With the situation with Syria becoming so convoluted it causes a headache, we spend much of Monday in search of some other story of less significance to provide distraction. The secret diary of Robert Kennedy Jr., which has somehow fallen into the hands of the New York Post, seemed just the thing.
A scintillating combination of the words “secret diary” and the Kennedy name promises plenty of prurient interest, after all, and the family’s enduring political clout provides a respectable pretense for reading it. There’s also an intriguing mystery about how the diary made its way to New York’s politically incorrect newspaper, and why it would take such an interest in one of the Kennedy clan’s more politically inconsequential members, but mostly we were wanting to read what fans of the steamier sort of fiction call “the good parts.”
Alas, this particular Kennedy’s recollections are disappointing in this regard. His diary confesses a considerable number of marital infidelities, as family tradition dictates, but they are told with such dispassionate accounting that provides all the titillation of a corporate balance sheet. Thirty-seven women are named in the diary, an impressive total considering that the diary covers only a year in the diarist’s life, but few details are provided except for some undisclosed first names, the vague facts that one of the women is a doctor and another is married to a famous actor, and a numerical rating of each woman based on the degree of intimacy that was achieved. Sixteen of the women were given a score of ten, which is a respectable batting average even in the Kennedy league, but The Post reveals nothing of interest about the trysts except for the names of the celebrities who were present at the swank social gathering where the affairs began. The fact that Kennedy’s wife ultimately committed suicide as the result of her unhappiness with the marriage also takes some fun out of the vicarious womanizing, and even Kennedy was so troubled by what The Post calls “Catholic guilt” that he recorded every unsuccessful attempt at seduction a “victory.”
In the absence of the usual swinging Kennedy naughtiness, much of The Post’s attention has been paid to the political dirt-dishing. In his presumed privacy Kennedy admitted to some unfavorable opinions of a few leading Democratic lights and was especially disparaging of the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, which reassures that despite his craven public obeisance to these charlatans he is not so stupid as to believe a word of it, and even New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, which is a sound judgment but also makes us wonder about how stupid he must be to write such sacrilege even in his most private writings. There is no indication from The Post’s reporting that Kennedy ever went so far as to blaspheme President Barack Obama, but slights against a Cuomo will suffice for tabloid controversy.
Despite the lack of pornographic appeal, Kennedy’s purloined diaries proved a sufficient diversion from the day’s events. We hope that whatever poor soul has been charged with writing and endlessly re-writing today’s planned presidential address on the rapidly changing events regard Syria wasn’t too beguiled by the revelations to keep his mind on the job.
— Bud Norman