September 12th, 2017

Why was the movie “Chappaquiddick” made now?

It would seem an odd choice, wouldn’t it? A movie about one of the worst scandals in the life of liberal icon and the last Kennedy man of his generation standing, Ted Kennedy? Even now that Ted is gone, why would the liberals of Hollywood want to bring attention to his failings?

I’m assuming that the directors and producers and writers of the movie are mostly liberals, just because that’s a good bet. But I don’t know for sure, and a quick search didn’t turn up any information one way or the other. A recent interview with the director can be found here, and in it he says:

…“Chappaquiddick” director John Curran doesn’t promise his new film supplies any new resolutions to the accident. For it, Kennedy received a two months’ suspended sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing bodily injury.

“We never set out to blow the lid off and find the truth,” Curran said of the incident which harmed Kennedy’s presidential ambitions, if not his political career. “It was more presenting the evolving story as it was developed by Ted and people around him. It is a controversy whether or not he drowned or whether he suffocated.”

“We don’t know and there’s no evidence because there’s no autopsy to prove one way or the other and they didn’t exhume the body because the parents [of Mary Jo Kopechne] didn’t want to…if you talk to the diver, he has an opinion. If you read the medical exams, there’s a different opinion there.”

Curran added, “We had the facts that we have. The film probably offers more questions than it does answers, I guess.”

That appears to be true, from the review I’ve read of the movie. And if you refresh your memory on the story of Chappaquiddick, there’s a frustrating lack of facts—for instance, because Kennedy didn’t speak to authorities till the next day (something that’s caused no end of speculation), we don’t know how much he’d been drinking the night before.

I’ve not written about the Chappaquiddick incident on this blog before. There is too much that’s unknown, and anyway people tend to fill in the blanks as they wish depending on their previous opinion of Ted Kennedy. Liberals often minimize the incident; those on the right often call him a cold-blooded murderer. Personally, I think he was at the very least negligent and a sleazebag, and the evidence of the latter rests on a lot more than his behavior at Chappaquiddick. Ted Kennedy has long seemed to me to have been a youngest son in a large family marked by tragedy, who took on the family business—liberal politics—after the deaths (eldest son) and assassinations (next two) of his older brothers left the space vacant. He was also a well-known philanderer, and early on in life proved untrustworthy:

In his sophomore year at Harvard, Kennedy was expelled for cheating. In danger of failing a Spanish class, Kennedy paid a friend to take an exam for him. The student was recognized – and both were expelled. After a stint in the Army, Kennedy returned to Harvard, where he eventually received a degree.

That’s not just a panicky spur-of-the-moment glancing at the paper of someone next to you. That’s pre-planned, and involves the transfer of money. It’s also interesting that Harvard allowed him back. I wonder whether that would have happened if his name hadn’t been “Kennedy.”

In that article I linked earlier, the one with the interview with the movie’s director, there was also a statement by the actor who plays Ted in the movie. Unlike the director, he addresses politics (sort of, anyway):

Jason Clarke said he was drawn to the movie partly because of the enduring political legacy of the Kennedy political dynasty. “The further you went down the rabbit hole of the Kennedys, the further you went down the rabbit hole of 20th century and world history,” he said. “It was just endless. The profound effects of this to where we are now — Chappaquiddick, Watergate, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump if you want to say it.”

Jason Clarke (who’s Australian, by the way) is an actor, not a historian. But how on earth does he connect Watergate with Chappaquiddick as one of its “profound effects”? I don’t think Chappaquiddick had any “profound effects” except perhaps an increase in cynicism on the part of the American public.

The scandal of Chappaquiddick was not primarily one of sexual misbehavior (although there’s certainly been a ton of speculation on that aspect of it), it had to do with Kennedy’s degree of responsibility for Kopechne’s death. Bill Clinton was a philanderer like Kennedy, but Clinton wasn’t responsible for any deaths (unless you subscribe to what I consider to be absurdly far-fetched assertions about the death of Vince Foster).

As for Donald Trump—who slept around, and was crass about it—and the fact that he was able to become president despite his history of infidelity and general sleeping around, I see no connection at all, except for the principle that if a person is popular enough supporters will wink at things that wouldn’t be tolerated otherwise. It’s also true that the public’s tolerance for unfaithful sexual behavior in politicians (especially Democratic ones) has grown in the years since Chappaquiddick, but that’s been a general societal progression and IMHO has little or nothing to do with Ted Kennedy. In fact, Kennedy’s own road to the White House was ended by Chappaquiddick, although the people of Massachusetts continued to think him worthy of being elected their senator over and over and over.

