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TSE  September 2004

TSE September 2004

Subject:

Re: OT - Very proper Bostonians

From:

Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Wed, 8 Sep 2004 16:59:33 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

Finally got around to reading that.
Very interesting. The reticence as a Catholic is
not just a New England trait.

Cheers,
Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: Rickard A. Parker
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 2004-Sep-01 6:25 PM
Subject: OT - Very proper Bostonians

I'm labelling this post off topic (OT) because some (most) might
consider it political.

This description of John Kerry given in Time magazine (references
below) reminded me of Eliot:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kerry is an oddly elusive character for a national politician.  ...
Why does John Kerry require a near death experience to be an effective
politician? I have a theory.

Early last summer, Kerry told me off the record that his sister Diana
had been laid off from her job as a Boston public-school teacher
because of budget cuts. Kerry had recently staged a press conference
with the teacher of the year in South Carolina, who had also been laid
off, and I asked him whether he planned to hold a similar event with
Diana. "Oh, no," he said. "I wouldn't want to embarrass her."

Eventually Kerry did mention Diana's situation in some speeches but
only after his sister began to talk about it publicly. That confirmed
something I had long suspected: Kerry is a very proper Bostonian. His
apparent aloofness is actually an antique form of New England
propriety. His reluctance to wear his religious faith on his sleeve is
part of this ethos, as is his formal, hortatory Sunday-sermon speaking
style. A strong sense of honor comes with the territory, a discomfort
with swagger and braggadocio. ...

Kerry talks all the time about the lessons he learned in Vietnam but
rarely about what he did there. The story of how he saved Green Beret
Jim Rassmann from the Bay Hap River under fire in 1969 would never
have been told if Rassmann hadn't offered to tell it dramatically, on
the eve of the Iowa caucuses. ...

Military honor certainly accounts for some of Kerry's overactive sense
of propriety, though not all of it. "The reticence, or whatever, came
from both our parents but from my mother most of all," Kerry's younger
brother Cameron told me a few weeks ago. "She was vehement about civic
duty and personal correctness. Once, when I started talking about
winning a ski race, she said to me, 'Shrink it down' meaning my
head. That was one of her expressions.  John was more of a rebellious
adolescent than I was. He had some real knock-down, drag-outs with our
father. But he never rebelled against what Mom taught us."

Actually, Kerry didn't rebel all that much against his father either.
Richard Kerry was a career foreign-service officer who saw public
service as a priestly calling. He was vehement in his beliefs, a
foreign policy realist who disliked U.S. attempts to remake the world
(and disagreed with his son's decision to go to Vietnam). Family
discussions around the dinner table were dead serious and high-minded;
irony doesn't seem to be a Kerry family specialty. At an early age,
John had to act like a member of the Council on Foreign Relations to
get his father's attention and perhaps his affection. That may have
caused some rebellious moments, but young Kerry never renounced the
foreign policy priesthood. He is, to this day, very much a diplomatic
traditionalist.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Excerpts from the cover story for the Aug. 2, 2004 issue of Time
magazine:

    Inside The Mind Of John Kerry
    By Joe Klein

Time's online edition of the article is now something that has to be
paid for.  It can be accessed via:

http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101040802-672573,00.ht
ml

But another (free) copy can be found at:

http://www.talkabouttelevision.com/group/alt.tv.er/messages/319301.html

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