“One of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself”; Update: Audio added

posted at 8:48 am on August 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

As long as we’re on the subject of humor this morning, what kind of jokes did the late Ted Kennedy like to tell his closest friends?  One of Kennedy’s close friends, former editor of Newsweek and New York Times Magazine Ed Klein, tells the Diane Rehm Show that Chappaquiddick jokes were high up on the list (audio here, at 30:10):

I don’t know if you know this or not, but one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, “have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?” That is just the most amazing thing. It’s not that he didn’t feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, but that he still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too.

Jules Crittenden wonders (with a great deal of snark) if “you had to be there.”  Mark Hemingway is aghast:

EXCUSE ME? If that’s true it makes Kennedy kind of a monster. The odd thing is that if you listen to the whole show, the tone of everyone involved is nauseatingly haigographic and reverential. Klein apparently let his guard down a bit; after he lets it slip Kennedy liked to joke about the woman he killed you can actually hear in his voice that he’s trying to backpedal. The show actually cuts to a break as he’s trying to explain himself, and I seriously wonder if it wasn’t the producers trying to do Klein a favor. But I’m sorry, there appears to be little to that could explain this. It goes way beyond “you had to be there.”

If nothing else, it puts to rest the notion that Kennedy’s remorse balances out the undeniable cowardice of his actions at Chappaquiddick.  Even allowing for the best possible spin on his actions that day, what kind of person jokes about an incident that left a young woman dead in the back of his own car?  Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) got high marks from some for joking about his arrest for indecency and acknowledging his public humiliation, but the only thing that died in the X-rated theater was Reubens’ television show.

It does set free Kennedy’s critics to talk at length about Chappaquiddick and its proportion to Kennedy’s public life.  After all, if Kennedy thought it was a topic for humor in private, then it certainly is a valid topic for serious analysis of his life as well.

Update: Had the wrong audio link; it’s fixed now.

Update II: Here’s the audio:


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My husband does that; borrow things he gives me for my birthday, that is. Actually, I think he may give me things for my birthday so he can borrow them. Books, Dvds, guitar strings…I began to be suspicious when he bought me a set of Vise-Grip locking pliers.

Constance on August 28, 2009 at 10:09 PM

The birthday system is a popular fiscal conservative male principle: more money actually spent on the male than the female. That why I like the birthday system so much!

Now, if I could only figure out a way to make my sister like western cowboy movies without her realizing that I am up to something. It will be a tough assignment because it is the black and white silent western cowboy movies part of my collection that is the smallest part of my collection. Maybe you could ask your husband if he has any tips for my particular problem since he also seems to be familiar with the birthday system.

Basil Fawlty on August 28, 2009 at 11:49 PM

I mess PeeWee Herman

Kennedy, not sorry.

Kini on August 28, 2009 at 11:49 PM

Constance:

Priceless! Placing my answer to your quote in a quote also.
Well I have never said I was my mother’s smartest child

Basil Fawlty on August 28, 2009 at 11:52 PM

This is unbelievable! And Klein tried to make out like Teddy only laughed because of the irony of him being blamed for the accident, like he was totally innocent. He was as guilty as sin of doing nothing to save the poor girl. He used the twenty minutes she was alive under the water waiting for help crying to his friend about what was going to happen to him. What a dastardly coward.

theaddora on August 29, 2009 at 12:10 AM

He used the twenty minutes she was alive under the water waiting for help crying to his friend about what was going to happen to him. What a dastardly coward.

theaddora on August 29, 2009 at 12:10 AM

Two hours. The diver testified that she lived about two hours on the air in the bubble where she was found. The diver also testified that he could have gotten to her within 25 minutes of being notified (as he did the next morning).

If Kennedy had made one phone call to the police or the fire department, things would have been different.

unclesmrgol on August 29, 2009 at 1:26 AM

The story of Mary Jo is extraordinarily fitting for the events of this day. The symbolism and timing of Ted Kennedy’s death and the juxtaposition of the Obamacare legislation is a story within a story.

Mary Jo was the original martyr upon the altar of liberalism. Sent to her untimely death at the bottom of a river, under a bridge, Ms. Kopechne was the shoulders Teddy stood on to reach the mouthful of life-preserving air that enabled him to launch a decades long Senate career. With that singular act, Mary Jo, through her selfless service, symbolically demonstrated the remarkable arrogance and complete disregard for life that encapsulates the vapid amorality of the liberal agenda. She, among other victims, are drowned and oppressed again and again, decade after decade, and career after career–as liberal politicians continually subjugate people for their own gain. Mary Jo’s fateful ride in the Oldsmobubble in Chappaquiddick, keenly symbolizes the repeated behavior of self-imposed subjugation that our societies “victims” continue to show–they keep hopping in the Olds, when they should know the outcome.

