The Kennedy men – an unholy bunch

When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts.” Michael Ende.

   The gulf between the public image and private reality has rarely been wider than between the romanticized, progressive Camelot of the Kennedy men and their sordid reality.  A new book Ask Not: The Kennedys and the Women They Destroyed by Maureen Callahan is described as “a lacerating exposé” of the clan.

  The details are wince making. Father Joseph kept his wife, Rose, permanently pregnant while he took up with movie stars such as Gloria Swanson – whom he raped without bothering to introduce himself at their first meeting – and Marlene Dietrich. In 1938, Joe hailed Hitler’s new world order and  admired Nazi eugenics, which he applied to his daughter Rosemary, deeming her a “defective product” and having her lobotomized with anaesthetic, which left her “functionally a two-year-old”. His wife was not consulted.

  JFK’s conduct mimicked the tom-catting of his father  and shared Marilyn Monroe with his brother Bobby, his attorney general. The promiscuous Kennedy men had scant liking for women; and practised what Callahan calls “technical sex”, short-fused but excitingly risky. The same sense of existential danger elated JFK’s son John, who loved to show off his genitalia after showering at the gym. Callahan argues that for John Jr “dying was a high”, an orgasmic thrill that he insisted on sharing with a female partner.“ She deemed the plane crash with him behind the controls, in which he, his wife and sister-in-law died, was a murder-suicide.

  Ted Kennedy’s mishap at Chappaquiddick which left Mary Jo Kopechne, upside down for hours in a dwindling pocket of air before drowning in an overturned car is also a target. He inexplicably wandered off to cope with the pr.  

  Robert Kennedy Jr of the worm-eaten brain, a potential candidate for this year’s presidency, seems cut from the same cloth. According to Callahan the second of his three wives, in despair after reading a diary in which he tabulated his adulterous flings and awarded them points for performance, killed herself in 2012.

  Joseph Kennedy, 6 September 1888, Boston, MA, regrettably no definite birth time, was a New Moon in Virgo with Mercury Venus also in Virgo and Mars Jupiter in Scorpio. Virgo oddly enough in the male of the species can be a player sexually – and the same Virgo and Scorpio or 8th house mix descended down the generations.

 JFK, 29 May 1917 3pm Brookline, Massachusetts, had a Virgo Moon and a heavily 8th house chart with a Gemini Sun as well as Jupiter, Mercury and Mars in earthy Taurus there. And a thrill-seeking Uranus in the romantic 5th which was on the focal point of a yod inconjunct Moon sextile Midheaven.

Robert Kennedy, 20 November 1925 3.11pm Brookline, MA, had a 7th house Scorpio Sun and Saturn with Mars in Scorpio also on his Descendant and Neptune in his romantic 5th trine an 8th house Mercury.

 Edward Kennedy, 22 February 1932 3.58 am Brookline, MA, had a Pisces Sun opposition an 8th house Moon Neptune in Virgo with Jupiter also in his 8th.

 Robert Kennedy Jnr, 17 January 1954 5.32 pm Washington, DC, shares his fathers Mars Saturn in Scorpio which falls in his domestic 4th alongside Neptune; with a Capricorn Sun Venus in a constantly-changing opposition to Uranus in his 12th. Emotional contentment was never going to be his lot.

  John F Kennedy Jnr, 25 November 1960 12.22am Washington, DC, also had a highly-strung Uranus in his 12th opposition his Aquarius Moon; with Pluto also in his 12th square his Sagittarius Sun. He also had a can-be-self-destructive Mars opposition his 5th house Saturn Venus in Capricorn so Callahan may well be right about his attraction for death-defying experiences.

  Rose, the matriarch of the clan, may have been badly done by but was no softie with her Mars opposition an 8th house Pluto Neptune square Venus Saturn in Virgo.

  My fascination is not so much the recurring patterns down the generations – though partly that – but how such a Hollywood mythic fantasy was woven round such a dysfunctional bunch. Which says as much about the public’s need for a comforting illusion as it does for those in power, desperate to sell their snake oil. Lies didn’t start with Trump.

