Category Archives: The View

Things stuck in my craw

As far back as I can remember I had an affinity for John F Kennedy. He was president when I was born. I was sitting in a high chair when my parents heard he had died, tragically. Later, in 7th grade, I made a shrinky-dink pendant with his face on it (I also made a Roosevelt one for my mom and a Wilson one for my Grandma).

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A few weeks ago Barbara Walters and the ladies of The View interviewed Mimi Alford, author of Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath. Ms Alford was a 19 year-old White House intern in 1962 when she was seduced by President Kennedy. Barbara Walters chided Ms Alford for coming out with her story, worried about the effect it could have on Caroline Kennedy, the President’s only living child (I say “child,” but obviously she’s now grown). Barbara also chided Ms Alford for making money off her book and from her experience with a public figure.

What Barbara Walters failed to remember before deciding to figuratively wag her finger is that in her own 2008 autobiography (which presumably she wanted to profit from) she revealed her own affair with the married Senator Edward Brook (R-MA).

I wonder how much thought Barbara gave to her story’s effects on the Senator and his family.

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Ms Alford reveals in her book that not only did she have an 18-month affair with JFK (reportedly beginning on her 4th day on the job, in Jacqueline Kennedy’s bedroom), but also that Kennedy once asked her to fellate a White House staffer while they were all in the White House swimming pool.

It was a dare, but I knew exactly what he meant. This was a challenge to give Dave Powers oral sex. I don’t think the President thought I’d do it, but I’m ashamed to say that I did. It was a pathetic, sordid scene, and is very hard for me to think about today. Dave was jolly and obedient as I stood in the shallow end of the pool and performed my duties. The President silently watched.

This part bothers me even more than the affair/cheating part, or even JFK using his considerable power to take Alford’s virginity. Does it bother you, as well?

I had to figure out why this stuck in my craw.

And this is what I’ve come up with: In the pool episode, the President’s actions became not just about sex, a universal human drive (no, I’m not excusing President Clinton or Governor Schwarzenegger or Tiger Woods or Ashton Kutcher or…) but about power. About authority. About Kennedy’s absolute misuse of power and authority.

I began to think in terms of a power imbalance. Is this a fair comparison, in terms of the gap between the former and the latter in each case?

a 17 year-old student   and   her 45 year-old male teacher

versus

a 19 year-old intern   and   The President of the United States

One could argue that despite the fact that the 19 year-old is of adult age, she would be even more overpowered by THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES than a 17 year-old would be by a teacher. Yet we call the first a sexual predator annnnnnnd…….we revere the second.

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What if such a book had come out about Nixon or Ford or Carter or one of the Bushes? They all seem too bumbly or boring for such salacious buzz. But if it had, what would the public’s reaction be? Would a legacy be tarnished?

None of them (knock wood) have had the reputation-polishing fortune of serious misfortune. When someone has been victimized (read: murdered), perhaps we forgive them foibles we otherwise might not.

What do you think explains the fact that JFK’s reputation has not been marred — his good looks, his horrific death, his beloved family, the time that has passed, or something else? Are you bothered by the book’s allegations? Does it change what you think of Kennedy and his presidency?

Flow (as in Aunt) comes to The View

This is my swan song, my last missive as brand ambassador for The View. I shall hang up my tiara and blue sash until the next time duty calls.

Check out the guests and topics for the coming days: a bodily function, a former governor, Captain Fantastic, a dancing celebrity.

This week on The View

  • Tuesday: Elissa Stein and Susan Kim talk with the ladies about their book, Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation. Call me a nerd, but I think this sounds fascinating.

  • Wednesday: Forest Whitaker tells about Our Family Wedding and Jessie Venture talks about American Conspiracies.
  • Thursday: Sir Elton John joins in on Hot Topics.
  • Friday: Kate Gosselin. Who’s caring for her children? That woman is as overexposed as a Polaroid picture of the south pole.

Don’t forget to vote in the Limerick Chick contest! Voting ends Tuesday morning for Flight 2, and opens later that day for Flight 3.

Disclosure: I am a participant in a MomCentral campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items to facilitate my review.

Week 3 of my ambassadorship

…and STILL I haven’t attended any state dinners!

I’m in the 3rd of my 4-week gig as Brand Ambassador for ABC’s The View. My duties are to give you a sneak peek at this week’s topics, and to get feedback about the show to the producers.

Thanks to all who shared their thoughts on the subject of infertility, which was covered last week. The episode, which featured Bill and Giuliana Rancic, as well as “normal” people, can be seen here.

Coming up this week

  • Tuesday: Robert Pattinson (Twilight saga) talks about his new and non-fanged film. Mitt Romney also appears — no word on if he bites.
  • Wednesday: The best of “View Tube.” Also, Lisa Kudrow of Who Do You Think You Are?, a new series that traces the ancestry of a celebrity, documentary-style.
  • Thursday: Valerie Bertinelli co-hosts; former Oscar-nominee Abigail Breslin guests.
  • Friday: The “Road to the Oscars” welcome Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes. “Fashion Friday” examines the most memorable Oscar hits and misses. There will be opinions on who and what the winners will be.

Still collecting topic and guest suggestions. Do you have a request or two? Leave a comment.

And don’t forget to enter the Limerick Chick contest! Tonight’s the deadline, and voting begins tomorrow.

Disclosure: I am a participant in a MomCentral campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items to facilitate my review.