Mystique and JFK

• Inside the Kennedy Mystique by Chris Matthews (Smithsonian Collector's Edition~ Summer 2013) •

• Inside the Kennedy Mystique by Chris Matthews (Smithsonian Collector’s Edition~ Summer 2013) •

Today I picked up JFK: The Ultimate Guide. The magazine is the newest Smithsonian Collector’s Edition (Summer 2013) and features 14 articles about John F. Kennedy. It was kind of expensive, but it will be a good one to save in my personal collection.

Tonight I read the introduction by Chris Matthews of MSNBC and NBC. This piece is titled “Inside the Kennedy Mystique.” I like JFK as an icon/symbol of several things, but I didn’t know that “Kennedy was a dead-serious student of history.” Really?!? At age 14 he read about WWI in The World Crisis by Winston Churchill. At age 14? I have to say that the Matthews piece alone has already made me like JFK even more. I can’t wait to read the rest of the magazine. I will write about each article I like after I read them over the next few weeks.

In the Matthew’s introduction, I learned that JFK’s father believed that his son was too shy to have a successful political career. As it turned out, “the politician would prove to be charming beyond both expectation and belief…” and that “charm made him almost irresistibly attractive to men as well as to women. It also helped him keep people at a distance.” Sounds true, and I may have known that already? Who knew an introvert could be so charming?

I have read about JFK over the last few years, but I never knew that he was very sick as a child? I was surprised to learn that he kept his medical conditions and pain secret in order to serve in the Navy during WWII. He also stayed quiet about this through his political career and while he was President of the United States of America. Kennedy had scarlet fever when he was a boy, he thought he had leukemia when he was a teenager, he had Addison’s disease and his back was very bad. The Catholic Church administered the Last Rites to JFK four times! Wow… Something I didn’t know? Matthews says that “as president, he took a half-dozen shots of painkillers a day simply to function.” He often used crutches, tried not to pick up his children, and had to be lifted into Air Force One with a forklift. Really?

I guess any politician must surround him or herself with intellectuals in order to be successful. It takes so many different kinds of people and perspectives to insure an accomplished career, in turn leaving a solid legacy. The other thing that stood out to me in the Matthew’s introduction was that JFK called his political speech writer, Ted Sorensen his “intellectual blood bank.” I absolutely love that term of endearment!

Anyhow~ I look forward to reading the other articles featured in the Smithsonian publication. I’m sure I will learn other interesting things that I didn’t know about my most favorite intriguing man. He is indeed a historical icon enveloped by mystique.

Explore posts in the same categories: Articles, Edification, History, Legends, Men, Military, Mind Melt, Politics, Publications, Reflection, Symbols and Imagery, World War I, World War II, Worthy Reads, Writers, Writing

3 Comments on “Mystique and JFK”

  1. Seb Says:

    To be fair, the last of those four times he had the last rites read was in a hospital in downtown Dallas…

  2. Seb Says:

    as in once was when he actually died, there fore the fact that he had last rites read three times was extraordinary, the fourth time was the one time one would have expected them to have been read.


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