21 thoughts on “The Kennedy men – an unholy bunch

  1. John F. Kennedy Jr. seemed so nice in pics, gregarious, fun, smiling, maybe a little tortured or sad in a few of them, so it is so depressing to read all this about him.

    • El Aznar- I assume that there is evidence that he bullied them. Solid and concrete. Otherwise, it’s not right. On a different post, someone referenced an article that stated the plane took off at night due to CBK wanting a manicure and another article claimed night flying occurred due to CBK wanting to purchase drugs last minute.
      But since this book was published, maybe there were eyewitness accounts of the bullying at the airport hangar or maybe via what was heard over at the control tower. I won’t be buying the book.

  2. It says a lot about national psyches – in this case, American, but it could also be said of the British and the French – that despite clamoring for freedom and democracy, they retain an yearning for ‘royalty’. At least the Brits are up front about it. The French have a love-hate relationship with authority (a conglomeration of God-Father-President-King), and Americans can’t help but refer to anyone at the top of their game as royalty (esp in entertainment, athletes and actors); they were ready to latch onto the myth of Camelot, just as the current far-right eagerly refers to Trump as both their King and Savior. It is therefore easy for those who seek power to attain it by presenting themselves as what the people wants.

    Regarding JFK Jr – ‘murder-suicide’ – it’s hard to believe Callahan’s assertion that this was some sort of conscious desire. Instead, it’s easy to think that he had a need for thrills, (in a life that was materially easy but emotionally difficult), and the hubris that he could overcome anything, including bad flying conditions. Meanwhile both his wife and sister-in-law were drawn to his status and were quite willing participants. (“how cool to fly our own plane over to Martha’s Vineyard”)

  3. There other book about the Kennedys from the time they arrived in the USA. Check your local library because I read the title so long ago. Prejudice against Irish Catholics in Boston motivated Joe’s father. They literally clawed their way up.

  4. Hmm While im sure there is a level of truth i’m somewhat skeptical especially since it was written by highly partisan Maureen Callahan who specializes in right wing shock reporting and is just another extension of Rupert Murdoch.

  5. Review comments from two US papers who point to Callahan’s partisan approach and some uncorroborated theories but on the whole the evidence is fairly incontrovertible.
    “A stinging portrait of just how badly the Kennedy men treated women: Maureen Callahan’s “Ask Not” delivers damning details about the exploits of three generations of the storied family.”

    “A Horror Story Starring the Monstrous Men of Camelot
    Maureen Callahan’s lurid “Ask Not” paints the Kennedys as mad, bad and dangerous for women to know.”
    “Decades of reportage have left us with a grim roll call. Mary Jo Kopechne, slowly suffocating beneath three feet of Chappaquiddick black water. Pamela Kelley, thrown from a Jeep and paralyzed for life while the driver, a Kennedy, walked away with a $100 fine.
    Not to mention the family’s own women: Joan Kennedy, cycling in and out of D.U.I. arrests and rehab; Mary Richardson Kennedy, the second wife of a current presidential candidate, hanging herself; Rosemary, the loveliest of the Kennedy daughters, muted and infantilized by a family-authorized lobotomy.”

  6. ‘Lies didn’t start with Trump.’

    Thanks Marjorie, very interesting.
    My first thought was that the lies started with Hollywood mainly. This need/hunger to sell the make up believe. I was reading a piece I came across yesterday about the 7 real facts about the Wild Wild West which apparently quite a distance away from the portrayal by Hollywood of cowboys, gunslingers and the towns. The only thing which was consistent but still not in the way portrayed was the persecution of the Indians. Hollywood – the biggest propaganda machine ever created and has mesmerized/hypnotized us all to some degree if not completely.

  7. If her role as editor and writer with the new york post is anything to go by, I would suspect this to be just another sensationalized. right wing hit job.

    • Most of this was widely known by the 80s certainly in both the UK and Australia
      especially JFKs drug use and womanising his treatment of Jackie and involvement with Marilyns death.

