Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2004 / 21 Shevat, 5764
John & Carolyn, redux; Zell Miller shows the flag; kill Quentin?; more
NEW YORK Last summer's titillating beach read, "The Kennedy Curse" Edward Klein's hatchet job on the late John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy enraged family members and friends with its lurid portrayal of a cocaine-addicted, hysterical Carolyn and an irresponsible, philandering John.
They were allegedly headed for divorce when their private plane crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in July 1999.
But a still-unreleased book about the third-generation Kennedy males obtained exclusively by this column three months before publication offers an authoritative and nuanced view of the late couple's marriage.
Yes, Carolyn occasionally used coke, as did many of her colleagues in the fashion world and she wasn't addicted, writes Laurence Leamer in "Sons of Camelot: The Fate of an American Dynasty."
And John wasn't sleeping with other women when he moved out of their Tribeca loft and into the Stanhope Hotel three days before his death. Instead, he was trying to delay an exhausting emotional scene with his wife so that he could focus on saving his financially imperiled George magazine.
Leamer, who enjoyed unprecedented access to family members and Kennedy intimates for his 619-page book, writes that John "had both a troubled marriage and a blessed marriage. . . . The gossips whispered that the couple weren't even having sex any longer; that was the most unknowing cut of all, since no matter how their fights began, they ended in only one way."
According to Leamer, at the start of the marriage in 1996, Carolyn was so spooked by the paparazzi she once spent two weeks as a prisoner in their apartment. She "faced a formidable, threatening presence in Caroline, her new sister-in-law," Leamer writes, "hardly one to be overly sympathetic to a pouting, self-pitying Carolyn."
Joe and his siblings "had bitter feelings toward John" after the latter wrote in his magazine that Joe and Michael Kennedy in the midst of an ugly divorce and a sex scandal, respectively were "poster boys for bad behavior."
As for John, "he liked Joe the least, considering him vulgar and overwrought."
John also blamed his fatherless upbringing on his inability to stand up to David Pecker, then CEO of Hachette, which bankrolled George. Pecker had exploited John's celebrity for the benefit of other Hachette mags, not George.
"As he looked back on it, he realized how badly he had been used," Leamer writes, noting that John had complained to his friend David Kuhn.
"How'd you let that happen?" Kuhn asked.
"Pecker is smart and cunning," John replied. "But you know what I've come to realize? I have a problem with male authority figures."
ZELL MILLER SHOWS THE FLAG
Just when you thought it was safe to live without thinking any further about the Super Bowl halftime show, Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., put it back on the front burner Wednesday.
While the Senate Commerce Committee summoned Viacom's Mel Karmazin so that members could harangue him about CBS's seamy show, the cantankerous Miller taped his own review in the Senate recording studio.
"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car," he said. "I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America.
"The thing that yanked my chain the hardest was seeing this ignoramus with his pointed head stuck up through the hole he had cut in the flag of the United States of America, yelling about having 'a bottle of scotch and watching lots of crotch.' That did it for me.
"This is the same flag we pledge allegiance to, the same flag that is draped over the coffins of dead young uniformed warriors killed while protecting Kid Crock's bony butt. He should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of this country on a rail. Now there's you a good reality show."
Neither Kid Rock nor his representatives not even Pamela Anderson had any comment Wednesday.
KILL QUENTIN?: I'm told that "Kill Bill" director Quentin Tarantino will put on his acting shoes this Sunday to appear on ABC's "Alias" opposite "Kill Bill" star Vivica A. Fox. Tarantino will play villainous former agent McKenas Cole while Fox will portray a rogue security system designer. "Kill Bill Vol. 2," meanwhile, opens April 16.
HAIRY RIDDLE SOLVED!: What do Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Paris Hilton have in common? Hint: It's not that they've all danced on tabletops while wearing no underwear. For the definitive answer, I phoned Belgian-born stylist Cristophe Schatteman at his Beverly Hills salon Wednesday. "Hmmm. I know all these people, but that's about it," Cristophe ventured tentatively, sounding a tad baffled. Exactly right. The two Clintons and Kerry get their coiffures styled at Cristophe's Washington salon and Hilton, in her just-released book proposal, reveals that when on the Left Coast, she goes to Cristophe in Beverly Hills.
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