This need to bring Donald Trump into the conversation seems to be a sort of compulsion among many Trump opponents, however, so Clarke’s statement about a link between Kennedy and Trump should come as no surprise. Also, the author of that Variety review of the movie that I linked earlier can’t seem to resist, either:

I don’t say any of this as a right-wing troll. But those are the facts, and they are facts that liberals, too often, have been willing to shove under the carpet. And they have paid the price. Ted Kennedy became known as “the Lion of the Senate,” and did a lot of good, but when you try to build a governing philosophy on top of lies, one way or another those lies will come back to haunt you. (Hello, Donald Trump! He’s an incompetent bully, but his middle name might be “Liberal Karma.”)

First the author feels obliged to let us know that he’s not one of those awful right-wingers. If I’m understanding the main point of the rest of that quote, once he’s gotten that all-important disclaimer out of the way he seems to be saying that the election of the incompetent bully Trump (although not so incompetent that he lost the election) is karmic repayment for the sins of Ted Kennedy.

Maybe that’s why the movie was made—to expiate those liberal sins and cancel the debt. It seems pretty preposterous to me.

But in another way, Trump actually might be payback for one particular thing Ted Kennedy did that had nothing whatsoever to do with Chappaquiddick or other aspects of his private life. I’m speaking of Kennedy’s championing of the 1965 act that revamped our immigration system and set the stage for everything that has followed in that arena.

Agree with the act or disagree with it, its passage changed our immigration policy greatly, and in that respect it probably did end up leading on a long and winding road to the election of Donald Trump.

29 Responses to “Why was the movie “Chappaquiddick” made now?”

  1. Bill Says:

    Why are they making this movie? Hollywood is motivated by money, just like most industries. Maybe they realize there’s a compelling story here. Kennedy died awhile ago, maybe it’s no longer “too soon”. Should have probably been made while he was alive, though, because he got away with negligent manslaughter.

    Everything doesn’t have to be political and the vast majority of people in our country, both who lean left and lean right, aren’t as engulfed in politics as we think.

  2. Cappy Says:

    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/fa/95/0f/fa950fbfb960dec2b512160d7f712b17.jpg

    Somebody had to post this.

    You’re welcome.

  3. Ray Says:

    Cappy,
    I remember that. I lived in Florida then and the Florida Conservative Union was posting ads showing a car going off a bridge with the caption, “all the way with Teddy K” if I remember correctly.

  4. Griffin Says:

    There is no quicker way to lose me as a viewer/reader than to make some bizarre parallel or connection to Trump on some totally unrelated topic.

    I guess it goes to the need of the left to politicize EVERYTHING which is really ruining our society. So tiring.

  5. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Humans are trash, what else is there to talk about.

    Unsurprisingly, the angels are not much better.

  6. blert Says:

    The Lieutenant that investigated the matter came to the conclusion that Kennedy NEVER left her to drown…

    By the time she made the fatal turn, Ed wasn’t even in the car.

    The two had swapped places, so that Ed could proceed on foot, and avoid an embarrassing DUI.

    His legal problem — the next morning — was horrific. For he’d just committed a felony.

    Getting her to swap places to avoid a DUI, all things considered was a felony. A flight to avoid prosecution, almost.

    When Ed was notified the next morning he was stupefied. It was only at this time that he learned that she’d died. His facial reactions at that moment were impossible to mistake.

    He then made intense and LONG long-distance phone calls to the Kennedy family fixer — who was way out of state. ( on vacation ) These calls were discovered by way of the phone records. Ed burned up the phone lines, BTW.

    Ed didn’t speak to anyone until the fixer figured out the least damaging storey to tell… namely that he’d been disoriented.

    Without the ‘fix’ — Ed would’ve been prevented from ever seeking public office.

    There was absolutely no evidence that Ed had ever gotten his feet wet. And he’d had no opportunity to wash his clothes, either. Wet shoes are mighty obvious — if you’ve got them. He didn’t.

  7. AesopFan Says:

    Cappy Says:
    September 12th, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/fa/95/0f/fa950fbfb960dec2b512160d7f712b17.jpg

    Somebody had to post this.

    You’re welcome.
    * *
    Never saw that one — the drowning happened before I was politically “woke” — I wonder if VW ever sued for the libelous use of their product?

  8. parker Says:

    The Kennedys are a family tragedy of their own making, as are so many family tragedies.Their highest accomplishment was the Special Olympics. The SO is a wonderful thing. We go to the annual games in Iowa. It is wonderful to see these people shine. Their smiles are beautiful.

