Letters

"Your article was a shallow paean to fame, wealth and celebrity." Readers weigh in on the colorful Heinz-Kerry family.


Salon Staff
February 7, 2004 4:04AM (UTC)

[Read "Is America Ready for the Wild Kerry Family?" by Rebecca Traister.]

Of course the right wing will try to demonize Teresa Heinz Kerry's wealth, despite the fact that she's one of this country's -- nay, the world's -- great philanthropists. Given the Rove spin, the GOP will probably try to turn her into a raving pinko commie, money be damned. When the right can twist Judith Dean's devotion to her patients and her child into something close to un-American, we know how it will go for this rich and outspoken woman.

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What I like about Ms. Heinz Kerry is that I suspect she'll spit in their collective eye. I've liked her ever since I read that some Dems were upset that while speaking at a Kerry event, she neglected to mention her husband's candidacy, and instead talked about women's issues. Good for her. She's got my vote for First Woman.

-- Patsi Bale Cox

John Kerry's stepson lives in the same building as P. Diddy? Ooohweee, can I vote for him twice?

-- Anonymous

Let's get this straight -- Kerry Heinz is a wealthy patrician, and acts accordingly. Chris is a wealthy, handsome banker who has dated celebrities. Andre -- well, you don't tell us what he does, but he's a comic. John IV is a reclusive blacksmith Buddhist who (gasp!) runs a school for wayward kids. Alexandra is a filmmaker who does not like to talk to people like Rebecca Traister, and Vanessa is a med student. Given these facts, you feel free to describe the entire family as a "bunch of loons."

Please note that, unlike members of some other political families, none of the Kerrys appear to have killed anyone, destroyed a savings and loan, gotten drunk on camera and told the Israelis to kiss his ass, and so on. You nonetheless chose not only to publish this reprehensible meld of "The Corner" and "Us Weekly"; you chose it as an "Editor's Pick."

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Please let us know if you intend to continue in this vein, so we know it is no longer worth our while to visit your site. In the meantime, I look forward to "The Democratic Candidates' Wives: Which One Is Wearing a Thong?"

-- Stephen Alexander Loeb

Yes, yes, yes!

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I love the wild Kerry family! I would gladly vote for John Kerry. Of course, anybody but Bush, and all that. But especially I would love the Kerry family in the White House. How American!

-- Toni Michael

This is exactly why so many of us find Howard and Judy Dean so refreshing. We are tired of the made-up, superficial images of the so-called beautiful people who are Democrats in name only and are really part of the same "elite" establishment as their Republican counterparts. John Kerry will not take us in a different direction. We will only inch toward real reform as long as the centrist Democratic Leadership Council anoints an acceptable candidate. We know what this current right-wing administration wants, but do we know where Kerry wants to take us?

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-- Gerald R. Lotierzo

This may be the best and funniest piece Salon has ever printed.

-- Chris Madison

Oh, what a difference. Your lusty admiration for the Kerrys is barely contained. Takes about $600 million, some flashiness, celebrity and you're on board with a Republican who changed parties so she can be first wife. Compare this glowing piece with the catty, mean-spirited article about Judy Dean -- that reclusive, silly woman who doesn't seek the publicity or do Botox, and is serious about (gasp) helping people.

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I suggest you put your articles, the one about Judy Dean and this one about Kerry, side by side and compare them and gain some insight into the values of Salon and unfortunately the values of American society. You're obviously enamoured with the buzz and celebrity flash, and so put off by a real humanitarian.

-- Jeanne Doyle

I adore Salon and almost always love everything in it.

But both my husband and I thought the Kerry family story this morning was herd-following, dehumanizing, shallow drivel. It was also sadly representative of today's journalistic culture -- an almost perfect parody of modern political infotainment "reporting."

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I so pity the family members of politicians. This story says so much more about the writer and the media culture that encourages her than it ever will about the Kerry family. Rehashed lazy media memes dressed up in People magazine only demeans the writer, not the subjects.

-- Jill Cerino

John Kerry's stepson may live in the same building as P. Diddy? I certainly hope Salon will bring to bear its considerable resources in fully investigating this vital question. I, for one, will be answering primary pollsters with a firm "undecided" until it is resolved.

-- Grant Henson

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The best part of Teresa Heinz Kerry's statement that she didn't "give a shit" whether anyone used Heinz, Kerry or a hyphenate as her surname was her qualification of the expletive: "Swearing is a good way to relieve tension." Marvelous woman, and one I hope will soon be our first lady.

-- Christian Gulliksen

Paris Hilton for president!

Perhaps I am foolish to think that politics should be about, hmmm, a candidate's track record. Or his stance on pressing issues facing the nation. Or anything except his celebutante status.

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Shame on Salon. A feature article such as this -- a shallow paean to fame, wealth and celebrity -- makes the Web site indistinguishable from other vanguards of quality journalism ... namely Fox News.

-- Celeste Pietrusza

John Kerry's wife gives me the willies. A first lady, while in an unofficial position, must be a diplomat. She has to be able to treat the king of Spain and the prime minister of Argentina fairly and graciously. Money does not make a lady.

A woman who "doesn't give a shit," interrupts speeches, gets bored during meetings, and likes to stir up trouble is not what I'd call diplomatic material. She's obviously never learned the basics of manners that most middle-class mothers taught their children: listen respectfully, pay attention to others, watch one's mouth.

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And of course, she in no way represents average American women. Balance rent against groceries? Never. Juggle the carpool, day care, and a career? Perish the thought.

In many ways, she reflects the worst things about Kerry that separate him from those of us on the ground -- privilege, position, wealth, connections. Neither of them have experience in the real world. And honestly, Vietnam ended 30 years ago. That's not enough to run on, and Kerry's wife just might be the tipping point for a lot of us. She's a loose cannon.

Trust her to be diplomatic? I wouldn't trust her to load the dishwasher.

-- C. S. Edwards


Salon Staff

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