Sunday, 21 November 2010

Andrew Marr on Kennedy

I would not normally blog while annoyed by something, but for once here goes.

I have just watched Andrew Marr telling us how awful John Kennedy was in the way he campaigned and I'm struck by how often the programme seems to require lingering shots of Andrew Marr sailing, hanging about in scenic views, standing by impressive buildings and generally displaying his Andrew Marrness for all to see.

Does this make him more believable?

I am all agog to see whether he owns up to this cynical manipulation before the end of the programme.

I would have thought it was obvious that Kennedy exploited his personal charisma in a way that Nixon was unable to do. Does that make him bad or smart? Or is it bad to be smart if you are president of the USA? I fail to see how this is sensational, didn’t Hitler do the same thing? Wasn’t Churchill a bit that way inclined? OK so Churchill used the radio rather than the TV, but that was what was available.

Let me make clear that I am not objecting to Andrew Marr because he was rude about bloggers at the Cheltenham festival; and for the record, I am 65 and not writing from my mother's basement, in fact she does not have a basement, she has a house of her own and so do I.

As I write we see Andrew walking, Andrew going up in a glass lift, Andrew staring meaningfully into the middle distance accompanied by some nice jazz. Did they commission too long a show, so that we have to have these fillers or did he not have enough things of substance to say?

Another Kennedy crime is revealed, he faced up to issues and tackled them head on. Is Andrew seriously trying to get us to believe that is a bad thing?

Now we have Andrew eating chilli, in order to talk about race, was there no other photo shot anyone could think of?

Finally he manages to end by suggesting that it a bad idea to emphasise style over substance. Quite right Andrew, so why do you do it?


  1. Absolutely agree. We had to look away from the screen much of the time. Why so much self-aggrandisement for someone so un-telegenic?

  2. I agree, but I also found much historical sloppiness in Marr's approach. Relying on Patrick Buchanan for word on Kennedy's relations with African Americans (Buchanan said that Nixon understood blacks better than JFK) was appalling, especially when one listens to some of the recently released Nixon White House tapes where he (Nixon) says to Bob Haldeman that blacks are "inferior" to whites. Had Ted Sorensen lived long enough (he was interviewed by Marr in the episode), I can only imagine he would have called Marr on the misinterpretation of Kennedy's domestic agenda and of the record of JFK's term in office.

    With Marr's slipshod, agenda-driven historical revisionist viewpoint apparently well established, I can hardly wait for his revamping of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

  3. I think that same program was on just last night, I did see Patrick Buchanan being interviewed by Marr. Buchanan says Nixon was more advanced on race relationships than Kennedy because he was a Quaker. Marr has been on a long time Kennedy trasher. Makes me wonder why the right is so desperate to trash a dead man, or is it his ideas. I saw another Marr quote where he blames Kennedy for the cold war. Just keep telling the big lie Andrew :(

    "There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The 'negroes' of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours.", Pat Buchanan