Remembering Dearest Jack: We'll join Salon's Gabriel Bell in recommending Anna Hunter Graham's memoir of a case of rolling sexual harassment and/or assault.
Hunter chronicles the way she was assaulted on the set of a TV film in 1985, when she was 17 years old and working as an intern.
Her piece appears in the Hollywood Reporter. She quotes from letters she sent her sister in real time, and shares her current-day thoughts about what happened back then, and about what she thought at the time.
We were especially moved by this passage. It made us think of JFK:
HUNTER (11/1/17): I have so many reactions reading these letters and looking at photos from that time. The novel Ironweed as a conversation starter! God bless that glorious, pretentious kid.We all might weep for that kid! Also, for the kid who became the adult Mimi Alford, who wrote a superb book in 2013 about her appalling mistreatment by President Kennedy when she was a 19-year-old White House intern.
Mostly though, my heart aches. It aches for the teenager who was so thrilled to join a movie star's party that she gave him a foot rub even though she didn't want to, even though she tried to protest she wasn't good at it. My heart aches for the awkward virgin with the bad hair who had only been kissed three times in her life, laughing as the man her father's age talked about breasts and sex. I want to weep that she found this charming.
Alford describes disgraceful behavior by Kennedy and by the procurers who served him. Like Hunter, she describes her sexual inexperience at the time she was assaulted by Kennedy, and she stresses the fact that she very much liked him.
According to Alford, she was young and completely inexperienced when she was procured for Kennedy. For us, the high quality of the book she wrote makes her story convincing.
Hunter writes an excellent memoir. With the dam temporarily broken, the flood of remarkable stories rolls on.
We Irish! We led the lynch mob against President Clinton in the wake of his deeply unwise but consensual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, who wasn't an intern and who wasn't 21. We then proceeded to lead the add-on lynch mob against Candidate Gore which rampaged for two years.
Matthews, Dowd, Kelly and so many more! The lynch mob with its throwback values was very much headed by Us! Also, of course, by Jack Welch, who was weirdly assembling an East Coast Irish Catholic news org at the time.
In this way, we sent George W. Bush to the White House. But even as we hunted Clinton and his chosen successor and his wife, we continued to shower praise on our Dearest Jack.
Alford's book hadn't been written yet. Quite a few other things had.
This conduct was human, none too human. Werewolves of the East Coast Irish Catholic press corps! Ah-oooooooooo!
(By the hard, fast rules of the guild, this still can't be discussed. Other stories are now being told. This one is still verboten.)