Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mr. Dunne and Senator Kennedy:

I'm about a million and a half emails and phone calls behind because, as I continue to heal, I've been writing increasingly and, also, seeing sundry individuals in person, which is always nice. As such, I have to hop in the shower and be at a graduation party soon, but it feels strange not mentioning this week's concurrent passings of Dominick Dunne and Senator Ted Kennedy.

Regarding Mr. Dunne, I have a few of his books I bought used years ago and haven't gotten to yet, but I read his Vanity Fair column since its inception and it was often the first piece I turned to when my issue arrived in the mail. He was a damned fine writer and if his work often focused on those whose faucets were 24 carat gold and had caviar served in between tennis sets by a phalanx of servants in starched uniforms who bore names like "Nigel" and "Clive", well, that was his world and you write what you know. I admired his unceasing work as a victim advocate in the wake of the horrific murder of his daughter and, too, that he was able to get (and stay) sober and reinvent himself as a scribe in his fifties. He will be missed.

As for Senator Kennedy, my feelings are a bit more complicated. Unquestionably, he was on the correct side of nearly every major legislative issue of his time and he often lead the charge, particularly regarding health care and civil rights for all Americans and, of course, his early and vociferous support of Barack Obama was hugely advantageous to the latter's campaign. For all of this, I am deeply grateful as a citizen. However, and not to speak ill of one while his family is in mourning, if I were a Kopeckne, I can't say I would have shed a tear this week. Ultimately, in fairness, the line I keep returning to was spoken off the record by a Kennedy colleague years ago in a piece about the senator's complicated and too often tragic personal life, "I wouldn't want Ted Kennedy's nightmares."

Travel safe, gentlemen.

No comments: