07 août 2008

First Lady...


I do not really have much admiration for celebrities, whether they live nowadays or belong to History but I do have much esteem for very few ones. I once wrote about the French Queen Marie-Antoinette, which destiny was doomed when the French Revolution broke out, and left her without her head... Even if her life was less bloody but much more tormented, I would like to pay hommage to an American woman of French origins : Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, better known as Jackie Kennedy, the widower of the assassinated president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy... Even though she might have been one of the first celebrities to use the media cleverly, as a way to serve her own image and her husband's politics, she is the woman who brought elegance, charm, and what we could even say, a sort of glamorous touch to the American political landscape. For a couple of years, Hollywood was no longer in California : it was within the White House, with the image of a perfect family given by Jackie, her husband, and their two children... Among all, every respectable human being has, in his or her mind, the moment when Jackie and her unforgettable pink Chanel suit, were in Dallas, on November 22nd, 1963. It could have been a normal day, but on the contrary, she became the best witness of the murder of her husband, just under her very eyes, after the last shot literally exploded a large part of John Fitzgerald's head...


History could have only remembered this precise moment, but Jackie faced the event with a great behavior, and an extreme dignity few women would have found in themselves. She never showed publicly the immense pain she surely expressed when she was alone... In fact, she might have suffered for several years since her husband was being largely unfaithful. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was an insatiable man, always cheated on her wife with different mistresses. The FBI and the CIA even warned several times the American President about the multiple dangers he could face in having affairs with Marilyn Monroe, or Judith Campbell for example... But the general image of the couple was far different, so that she became even more popular than her own husband, and John Fitzgerald even declared "I'm the man who accompanied Jackie Kennedy to Paris" while visiting France in 1961. Nevertheless, Jackie did not seem to fight against the unfaithfulness of her husband and did never show any sign of jealousy in public. Except till few time she spent in the Mediterranean Sea, with Aristotle Onassis, which was to become her second husband... But the tragic Friday happened shortly after she came back home, and her life was forever changed.


Despite this event, Jackie was perceived before, and is still even seen today, as different from other women. In fact, she was much more cultured than the previous presidents and first ladies of the United States. She was faraway from the traditional image of the capitalist America. Since she had studied in Europe, more precisely at La Sorbonne University in Paris, and in Grenoble, before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature, Jackie did not talk about economy, profits, and benefits. She had taste and art sensibility when she had the White House restaured, redecorated, and refurbished, after she had been dismayed to find very little historic significance while visiting it... Nothing could actually predict that she would have had to face very unfortunate events, such as the death of two of her children, the assassination of her husband and his brother, the death of her second husband, and hopefully for her, Jackie would never know that her only son was going to die in a crash plane in 1999. Yet, her image gave everyone the impression of a fairy tale life, but suddenly, the fairy tale turned into a kind of nightmare she had to carry on with her for the rest of her great life...