Today, Kennedy’s name is being invoked into the Obamacare issue. The Obamacare Oldsmobubble is pulling out of the driveway of the cottage in Chappaquiddick. Barack Obama is at the wheel. In the car with him are congressional Democrats–all of them yukking it up. Obama has ulterior motives for his passengers, just as Teddy did with Mary Jo. The Dems see Obama probably as Mary Jo saw Teddy that night–handsome, talented, bright, promising, dangerous, enticing.

The Oldsmobubble is nearing the bridge, its narrow, its dark, and eerie. The car hits the bridge, careens over the side and hits the water, floating for a quick second before nosediving for the bottom. Lives, both physical and political flash before Obama’s and his passengers eyes–the car rapidly fills with water. Every man for himself. Obama, like Teddy, luckily escapes, swims to the surface, climbs out and heads back to the cottage, nonchalantly as Mary Jo slowly is asphyxiated and drowned waiting for help that will not arrive.

Yes, history is beckoning us today. Mary Jo’s parents and family, had they had the opportunity, would have done everything in their power to pick up Mary Jo from that party in Chappaquiddick and prevent her from getting in that car that fateful night in July of 1969. Today, the parents are in the townhalls, townsquares and other places and openly pleading with their representatives to not get into the Obamacare Oldsmobubble. If they get in, close the door, and take the fateful ride–then the story of Mary Jo should ring in their ears as they see their own lives sacrificed upon the altar of liberalism.

If we are going to do anything for Teddy, then put every copy of HR3200 into the front seat of an Oldsmobile, and then push it off the bridge.

ted c on August 29, 2009 at 7:38 AM

I do hope that today, Ted Kennedy is being sat on a hard, cold stool and having the torturous final moments of Mary Jo Kopechne played before him as well as all of the arrogant and insensitive moments he displayed in mocking the death for which he was responsible.

I am confident that justice will be done in this.

The death of Obamacare will be some reconciliation for the death of Mary Jo.

ted c on August 29, 2009 at 7:44 AM

The church splendor, complete with high-ranking clerics, that has accompanied the funeral of this disgusting man, reminds me of the “Godfather” saga. No matter what horrors the Godfather and his family committed, there was no shortage of priests, bishops and other clerics lining up to accept their money and praise them.

I’m not saying that Kennedy shouldn’t have had a funeral — he was still a human being — but the sight of so many religious leaders participating in it disgusts me.

KyMouse on August 29, 2009 at 7:45 AM

We’re all Mary Jo Kopechne now.

Yes, you and I are Mary Jo Kopechne now. You read it right. Teddy has passed the keys to Obama, after a few beers with Gates, and he’s smiling at us and then sliding behind the wheel. Maybe Obama, like Teddy, slipped a little something in our drink–just to make us a little more willing. One can only think what he has in mind as he invites us into the front seat of that big Oldsmobile. “Just a little drive” he quips, as your instincts tell you this might not be a good idea, but he’s handsome, well connected and charming. In the back of your mind, you think obama is just another womanizer, just out to use you for what you’ve got. Maybe you’re right–he is married you know.

As he heads down the bridge, the car careens over the edge, flips upside down and he leaves you trapped there, gasping for air as the car fills with water. You die a slow agonizing death as Obama escapes, his political career intact–set up right for victories to come–adulation and reverence. The rules he sets don’t apply to him–he wins and you lose.

Yes, Obama is trying to use us just like Teddy used Mary Jo. He wants to get what he wants and needs out of us only to leave us discarded underwater like an old boot. He’ll ride our backs just so long as to break it, then hop on someone else’s.

Yes, my friends. Today, we are all Mary Jo Kopechne and it is truly fitting and symbolic that the coward of Chappaquiddick is passing the proverbial keys to the Oldsmobubble to Obama upon the delivery of the eulogy.

The question is, will we get in and take the fatal ride, knowing today what Mary Jo didn’t know that fateful night in 1969? Will we be left at the bottom of the lake, gasping for air, as Obama escapes to greener pastures…and more victims? Time shall tell–for today, the Oldsmobile Key is passed.

ted c on August 29, 2009 at 10:34 AM

I do hope that today, Ted Kennedy is being sat on a hard, cold stool and having the torturous final moments of Mary Jo Kopechne played before him as well as all of the arrogant and insensitive moments he displayed in mocking the death for which he was responsible.
ted c on August 29, 2009 at 7:44 AM

The scene from “Little Nicky” where Hitler is getting his daily punishment comes to mind.

csdeven on August 29, 2009 at 10:41 AM

He’s a typical Liberal
Somewhat Chappaquiddickal
Kill the Babies
Save the Whales
Smoke, but don’t inhale

ronnyraygun on August 29, 2009 at 12:13 PM

The church splendor, complete with high-ranking clerics, that has accompanied the funeral of this disgusting man, reminds me of the “Godfather” saga. No matter what horrors the Godfather and his family committed, there was no shortage of priests, bishops and other clerics lining up to accept their money and praise them.