  9. AesopFan Says:

    My perception of the Democratic Party, after a short flirtation in the early Seventies, was that it was a serial abuser: none of their favored politicians (or even the lesser lights) ever seemed to be disqualified for behavior that would have put a Republican out of office forever.

    That principle held up through the final elections of Obama’s tenure (did any GOP candidate ever reach the levels of moral turpitude of any of the documented Dem criminals in Congress and Governorships, much less Kennedy or Clinton?), but was eventually cast aside by the voters.

    If a GOP candidate being 99.44% pure wasn’t enough to win elections and escape Dem opprobrium, why bother to play by those rules anymore?

    Hence, bringing Trump into every conversation is something Dems can’t avoid, like picking at scabs.

  10. AesopFan Says:

    parker Says:
    September 12th, 2017 at 6:03 pm
    The Kennedys are a family tragedy of their own making, as are so many family tragedies.Their highest accomplishment was the Special Olympics. The SO is a wonderful thing. We go to the annual games in Iowa. It is wonderful to see these people shine. Their smiles are beautiful.
    * * *
    I have no complaint about Carter’s work for Habitat; otherwise, the man is a moral demagogue and political disaster.

  11. huxley Says:

    Why are they making this movie? Hollywood is motivated by money, just like most industries.

    Bill: Not when it comes to American politics.

    Hollywood is willing to churn out hard left film after hard left film most of which get clobbered at the box office. Consider the past 20 years of Robert Redford films.

    The film backers might get soaked, but everyone else gets a Noble Effort participation award.

    Meanwhile the industry is suffering a terrible summer at the box office. There’s more than one reason, of course, but many conservatives say they avoid Hollywood like ESPN because they push such a strong anti-conservative agenda.

    If making money is all Hollywood cared about, it wouldn’t relentlessly alienate about half the American electorate from the get-go.

  12. Tuvea Says:

    Bad joke from that time follows. It may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive readers.

    MJK: “Teddy, I think I’m pregnant.”
    EMK: “Don’t worry Mary Jo, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

  13. Ymar Sakar Says:

    You know how Stalin, the NKVD, and other Stasi level fixtures liked to create portfolios redeeming the “heroes of the State”. Now that the “State” is getting more powerful, it is about time to either redeem or assassinate the character of Kennedy, for the advancement of the Cause of course.

  14. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Hence, bringing Trump into every conversation is something Dems can’t avoid, like picking at scabs.

    Trum was also a Democrat, so his flaws were excused and covered up due to his influence and status. But when he decided to go for the gold ring as a Republican, all gloves were off. The media were ordered to let him run rampant in the primaries, of course.

  15. Paul in Boston Says:

    AesopFan: “My perception of the Democratic Party, after a short flirtation in the early Seventies, was that it was a serial abuser: none of their favored politicians (or even the lesser lights) ever seemed to be disqualified for behavior that would have put a Republican in prison forever.”

    FIFY

  16. FOAF Says:

    “I have no complaint about Carter’s work for Habitat; otherwise, the man is a moral demagogue and political disaster.”

    You left out “fanatic Jew-hater”.

  17. Cornflour Says:

    I haven’t seen the movie “Chappaquiddick,” but Neo’s post made me also wonder why Hollywood leftists would pick the topic for a movie. After reading what little’s been written about the movie and the people who made it, my best guess is that there’s no big story here.

    I think the script was written by a couple of bland, innocuous guys who more or less blundered onto the topic without realizing that it’s impossible to tell the story without making Ted Kennedy look bad. There was no heroism. They couldn’t make him look like a tragic figure. At best, Kennedy was a sleazy coward.

    Most people who read this blog still have a vivid memory of Chappaquiddick, but for most of the young lefties in Hollywood, it’s just an old story. Many of them haven’t heard of Chappaquiddick. Many of them haven’t even heard of Ted Kennedy, although they know they’re supposed to worship the family name.

    Here’s link (https://vimeo.com/152102333) to a video of an interview with Andrew Logan, a co-writer of the original screenplay.

    If you watch the video, you won’t see someone who’s trying to emulate Oliver Stone. He sounds like a very ordinary guy looking for a good story, something to sell for his first movie deal. Somehow, the script was never properly vetted by experienced lefty ideologues, and something like the truth escaped. Accidents happen. Even with movies.

  18. Ymar Sakar Says:

    If you watch the video, you won’t see someone who’s trying to emulate Oliver Stone. He sounds like a very ordinary guy looking for a good story, something to sell for his first movie deal. Somehow, the script was never properly vetted by experienced lefty ideologues, and something like the truth escaped. Accidents happen. Even with movies.

