Friday, 4 September 2009

Once they're dead, they've done no wrong...

I direct you to this.

I will admit that until a few days ago I was unaware of the Mary Jo Kopechne scandal. BB, who's knowledgeable about politics and whatnot, filled me in on the details whilst complaining about the coverage Ted Kennedy's death was getting. As I know very little about politics, especially of the American variety, I was interested to hear about this.

Here are a few details from Wikipedia - "On July 18, 1969, Kopechne attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island.

"Kopechne reportedly left the party at 11:15 p.m. with... Ted Kennedy, after he — according to his own account — offered to drive her to catch the last ferry back to Edgartown, where she was staying. She did not tell her close friends at the party that she was leaving and she left her purse and keys behind.

"Kennedy drove the 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 off a narrow, unlit bridge without guardrails that was not on the route to Edgartown. It landed in Poucha Pond and overturned in the water. Kennedy extricated himself from the vehicle and survived, but Kopechne remained in the vehicle and was found dead.

"Kennedy failed to report the incident to the authorities until the car and Kopechne's body were discovered the next morning."

What this fails to mention is that there was an airpocket in the car and Kopechne was still alive when Kennedy got out. Kopenchne did not die from the crash, she died from suffocation because the air ran out whilst Kennedy was refraining from calling the police. When he finally pleaded guilty he got a two month suspended sentence - doesn't seem much of a punishment considering he was directly responsible for her death. The article on Wikipedia goes on to recount how the scandal adversely effected Kennedy's political career, even though the title of the piece is 'Mary Jo Kopechne'. Anyone would think her death was only important in the context of how it affected Kennedy's life.

This is by no means the first willful forgetting of history when someone dies though. There have been two other recent examples of this. Michael Jackson, for instance, although that's the obvious one. Does nobody remember the child abuse allegations. Yes, yes, I know he was found 'not guilty', but does anyone remember them? Let's not forget that the animals at his 'Neverland Ranch' (I never thought I'd type those two words together) were left to die when he ran out of money - no-one much cares about that though. His album sales are up, on the news fans were saying ridiculous things like "today's the day that music died", and now there's the big who-hah on who provided the sperm for his children. This is all tantamount to saying "Yeah, he was a bit weird, but we can't speak ill of the dead".

The other case which really annoyed me, but seemingly no-one else, was the coverage of the death of Jade Goody. I agree very much with Michael Parkinson's views on the matter. She was "barely educated, ignorant and puerile", and she was exploited by the media. Her death was treated as if she was a person whom we should all mourn for, a great loss for the world at large. It's odd how at this time the whole racism thing was ignored. The very thing she was vilified for was nicely glossed over because she was dying. No longer was she 'racist Jade'. She was, and for all eternity now shall be, 'tragic Jade'. For goodness sake, she made no intellectual or positive contribution to the world, she was racist, and yet there are about a hundred groups on Facebook named things like 'We will miss you Jade' and 'RIP Jade', many groups of which have been joined by people I know! She symbolises everything in this country which celebrates mediocrity over greatness. She makes the weak feel good about their lives because she was "puerile" and 'loved' at the same time.

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