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greg parker
greg parker
Posts : 6242
Join date : 2009-08-21
Age : 61
Location : Orange, NSW, Australia

Samuel Taylor Coleridge Would be So Proud Empty Samuel Taylor Coleridge Would be So Proud

on Fri 10 Feb 2012, 11:09 pm
Coleridge championed the formula for getting readers to "suspend disbelief". The formula was not complex. Mix one part human interest, one part anything that might be - or could be true - with many parts "fantastic and non-realistic elements" and rely heavily on the ignorance (or sheer laziness) of the press and public.

Mimi Alford and Random House have pulled off the formula to perfection. I mean, they could not have spread the affliction quicker if it had been a rogue escaped virus from a CIA lab.

Barbara Gamarekian started it all by mentioning Mimi during her oral history interview.


1. BG never referred to her as an intern.

2. BJ never claimed any personal knowledge of the kind of relationship that existed between JFK and Mimi. She explicitly states in fact that, "I don't know what the relationship was... most of these stories were told to me all second hand..."

Yet here is how Robert Dallek wrote it up after obtaining permission from Gamarekian to access those parts of her interview dealing with Mimi:

Kennedy's womanizing had, of course, always been a form of amusement, but it also now gave him a release from unprecedented daily tensions. Kennedy had affairs with several women including Pamela Turnure, Jackie's press secretary; Mary Pinchot Meyer, Ben Bradlee's sister-in-law; two White House secretaries playfully dubbed Fiddle and Faddle; Judith Campbell Exner, whose connections to mob figures like Sam Giancana made her the object of FBI scrutiny; and a "tall, slender, beautiful" college sophomore and White House Intern, who worked in the press office during two summers (she "had no skills" a member of the press staff recalled. "She couldn't type.")

How many errors of fact can one historian make in one paragraph?

In order...

Exner's story has been discredited.

The "two White House secretaries" were NOT playfully dubbed Fiddle and Faddle by Kennedy as Dallek seems to imply. They too, gave an interview for the Kennedy library (on March 16, 1965). Priscilla Wear had the nickname "Fiddle" prior to starting at the White House. Jill Cowan was given the nickname "Faddle" by other staff due to her closeness to "Fiddle".

Nowhere does BG describe Mimi as "tall, slender, beautiful" in fact, at one point, she refers to her as "the little girl who had been left back in the United States"... when all those non-attractive, non-victims of Kennedy went to Ireland with him.

Nowhere does BG describe Mimi as an "intern" and as I discuss in my blog, BG was so upset by this error, she wrote to the New York Times to complain because she felt Dallek was drawing on the publicity surrounding Monica Lewinski.

"She had no skills. She couldn't type" is indeed a direct quote from the Oral History. But it's taken out of context. She was the editor of her school paper - so she had some background for work in a press office. And it did not matter if she couldn't type. There was nothing to type on. BG, does go on to say that she was a bright girl who could answer phones and take messages and later suggests that was what was needed because the phones "were insane".

Clearly Dallek has gone beyond his evidence in claiming it as fact that Mimi had an affair with JFK. It was all based on his reading between the lines of someone hinting at what she had heard by way of rumor. And when Mimi was tracked down, she went along with it - she says now because they had found out her secret.

But of course, they hadn't. They were chasing rumors and speculation.

The only evidence is Mimi's own word.

From Robert Morrow at the Ed Forum:
Remember, MiMi Alford was besieged and sought by the media in 2003. She was not the one seeking attention or pushing a book. They found her story first from others, NOT MiMi.

As above. "They" found NOTHING. The original source never spelled out any sexual side to the relationship and admitted most of what she was saying was "second hand". Dallek took it upon himself to write this non-confirming scuttlebutt up as hard core fact. He is forever discredited for that.

MiMi says about her experience in 2003:

"I turned down all the media requests. I thanked my well-wishers for their kindness. I ignored the critics, concluding that there was no way to reason with people who thought I was intentionally trampling on JFK's memory or who thought I was making it all up. I reminded myself that it wasn't my idea to go public; going public had been forced upon me."

Not true. Whether or not she had had an affair with JFK, no one was claiming first hand knowledge of it. No one KNEW anything apart from Dallek's misrepresentations of Gamarekian's interview. Given the complete dearth of evidence, all she had to do was deny it , or say "no comment". Going public WAS HER DECISION. There WERE alternative choices.

(pp. 8-9, Once Upon a Secret)

See also:

Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
              Lachie Hulme            
The Cold War ran on bullshit.

"So what’s an independent-minded populist like me to do? I’ve had to grovel in promoting myself on social media, even begging for Amazon reviews and Goodreads ratings, to no avail." 
Don Jeffries
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