    That’s not the only interpretation of those facts.

    Hollywood due to their over reliance on spiritual channeling, often produces works as the puppet to the unknown puppetmaster. The musicians, directors, and writers often have artistic inspiration which they later cannot explain nor do they know the origin of. Some become very popular even as a result of unknown factors.

    If one were to rely upon the facts of the intentions of the creators in Hollywood and US mainstream sewer media, they could never have achieved the success they did: without a compact.

    People tend to like underestimating Hollywood. That is why they never call for DC to tax Hollywood to death, since they don’t even pay any taxes on movies. People also tend to underestimate evil and the Leftist alliance. All are similar problems with the same tragic end. The Leftist alliance has a central hierarchy and the zombies at the bottom merely do what they are told to do. Thus many underestimated the full power of the reserves of the hierarchy, because they based their factual analysis on SJW, and zombie safe space cringers.

  19. Ymar Sakar Says:

    You left out “fanatic Jew-hater”.

    Many of the Aryanism followers or eugenic epigenetics based theology of the Alt Right christians, have this belief, along with the speech in 1961, that the international Jewish cabal promised Britain that America would enter the war and then Wilson did it a few months later, in return for Britain giving Palestine over at the end.

    This is not merely a Democrat or Carter issue, the people themselves are beginning to find this persuasive and convincing. Not before the KKK and the white supremacists didn’t have any influence, because Demoncrats dumped them. Can’t have influence as guerillas without rich suppliers. With the advent of the Alt Right, that equation can now be changed with time and effort.

  20. Ymar Sakar Says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnLdAYvmSZE

    Since I like to talk about viewing primary sources…

    Secondary sources and human “interpretations” are usually pretty much corrupt after the fact.

    I’m neutral on the issue, so far. I do note that the entire concept of anti semitism is invalid as a concept, because the Jews are using the German definition of the term to fight the German ideology against the Jews. If people really wanted to fight the ideology, they wouldn’t adopt the enemy’s ideology and terminology. We see the same thing with Ctrl Left vs Alt Right.

    The question ultimately revolves around who controls the world, the Deep State, the governments, or cabals.

    But I look outside the restrictions on human imagination. These are all human organizations and have mortality that scales with human life spans.

    The one question that does pop up which people can’t answer, is why if Wilson was part of the Jewish international cabal, did the Democrats then side with Palestine later on. Was it because the Jews of the state of Israel were no longer communists? Then that would make it a communist conspiracy, rather a Jewish one, right.

    It looks more and more like the real puppet master is someone who has lived for more than 6000 years, and all the various human factions are playing to that string instead. To believe one dynasty or one set of humans, could manipulate world events like WW1, WW2, and the War on Terror, as well as Space Based Weapons, runs up against various razors.

    To set the Demoncrats like Wilson and FDR up as for the Jewish state, then set them up as against the Jewish state… is a power nigh unfathomable to normal humans. The easier explanation is that there is no Deep State, there are no conspiracies like HRC exploding her servers with bleach bit. But the world, including America, is increasing going with the “Deep State” vibe of the Alt Right and the conspiracies that they used to make fun of, methodology.

  21. huxley Says:

    Cornflour: Nice work!

    I didn’t get as far down the rabbit hole as you did, but when I noticed the writers were new and the director had only done a few, non-political films, I figured they thought it was a good story which hadn’t been told.

  22. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “Why are they making this movie? Hollywood is motivated by money, just like most industries.”

    Money isn’t the only thing that motivates people. It just happens to be the least destructive motivator, and thus the first thing people assume when giving a criminal the benefit of the doubt.

    Other things that can motivate people to do great and terrible things are ego, fanaticism, and mental illness (jokes about repeating myself are funny, but I’m using legal definitions here, because there are differences and mistaking one for another can cause tragic mistakes). In the case of liberals in general, and Hollywood in particular, fanaticism in pursuit of a Global Marxist Revolution is the primary driving force, with money being a secondary factor only so it can be converted into more radical propaganda.

    “Socialism will work when the United States adopts it, because nobody will be able to escape it any more.” – my mother, who also believes you can fly by jumping off a cliff and putting so much faith in the authorities that they save you from hitting the ground

  23. Frog Says:

    History is being re-invented right here, on Neo’s blog.
    Papa Joe Kennedy made his fortune rum-running during Prohibition. He was a mobster, pure and simple. Appointed by FDR as ambassador to Britain in the late 1930s, he was a clear, unequivocal supporter of Hitler and the Nazis. He then became chair of the SEC, which without doubt helped him grow his fortune via corrupt means.
    Corruption is a Kennedy genetic defect. See the buying of JFK’s 1960 election; see Joseph Kennedy the 2nd’s “Citizen’s Energy” and its relationship with Venezuela. See Ted Kennedy, whose law degree from UVA was purchased by Papa Joe since his grades were too low for him to graduate.
    And finally, see Ted Kennedy in full bloom. A cockroach.

