Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 13 2011 @ 11:42am


Eliza Gray exposes Vanity Fair's obsession with the Kennedys:

According to my count, roughly one-third of the issues of Vanity Fair since 2003 have contained at least one article about a Kennedy, written by a Kennedy, or mentioning a Kennedy at least seven times. …

Since Michelle Obama became first lady, Jackie has merited more attention—20 mentions to Michelle’s 19. Since August 2008, when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, searching for “Kennedy” in VF in Nexis yields twice as many results as searching for “Palin.” The “politics” section of VanityFair.com has a header for “The Kennedys”—an entire digital section devoted to political figures who are, save a few, no longer alive. Surely readers looking for political coverage would rather find, oh, say, a tab marked, “Presidential election 2012”?

These stories seem to me to fall into the VF category of old-style aristocratic voyeurism. There's always some kind of tedious piece about some partying toff from the past, complete with sepia photos and the details of various estates and shindigs. The Kennedys push that button (I assume the pieces are primarily aimed at Ladies Who Lunch and those who aspire to be them) and add sex, adultery, young death and power to the mix. It's almost as if they were always trying to reach the g-spot of those who really would love to have a more rigid American class system. Like, er, Graydon Carter.

(Photo by Flickr user hackett)