I’m not saying that Kennedy shouldn’t have had a funeral — he was still a human being — but the sight of so many religious leaders participating in it disgusts me.

KyMouse on August 29, 2009 at 7:45 AM

If a person is Catholic, how do they defend it?

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 12:36 PM

It was heartwarming to see fellow killer Laura Bush in the crowd. If anyone could empathize with ole Ted it’s Laura!

simplesimon on August 29, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Poor simple. Attention whoring without purpose. Another liberal life without merit. Consciously choosing a troll’s life…
The only thing that would make today more appropriate would be another drunken Kennedy behind the wheel of Teddy’s hearse as it careened off the bridge and into the river.

Roy Rogers on August 29, 2009 at 3:04 PM

If a person is Catholic, how do they defend it?

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Following up on your question to my recent post: I suppose, Jeff, they would say that he did a lot of good, and that a funeral is for those who are left behind. I just wonder if there was one priest, bishop or whatever who said, “No, I will not participate in the apotheosis of Ted Kennedy.”

Not long ago, a man in my city died of natural causes years after having deliberately murdered a young woman, getting away with it, and never showing any true remorse. His family gave him no funeral, but had him cremated and his ashes scattered in an unidentified place.

I know that Kennedy didn’t deliberately kill Mary Jo, and that a famous man is going to have some sort of public funeral, but I think a service that was somewhere between those two men’s “departures” would have been fitting.

Deliberately leaving a young woman to die should be much more than a footnote in Kennedy’s record. But, I suppose, if one is rich enough and powerful enough, one can buy the biggest and best funeral around, complete with plenty of golden crosses and incense. *spit*

KyMouse on August 29, 2009 at 5:55 PM

KyMouse on August 29, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Your answer sounded more like explaining the rational of the family. I was asking about the Church. How does a priest, or bishop, as a representative of the Church, perform a funeral for someone who should of been excommunicated.

Jeff from WI on August 29, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Mark Hemingway is a member of my church body, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

OmahaConservative on August 29, 2009 at 6:34 PM

What do they mean when they say “Do it for Ted.” Do they want me to drown a young woman or volunteer my services to the KGB?

Dhuka on August 29, 2009 at 6:49 PM

It was heartwarming to see fellow killer Laura Bush in the crowd. If anyone could empathize with ole Ted it’s Laura!

simplesimon on August 29, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Please enlighten me as to

1. What national offices Laura Bush ever held or sought?

2. Where I can find the same media syconphancy for Laura Bush that we are seeing for the bloviating bloated alcholol laced, womanizing fraud known as ted kennedy.

thought you couldn’t…

bullseye on August 29, 2009 at 8:47 PM

Ted Kennedy traded Mary Jo’s life for his freedom and continued political career.

End of story.

Tailgunner on August 29, 2009 at 11:20 PM

Maybe you could ask your husband if he has any tips for my particular problem since he also seems to be familiar with the birthday system.

Basil Fawlty on August 28, 2009 at 11:49 PM

Aha! So it is a system. I thought as much and now that I know you also like cowboy movies, black and white in particular, I am convinced of it and I see that my hope of celebrating my future birthdays with gifts of gold and silver seems remote. His tips? He must have read Winnie the Pooh when he was younger. He feigns ignorance, but with your candid admissions I may have yet a chance to turn this around. BTW, I hope your sister enjoys her next birthday (and you likewise, I am sure) Cheers!

(and apologies for going off the Ted Kennedy topic, but really it has been examined and commented on exhaustively and I have nothing new to add)

Constance on August 29, 2009 at 11:21 PM

It was heartwarming to see fellow killer Laura Bush in the crowd. If anyone could empathize with ole Ted it’s Laura!

simplesimon on August 29, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Loving that Kennedy death ain’t cha?!

csdeven on August 29, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Since Teddy had such a sense of humor, especially about Chappaquiddick, I wanted to come up with my own Chappaquiddick joke as a sort of send off to the funny man himself — I’m sure Ted would have fallen off his chair over this one (enjoy!):

What’s the difference between Mary Jo Kopechne and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

When it comes torturing someone with water, Khalid talked but Mary Jo didn’t.

You read my full “tribute” to the funny man here:

And Now Ladies & Gentleman, Here’s Ted Kennedy, Mr. Chappaquidick Himself, with a new Chappaquiddick Joke!

RomanticIdeal on August 30, 2009 at 10:22 PM

What do they mean when they say “Do it for Ted.” Do they want me to drown a young woman or volunteer my services to the KGB?

Dhuka on August 29, 2009 at 6:49 PM

excellent

Jeff from WI on August 31, 2009 at 4:53 AM

Ted Kennedy’s car has killed more people than my gun

76United on August 31, 2009 at 2:30 PM

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