      Also Rose and Rosemarys treatment and of course Chappaquiddick.
      My father talked about Joe Kennedy nazi links in the 70s when I was a child and
      that they were frauds. Not everything is a right or left wing conspiracy, but what is surprising to me is the number of US commentaters here that seem to think it is in 2024

      • Joe’s Nazi links were well known and widely discussed long ago, as was the misbehavior of many of the Kennedy men, especially Ted. The car crash, alcoholism and sexual hijinks and Ted’s general personal irresponsibility derailed his quest for the presidency and almost ended his political career. What saved him was his second marriage to Victoria Reggie, as I recall. He also was a gifted legislator.

  8. Interesting this book is out now to some fanfare. I’m close to 70 and the Kennedy who ha was all the rage when I was a young adult. The Tea was Spilled. I’m not sure why these old and known behaviors of this once ‘American Royal Family’ would be of any interest to the author’s target audience.

    Maybe it’s to throw dirt on RFK, Jr?

    • Hello Lisa. I agree. MC talks about CBK with both of her parents and another sister still living, as well as JFK Jr. having extended family still alive. How can MC prove that JFK Jr. bullied the ladies onto the plane? I guess she spoke to people who witnessed all
      of that on the ground beforehand. ?? And she writes about scalp burns in relation to CBK’s hair dying as though that was her husband’s fault. That’s strange to me. That would be down to the colorist and CBK. My colonists always insist upon patch tests beforehand. Maybe the book and the timing is a way to paint (most) Dems as bad? MC has recently excoriated Dr. Jill Biden, even denigrating her PhD credentials.

  9. Joe Kennedy spent the last 10 years of his life wheel chair bound due to a massive stroke. I think he was still in there, but locked in.

    He made his money during the Prohibition by running Rum in the Boston Harbor. I know this as the man that lived downstairs from me in Charlestown, Ma, told me. His grandfather used to run Rum for Joe. The guy who told me was a Townie. Charlestown is the most Irish neighborhood in Boston.

    There was an older son, who was a pilot who died in WW2. He took a risky mission. He was the original heir apparent for president. Then it fell on John after the death. There was also a daughter – Kathryn? they called her Kick and she married William Cavendish, the Marquess of Hartington. She died in a plane crash as well.

    The Kennedy men behaved very badly. I read the guardian article and I did not know any of this. I did read a very long article in Vanity Fair about the current Kennedy running for President, and it was eye opening. Apparently he was a Heroin addict for 14 years. He was not very nice to his second wife.

    Erin Sullivan has written a book on Family Dynamics, I cannot remember the title, and she traces the Kennedy pattern through generations in the book, and talks about the Kennedy family curse in it.

    Appreciate your post Marjorie.

  10. Despite my knowing about JFK’s serious flaws, I admired him, especially when I was in my teens. His sun is exactly opposite mine (as was my grandmother’s ). But, MC’s speculation about the plane crash involving the trio seems inappropriate. I would think it’s lawsuit material and hurtful to his living sister. Not surprised MC is provocative as she is a writer for the Daily Mail (or Daily Fail, as many call it).

  11. Thanks Marjorie, looks like a fascinating book, and equally fascinating astrology. I am also very interested in family patterns and how they crop up via the astrology, alongside our genetic inheritances.
    What you write about ‘Hollywood mythic fantasy’ is very thought provoking, and seems to permeate so much history, including European and UK stories.

    Re American presidents – it’s worth considering President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) himself. He had a long, semi-secret relationship with a mixed-race slave, Sally Hemings, which produced six children. It began when Sally was around 16, and he was a widower in his forties. He never openly acknowledged these children, but ‘gave’ them their freedom in his will. DNA tests in the late 90’s have shown they were his. Furthermore,

    “Sally Hemings and Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, were half-sisters. As previously stated, miscegenation was not at all uncommon in colonial America, and Martha Jefferson’s father, John Wayles, had an affair with one of his slaves named Elizabeth Hemings. The result of their union was six quarter-African children, including Sally Hemings (Elizabeth herself was half-African) that Martha Jefferson inherited in 1773 when her father died.”

      • Indeed they were, long before Prince Philip let the TV cameras into their lives. Saw on the news that Buckingham Palace balcony room is now open briefly to the public – with a ticket of course. Balcony apparently Prince Albert’s idea, pretty much PR for the Family. He thought it would be good for the public to be able to see them gathering on the balcony. Another family with interesting family patterns.

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