• The New York Times Brings You to Obituary-Writing School


    Here's an interesting point about Ted Kennedy, his long life and his long career from his New York Times' obit….

    "He was a quintessential Kennedy, in the sense that he had all the warts as well as all the charisma and a lot of the strengths," said Norman J. Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute.

    "If his father, Joe, had surveyed, from an early age up to the time of his death, all of his children, his sons in particular, and asked to rank them on talents, effectiveness, likelihood to have an impact on the world, Ted would have been a very poor fourth. Joe, John, Bobby… Ted.

    "He was the survivor," Mr. Ornstein continued. "He was not a shining star that burned brightly and faded away. He had a long, steady glow."

    So, Ted Kennedy's greatest strength was his ability to not get himself killed in war or assassinated at an early age? Am I wrong, or is that the takeaway message from that quote?

    Now, I'm not a fancy New York Times obituary writer, but — to my crude non-obituary-writing ears — that seems like kind of shitty thing to say about a person who just died.

    But I guess that's why the New York Times never did hire me to write obituaries for them. (Though, I'm still holding out hope that my resume slipped between the desk and the wall.)


    Tags: Assassinations, Edward Kennedy, John Kennedy, New York Times, Robert Kennedy

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