Magazine article Insight on the News

A Tarnished Camelot in the Age of Walmart

Magazine article Insight on the News

A Tarnished Camelot in the Age of Walmart

Article excerpt

The giggle of girls, gorgeously chic in their understated dresses, crowded the doorway to wait for the arrival of the dreamboat.

Kevin Costner walked through.

They drew back, disappointment written on their faces.

"It's not him!" they cried. "It's not him."

It certainly looked like him to me, but these young women were waiting for John F. Kennedy Jr. to make his entrance at the party thrown by George, his slick magazine for political slicksters. The party was the hottest ticket at the Democratic National Convention.

Of course, that was before the most eligible bachelor on the planet married Carolyn Bessette at a small Baptist chapel on Cumberland Island Gal, leaving women all over the country bereft of their fantasy heartthrob. Married men, no matter how rich and famous, don't have the same allure.

So why are we so fascinated to know every detail about the bride and groom who've become the new generation's Camelot couple? Neither John nor Carolyn seem anything like Jack or Jackie.

John has none of the political substance of his father -- George is a flashy magazine about people and personalities, political entertainment rather than political ideas. The son is handsome like his father and appears to be a charmer, but we can't imagine hearing him appeal to our better natures by telling us to ask not what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country.

Nor can we understand how he could put Drew Barrymore on the cover of George, posing as Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday" to the old man. JFK Jr. was only a baby back then, but surely he knows how the rumors of his father's crush on Marilyn hurt his mother and continues to haunt his family. Why on earth flaunt that?

Bessette, unlike Jackie, was not exactly to the manor born. She has cultivated class, which is to class as artificial grass is to grass -- much like the "class" of Calvin Klein, the fashion designer for whom she was a publicist. For someone who knew how to keep her friends quiet and her wedding a secret, how did it slip that she spent $40,000 for her wedding dress? Flaunting price tags is tacky.

Democracies have trouble finding men and women who are authentically glamorous. …

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