Digging Up the Dead

They say dead men tell no tales. It's a pity, because that means they can't respond to some pretty tall tales either.

Take John F. Kennedy, Jr. (search). He's dead, but he's alive and well in the press again thanks to Edward Klein's much talked about book, The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years.

Klein talks of Kennedy's troubled marriage, about his strung-out wife Carolyn Bessette, about how she used drugs, even used him, and how they both fought, constantly fought.

I don't know what's new here, or news anywhere. What's on the up-and-up, or just made up.

But I do know this. Carolyn is dead. JFK, Jr. is dead. And they can't speak for themselves.

They can't defend their marriage, or each other.

They can't shield themselves from un-quoted sources, or nameless friends.

They can't respond to charges that they were on the brink of divorce, or that one or both was cheating on the other.

They're not free to respond, because they're not alive to respond. But I wish they could, because they're both getting a rough ride.

It amazes me that some of the most salacious stuff we can dig up on people is when we'd have to dig them up to get them to respond. It's not right, it's not fair and it's not even human.

It's one thing to have looked into his father's sexual transgressions. There, I guess you could argue risky dalliances created risky possibilities. But even there, it's a stretch. And even now, it's a stench. It smells of being one-sided and mean, petty and voyeuristic.

I'm not saying you shouldn't say it, but it's better when they can reply to it. They can't and they never will, because, they're dead.

What's more, JFK, Jr. and his wife were celebrities, not heads of state. Camelot had died long before them. But nearly four years after their deaths, we still haunt them. Why? They didn't move markets, or governments. Nor did they want to. They wanted to live their lives and now they have no lives at all.

I'm far from an apologist for Camelot, but there's nothing to be gained from tearing someone down. Especially when that someone is dead and can't respond.

I don't know what went on in John and Carolyn's marriage and I don't care. It wasn't my business when they were alive and could talk about it. It isn't my business now that they're dead and can't talk about it.

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