not exactly news either.

  50. Agasaya

    http://www.examiner.com/x-22218-Conspiracy-Examiner~y2009m8d30-Truth-of-what-really-happened-at-Chappaquiddick-dies-with-Senator-Ted-ennedy

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/What-happened-in-Chappaquiddick-55078657.html

    Two brief summaries with basic facts. Apparently there were others who should have been prosecuted for not reporting this to authorities and nothing happened to them.

    As someone who is grateful for Kennedy’s accomplishments while in office, the second article says it best – the tragic death of the living, breathing woman who became nothing more than a black mark on a man’s official record – likely spurred him on to actually concentrate on his job instead of his royal status and a future presidential run.

    Those who object to our insistence that Kopechne remain a visible part of record, need to realize why Kennedy wasn’t a saint for doing his job. In a world where the negligent homicide of a woman would require the just prosecution of the perpetrator, along with any/all accomplices, we wouldn’t have needed a Kennedy to author ‘just’ legislation. The kind of government which required all people to be treated justly, earn a decent wage etc., would already have existed.

    So we’d better remember. And get more politicos to do the right thing without guilty consciences guiding them.

  51. speedbudget

    Isabel: He didn’t need to worry about a cover up. See, she was dead. Once she’s dead, she can’t say anything. So you wait quietly, bide your time, don’t get your personal hands dirty, let her die on her own.

    Then you let your parents take care of it.

  52. delphyne

    Why do people still believe he was covering up an accident?

    As far as I can see there’s only one reason to walk away from a drowning woman and that’s because what she would tell people if she survived would do you far more damage than seemingly having accidentally killed her.

  53. with_wings

    Reality check–she died in a car accident. Saved himself, didn’t save her, didn’t call anyone. Was he an asshole? Absolutely. Was it criminal? Possibly. Was it homicide? Not even close.

    “had she not been sacrificed”

    “Sacrificed”? Seriously?

    “She’s but one of millions of women whose invitation to life’s rich pageant turned out to be bogus.”

    This sounds too overwrought to be written by you, Twisty. She died in a car accident.

    He’s the world’s biggest jerk for not calling for help. He f–ked up and a woman died. He spent much of his life as a public servant doing good works, in part to atone for being a stupid, negligent, indulgent shit whose actions got a woman killed. He also did alot of good for women and girls. He was human, he was a jerk and a good guy and he’s dead.

    This isn’t Greek mythology.

  54. Hedgepig

    I don’t want to sound overwrought or anything (I mean, we’re only talking about a woman’s wrongful death here, so, you know, calm down ladies), but if someone’s “actions got a woman killed”, isn’t that at least close to homicide?

  55. Jezebella

    It seems the term “negligent homicide” is accurate here, with_wings. You get drunk, you drive, you get in a wreck, someone dies: negligent homicide. It’s not Greek mythology, it’s the law.

  56. delphyne

    Reality check – Kennedy got to tell the story of what happened that night. He was lying. There’s no good reason to believe him. His actions contradict his explanations.

    Since when did men murdering women and getting away with it only happen in Greek mythology? It’s happened today probably somewhere in the world.

  57. Tahia

    Not very new here, but never had the courage to comment, please bear… Also, I’m not a native English speaker, so if you’d bear even more, that would be svelte!

    I never heard about Mary Jo Kopechne before, which should say a fuckin’ lot, as this should be relevant outside the US, too, of course.

    But I just read the Wiki-article on her, to find out (I know, there is better resources, but this one is so easy, yeah, I admit, I’m lazy), and, to my point; there is no mention of an autopsy. How can this be? She left without telling her friends and without taking her purse and keyes, then is found dead, and noone is even interested in finding out whether she even died in the car? From the water? Was raped? Sounds relevant to me.

    In conclusion, Jill, I adore you. If I may say.

  58. Jill

    In conclusion, Jill, I adore you. If I may say.

    You may indeed say.

  59. Sage

    First and Foremost, I just stumbled onto this blog, and I LOVE it..it really brightens my (disabled by CFIDS) days…and makes me feel like a human, instead of a malingerer/mentally ill/shiftless/parasite on the Great American system. That said; I really enjoyed your piece on Ted Kennedy and the all but forgotten Mary Jo Kopechne.
    There is a really good, really objective, book on this very subject, that anyone who seriously wants to know what happened would get a lot out of; it’s titled “The Bridge at Chappaquiddick” by Jack Olsen, who I’ll take a risk and say is a very good, and not woman hating author, of some of the best True Crime non-fiction. The book is readily available for, like $1.00 at abebooks.com, and other sites…as no one really wants to know.
    and this URL will take you to a concise summary of it.
    http://www.jackolsen.com/chappaquiddick.htm. I’ve loaned it many times, and those who read it, often men, have been amazed. Again…this is a great Blog, I feel better than I have in weeks!

  60. Isa

    God. I don’t think someone being dead should stop people from discussing the shitty, horrible things they may have done. It doesn’t grant you immunity from all criticism.

    Sad thing is I’d not heard about this until around the time of president Obama’s inauguration… I’d heard about Kennedy’s achievements etc. etc. etc. but I had never heard about Ms. Kopechne until my mum told me (her words: something along the line of, “He is an asshole and left a woman to die when he could have saved her”). It’s terrible and honestly disturbing that this kind of thing could be so easily glossed over.

    But hey… it’s only a lady amirite?

    /headdesk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>