  24. Lizzy Says:

    I’m guessing it’s a combination of the success of the recent “Jackie” movie (Hollywood loves sequels and this is sort of one) and Ted Kennedy being dead (so he can’t make it go away).

    I don’t know much about this particular incident, but one can’t fail to notice that the family seems to have a higher than average number of incidents of men behaving badly, particularly when it comes to the treatment of women.

  25. Surellin Says:

    And Ted was driving his mother’s Oldsmobile. Those were the days.

  26. DNW Says:

    “AesopFan Says:
    September 12th, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    My perception of the Democratic Party, after a short flirtation in the early Seventies, was that it was a serial abuser: none of their favored politicians (or even the lesser lights) ever seemed to be disqualified for behavior that would have put a Republican out of office forever.

    That principle held up through the final elections of Obama’s tenure (did any GOP candidate ever reach the levels of moral turpitude of any of the documented Dem criminals in Congress and Governorships, much less Kennedy or Clinton?), but was eventually cast aside by the voters.”

    Yes, there is undoubtedly enough political corruption to go around, but the difference to which you allude is the Democrat/Progressive redefinition of morality as an activist commitment to or the advancement of an ostensibly progressive social agenda; whatever it happens to be at the moment.

    I think this personal dispensation attitude they have, is in part attributable to the anthropological views held by most progressives who (at least the philosophers and critics) see human morals and moral action in terms of an almost exclusively collective-development stance context.

    As the very definition of “moral” for most progressives is identical with assuming a “proper” stance on instituting a regime of politically enforced redistribution and altruism, “personal foibles” such as might be described by the “seven deadly sins” mean as little to to them as the concept of personal honor.

    They simply do not see man as the kind of entity that conservatives see; nor the harmful activities they engage in as really wrong when viewed in the context of the class warfare mentality they have adopted.

    Franklin Roosevelt is almost as good an example as the Kennedys. Lyndon Johnson, who got Roosevelt to quash an investigation into how his campaign was financed, at the same time Roosevelt was siccing the IRS on political opponents (something his own son said he virtually “invented”) who were clean as a whistle, was another example of the progressive Democrat moral sensibility.

    The closer you look at their modes of operation, the more you know about what they have actually said and done and their personal motivations, the more utterly vile and morally vicious they look.

  27. TommyJay Says:

    I liked the main post almost entirely.

    I don’t find the Kennedys tragic except probably for Bobby’s murder. JFK was strongly warned about the security of his Dallas procession plans. I saw a detailed forensic examination of John Jr’s airplane crash which resulted from extremely reckless decisions.

    The other thing is the Vince Foster claim. I have read a few different accounts of the “facts” of the Foster suicide that are wildly contradictory. Which facts are the real facts?

    A retired NYPD detective and a retired NYPD forensics guy also looked at the facts, and they concluded that the suicide scene was dramatically inconsistent with any gunshot suicide scene that they had ever seen. Hopefully their sources are more primary than mine.

    The other big factor for me is that Hillary and Vince had hired the private investigator Jerry Parks to investigate the bimbo eruptions. Shortly after learning of the Foster suicide, Mr. Parks told his wife that he was a dead man. Within weeks, he had stopped his car at a red light, and a guy got out the car next to him and emptied a handgun into him. The shooter was never caught. What are the odds of an innocent explanation?

  28. Scott Says:

    A friend of mine wrote college papers for various Kennedys and their cousins when they were Harvard students. In the 1970s. At the time this just seemed like another alternative way to make money, like selling pot. But I doubt any Kennedy did much in the way of paper-writing, at least in that generation.

  29. CV Says:

    Director John Curran addressed the purported Trump connection in New York magazine:

    http://www.vulture.com/2017/09/the-kennedys-wont-like-the-gripping-chappaquiddick.html

    Chappaquiddick, in a way, made way for Donald Trump by ending any possibility of having another Kennedy in the White House. “I feel like, if Ted hadn’t had this accident,” he said, “it’s very likely that Ted would [have] become president in ’72, the war would’ve ended early, the southern strategy of the Republicans wouldn’t have taken root, and there wouldn’t have been Watergate. Who knows how the political climate would’ve evolved in the last half of the last century? So I think the accident is definitely worth looking at and talking about.”

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