Sep 12, 2011

by English Muse

While she maintained a quiet and demure public image, the first lady had very strong opinions about some of the people she met while her husband was president. Hearing her views for the first time, as part of a newly released series of taped interviews she gave to historian and Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in 1964, shows that Mrs. Kennedy could land quite a punch in her white kid gloves.

Here are some of her comments in the tapes, as reported first in the New York Times:

On women: “I think women should never be in politics. We’re just not suited to it…”

On Martin Luther King: “I just can’t see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man’s terrible….[John F. Kennedy] told me of a tape that the FBI had of Martin Luther King when he was here for the freedom march. And he said this with no bitterness or anything, how he was calling up all these girls and arranging for a party of men and women, I mean, sort of an orgy in the hotel, and everything.”

On Lady Bird Johnson: “She was sort of like a trained hunting dog.”

On Indira Gandhi, the future prime minister of India: “She is a real prune – bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman.”

On Charles DeGaulle, French general and president: “That egomaniac.”

About Nikita S. Khrushchev’s daughter-in-law: “She looked like some Wehrmacht blonde who ran a concentration camp.”

On JFK’s view of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “He often thought he was rather a – charlatan is an unfair word – you know what I mean – a bit of a poseur, rather cleverly.  You know, that he did an awful lot for effect …”

”Her comments here seem so striking because of the many paper-doll versions of her we’ve played with for so long,” wrote the New Yorker’s Amy Davison in blog post today. “How many people have been the object of so much fetishization, of so many kinds—fashion, political, tabloid?”

So it turns out Jackie was a trash talker. Does it really matter?


This entry was posted on Monday, September 12th, 2011 at 11:26 pm. It is filed under It Girls & Icons. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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20 Responses to “Jackie Kennedy Talked Trash?”

  1. alicia says:

    Is it weird that I find her more endearing for these b- comments?

  2. Clever and cunning and cutting.
    Was it her intention to be cruel?
    Doubtful. But, at least we know now, she had a voice.

  3. Linda Starr says:

    If only a woman was president, a woman like her.

  4. Tina says:

    That’s true! At least we would know exactly what she thought of people…

  5. Ceri says:

    Wow. Ouch. I love hearing things like this though. Everyone back then and before had such a clean cut image – When you hear all the stories about how they all talked smack, swore like sailors and did the dirty with every Tom, Dick & Harry, it does make them all the more likeable and ‘human.’

  6. Emma says:

    Oh wow, it certainly wasn’t in keeping with her Chanel suit wearing, conservative persona 😉

    She was either very perceptive or a bit negative … a little from column a and column b I suppose, she was flawed like all of us and that does make her more relatable.

    I have to say it does make her even more intriguing than ever, and they were certainly interesting times.

  7. G says:

    I feel that Marilyn Monroe could have had better arguments..

  8. I actually kind of like that she’s real…sort of like us all!

  9. Vanessa says:

    Not really sure why everyone is so surprised that she was a bit of an elitist. She didn’t exactly come from the most down-to-earth background…

  10. Hannah says:

    Oh, this doesn’t really surprise me, honestly. We’ve all got really strong opinions. (I do, anyway). Just many of us don’t choose to express them openly, at least not often. It’s always the quiet ones who are thinking the most. I’m quiet. I’d know. 🙂

  11. sécia says:

    Love this post. I’m glad Jackie talked trash.

    ♥ sécia

  12. Carolina says:

    Hmmm. I personally don’t think it matters in the sense many people have been talking about on the web. The people that idolized her and viewed her as this ideal specimen of womanhood.

    I think reading these quotes makes her memory more human/realistic. Is she someone I would want to be close friends with because of it, probably not because I would be concerned as to what she says behind my back – I don’t care what her social status or wardrobe was. But it’s refreshing to see how someone so iconic is still just human like the rest of us. I’m curious as to how she felt about being considered so iconic.

  13. Karen in CT says:

    .. matters not at all .. WE LOVE TRASH TALK, especially by Jackie … love your blog … catching up

  14. Rita says:

    I’ve always thought I would probably like Jackie, but was never quite sure what to think of her, makes me respect her, actually. Not because of the trash talk so much but because she said what she honestly felt, not popular opinion.

  15. Luli says:

    No, I guess it doesn’t matter. But this quote, it just kills me:

    On women: “I think women should never be in politics. We’re just not suited to it…”

    Because as it turns out, women rock in politics. In fact, we need more women in politics to represent us and stand up for us. I’m so over the “old white men” who rule this country.

  16. missy says:

    Those don’t really sound like strong opinions on anything of substance. Her comments just sound kind of bitter. So I guess it does matter. I hadn’t really formed an opinion about her before, but judging by those statements, she sounds like she was a close-minded elitist.

  17. Nikki says:

    Jackie Kennedy was raised in a different era than mot of us, and she did everything a good wife did in those days — Including the social duties demanded of the wife of a very important man. She, no doubt, met a great many people who rubbed her the wrong way, yet her grace and class would not have allowed her to ever let negativity show. People must also remember that she was a pre-Vatican II Catholic, and as such, divorce was not an option, this is why she seemed to ignored her husband’s extra-curricular activities. I believe she handled her circumstances with grace and dignity, and strength. I admire her greatly —

  18. Faraja Tina says:

    It’s funny how she’s commenting about Martin Luther King Jr having lots of women yet she doesn’t say anything about her own husband and his affairs.

  19. holly anne says:

    hell no it doesn’t matter! no shame in jackie’s game 😉 plus everyone talks trash, EVERYONE.

  20. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing for your feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!

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