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Kennedy curse

The so-called Kennedy curse is a media creation. The FK clan is no more cursed than any African family destroyed by slavery or any Jewish family destroyed by the holocaust. The media would have us believe that the FK clan has suffered a disproportionate amount of harm. Their harm is certainly disproportionately public, but that is because the clan is rich and famous, not because they are cursed. Their harm has been disproportionately influential because some members of the clan have been extremely influential.

In their attempt to bolster the myth of the Kennedy curse, the media have included self-caused harms as "tragedies." Getting drunk and leaving a girl to drown is a tragedy for the girl's family, not the FK clan. Dying in a plane crash when you shouldn't be flying a plane, date rape, reckless behavior on a ski slope, having an affair with your babysitter, being arrested for possession of heroin, and dying of a drug overdose are not tragedies.* The womanizing, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, working for Joe McCarthy, and involving the United States militarily in Vietnam were chosen behaviors. If there is a curse here it is the curse of too much money, power, and leisure time combined with a disposition for risk taking.

If one considers the size of the FK clan, their wealth, their extraordinary achievements, and their propensity for taking risks, then their misfortunes do not seem disproportionate. The media would have us believe, however, that if a member of this clan dies in war, gets cancer or has a mental disorder, it's because they're cursed. If they are cursed, then so are the millions of others who suffer the same fate.

If anyone in the family was cursed, it was Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy who lived to be 104.


further reading

The Kennedys: A family cursed? from the BBC June, 2002

Last updated 19-Dec-2013

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