With the deaths of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Michael Jackson, the summer of ‘09 marked the merciful ends to Camelot and Neverland, iconic American fairy tales whose story lines should have come to merciful ends long ago when their charismatic protagonists took dark and irredeemable turns.
Our country was not built to support blood dynasties or to elevate the rich and famous to a higher ethical or constitutional plain. But through the power of celebrity, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jackson worked the media to twist truths. They manipulated their constituencies and fans to obscure their misdeeds. They played the faithful to confer this manufactured innocence on the rest of us. And, in the end, they placed themselves above the law.
My condolences go to the Kennedy and Jackson families, who should not be stained by the sins of their kin. But there is no time like the present to ensure that those masterfully produced, over-the-top, all-star televised funerals don’t serve to canonize talented and charismatic men who failed to own up to their public wrongs and who continued to flaunt the behaviors that got them into trouble.
Given that President Obama’s flailing medical care reform movement is in the process of being given new life under the fallen senator’s name, our national health now depends on talking honestly. As Mr. Kennedy’s political defenders would put it, it’s time to speak truth to power.
Forty years have passed since Chappaquiddick. Immediately after the accident, Mr. Kennedy scrambled to organize the best and brightest to save his career, rather than to save the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne.
Before the facts were gathered, as her family was being prepped for a cash payoff, the Massachusetts voter - in “shock” and “denial,” the beginning phases of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s grief cycle - was asked by the senator in a carefully constructed televised speech to look away from his misdeed in the name of his family’s recent tragedies.
In a time of grief, the young senator framed his future as a referendum on Camelot. And the media didn’t call him on it. The fix was in.
The result was Mr. Kennedy needn’t do more than show up for work to atone for his calculated selfishness. Without apology or contrition, Mr. Kennedy crafted a public career in which he spent taxpayers’ money - certainly not his own - to make up for his unspeakable behavior.
As long as he toed the liberal line, this trust-fund Robin Hood was protected by the liberal masses and the mainstream media. Hollywood did its job by not putting his story on the big screen.
Doing to the reputations of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork what he did to Miss Kopechne only reinforced his value to the Democrat Media Complex as the memory of his brothers’ more authentic Camelot began to fade.
A blogger at the Huffington Post went so far as to argue the liberal Miss Kopechne herself would have accepted her death on utilitarian grounds. “Who knows - maybe she’d feel it was worth it,” Melissa Lafsky wrote.
No reading of Mr. Jackson’s relationship with young boys seems kosher. Perhaps he didn’t molest Jordie Chandler, but paying him eight figures to go away certainly should have put an end to the Peter Pan routine. Mr. Jackson was a singer and a dancer but his best instrument was playing the media. As long as he kept up the “We Are the World” routine - noblesse oblige to a beat - the media looked the other way.
In the language of the Democrat Media Complex, speaking ill of Mr. Jackson was racist. Speaking ill of Mr. Kennedy was ideological. Both were protected. Their foes were ignored or castigated.
By playing the media’s institutional biases, both Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jackson rose above the law.
While Mr. Jackson spent most of his time self-medicating and collecting children and expensive stuff, the untouchable Mr. Kennedy continued his destructive habits while giving his Massachusetts constituency and American liberalism a bounty of legislative accomplishments.
The supporters of Mr. Kennedy, and to a lesser degree Mr. Jackson, elevate and promote “social justice” and “economic justice” as the highest human goals. Upon the deaths of Mr. Jackson and Mr. Kennedy, the media continue to erase their ugly backgrounds hoping their eternal celebrity can serve these collective ideals.
But the rubes - those of us skeptical of moral relativism, media manipulation and the cult of celebrity - prefer “justice justice.”
Only when the “elite” among us begin to see things like us - and not in the unrealistic fairy tales crafted by our liberal betters - will Americans begin to live happily ever after.
• Andrew Breitbart is publisher of the news portals Breitbart.com and Breitbart.tv. His latest endeavor, Big Hollywood (https://bighollywood. breitbart.com), is a group blog on Hollywood and politics from the center-right perspective.