Teddy and Jack
Ted and Jack
I've never been a big Kennedy fan. Here in the Boston area, the Kennedy's are like royalty. And like royalty, the public seems to be split into lovers and haters. I've never been either, but if pushed, I'd usually be in the more critical camp.
Last year, though, my wife had the opportunity to interview Teddy at his home in Hyannisport. She's one of the few journalists I've seen who has managed to get him to reveal himself as a real human being instead of the caricature that we're usually presented with (Often by yours truly).
He went through his home with her, showing old photos of the family, telling stories about when he was a kid walking on the beach with his mother, and most interestingly to me, about the small artistic rivalry he had with his brother Jack. At one point he stopped in front of a painting Jack had done when he was young (not bad) and explained that Jack was the better painter of the two, but Ted explained that he always tried to keep up. He seemed choked up. It was a rare moment of vulnerability and he kind of won me over. I've been looking at him as, well, more human since then.
My wife later recounted her story at a family gathering that was full of, let's just say, not Kennedy fans. She felt honored to have been able to sit in a historic home and speak frankly with a true historical figure, and get paid for it. Instead of saying "Wow, what a great experience", there were lots of "I hate that guy" type comments. It got me thinking about how in politics, we easily dehumanize the other side so that it's easier to ignore their point of view.
This piece took a lot of twists and turns. I'm still not sure if I'm done or if it will take another turn, but here it is. I'm also showing a Ted Kennedy that I did about 10 years ago. It shows the evolution I've made in a number of ways. Not bettter, but different.