Thursday, February 25, 2010

My all-time hero

These two photos take turns on my desktop, revolving from one into the other, telling the story of the day in the life of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis that provides just one example why I admire her so.

These photos were taken the same afternoon, moments apart, in autumn, 1971. The photographer who took the first shot and appears in the second shot is Ron Galella. He hounded Jackie on a daily basis, dressing up as Santa Claus to shoot her while shopping at Christmastime, hiding in coat racks for photos of her dining and sometimes even smoking (gasp!) with friends, chasing her in a speed boat while she water skied, following her into movie theaters, etc. When her children were young they still had Secret Service protection and she would ask the agents to, "Please smash his camera," and usually they would. It got so bad that in 1972, just months after this incident, she actually took him to court and got a restraining order. I often wonder what would have happened if Princess Diana had been as ballsy as JBKO; perhaps she'd still be with us.

Anyway, Jackie was running a quick errand, crossing Fifth Avenue in front of her apartment building, when Galella sidled up near her and called her name. She reflexively turned and smiled. When she saw who it was, and that this time he had an accomplice with a camera, she simply slipped the dark glasses on (thereby making the subsequent photos he shot worth a little less), kept her face impassive and kept going.

She hated Galella. He was a stalker and he frightened and enraged her. Yet look at her control. Sure, she could have lost her temper with him (Marlon Brando literally punched his teeth out), but that would have given Galella a front-page shot he could have retired on. So she just withdrew into herself and kept going.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have a difficult time with my temper, which often hurts no one else as much as it does me.

I hope if I gaze at her long enough and remember the story, some of it will rub off on me. "Remember, Gal, just put on your sunglasses and keep going."

3 comments:

  1. Class is the one trait that young celebrities lack. I think that Michelle Obama has it. Jacqueline though, is from another time and when I hear about incidents such as this her actions indicate that she was smarter than a lot of people give her credit for.

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  2. Both great photos. I didn't know the story behind them.

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  3. Raheel9:14 AM

    Very interesting read and nice conclusion. Thanks!

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