President Kennedy, we're reminded by his biographers, understood the need for politicians to maintain their public dignity at all costs. When Hugh Sidey of Time playfully reported that Kennedy had posed with his family for the cover of Gentleman's Quarterly, "modelling a trimly tailored dark gray suit," Kennedy became apoplectic at the thought that he might be considered frivolous or effeminate for appearing in a flashy men's fashion magazine. " Anybody who read this would think I was crazy," he raged at Sidey, according to Richard Reeves.
On November 10 Bruce Springsteen fans began lining up outside record stores to buy the first copies of a boxed five-record set called "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live 1975-1985." Three days later President Reagan first acknowledged reports that his administration had sold weapons to the government of the AyatoUah Khomeini in Iran. If scandal and album are a cultural coincidence, so too are the careers of Reagan and Springsteen. Both have become cultural icons by giving the American people a reflection, a vision, of themselves.
Here it is, days after the exchange of vows, and I’m still groggy from having watched television’s coverage of the royal wedding. I thought the sun would never set on it. First there were all those preliminary “specials,” and then the day itself went on forever, a seeming eternity of coverage. From the dead of the night into the afternoon, the stalwarts of the news stayed on the job, really covering the whole occasion, like soot.
In the little town of Boone, Iowa, last month. Senator Edward Kennedy was asked one of the crucial questions of the 1980 campaign. The question was put by Mrs.
The Powers That Be by David Halberstam (Knopf; $15) David Halberstam. Halberstam, that was what everybody called him (after all, it was his name). They always said what Halberstam needed was a good editor, his sentences ran on and on, he piled phrase upon phrase and clause upon clause, he used commas the way other men used periods.
The networks tried to convey an understanding of what they were broadcasting. ABC called it a social occasion: "You get no sense of a political gathering here," cracked Harry Reasoner. Over at CBS, Walter Cronkite remarked: "The convention is in complete control of the Carter and Democratic National Committee forces and no fights are being permitted." The prevailing theme was persistent unrelieved harmony, the image of an absolutely unified gathering. Of the less fortunate, less harmonious past, there were only glimpses and allusions.