oh jack kennedy, you cad you

(18 february 2010)

so let’s talk about “lot #1174: ‘Love, Jack’ – Senator John F. Kennedy’s Complete Correspondence with his Swedish Lover, Gunilla von Post.”

(no, i did not make that up. and to quickly answer some FAQs: yes, that is the actual entire subtitle. and yes, the words “swedish lover” were used. can’t you practically hear the little old ladies who lunch tittering in the back row?)

so… “lot #1174: ‘Love, Jack’ – Senator John F. Kennedy’s Complete Correspondence with his Swedish Lover, Gunilla von Post.” several things.

firstly, i should mention the auctioning of “Senator John F. Kennedy’s Complete Correspondence with his Swedish Lover” is being conducted by LEGENDARY AUCTIONS. so in case there was any doubt re: the historical significance here, people, beware, wait for it- it is LEGENDARY.

nextly, the copywriters for the aforementioned LEGENDARY AUCTIONS? freaking genius. seriously. amazing. for reals.

oh, but where to begin?

if you were beginning at the beginning, you would begin HERE. but don’t. you have me. i will spare you that.

so imagine, if you will, that we have somehow wandered into the highly specific realm of the LEGENDARY AUCTIONS auctions/history/presidential autographs/catalog/lot detail/lot #1174:” ‘Love, Jack’ – Senator John F. Kennedy’s Complete Correspondence with his Swedish Lover, Gunilla von Post” webpage with no prior knowledge of our 35th president. fear not! LEGENDARY AUCTIONS is there to inform us that our 35th president was beloved for his “sparkle of hope,” “not-so-rosy marriage,” and “‘ask not’ imperative.”

but this is irrelevant, because we already know all of this. according to LEGENDARY AUCTIONS, we already know everything there is to know about jfk. according to LEGENDARY AUCTIONS, “there is one stone left unturned.”

yep. you guessed it. ohmygod, letters to his swedish lover! (nevermind that this stone was, in fact, turned over repeatedly way back in 1997.) letters that allegedly reveal a whole new side of jfk, “a tender side, heartfelt and sincere, hopelessly romantic, naïve even, while his bright star was still on the rise and before universal fame came to dim and pollute, turning him callous and insatiable in his lust for conquests.”

i’m going to pause briefly here and let you digest. because that was some pretty rich stuff and i’m assuming everyone could use a moment to reflect on the beautiful bob ross-style word picture our friends at LEGENDARY AUCTIONS have just painted. dim, polluted, callous, lustful jfk. as conquistador. i imagine he is wearing boots. and tassels.

there is much much more- including transcripts of the letters themselves and an interactive timeline- but it all pales in comparison to the glutinous description of jfk and his swedish lover’s “one-week ‘brief, shining moment’ of smitten bliss,” which can only be quoted in full:

It all started in August 1953, just weeks before the 35-year-old Senator Kennedy’s wedding to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. Vacationing on the French Riviera, he made the acquaintance of Gunilla von Post, a 21-year-old blonde siren with aristocratic roots, and he fell in love with her. They had eyes only for each other as they dined, danced and later kissed—fairy-tale-style—with the stars shimmering on the Mediterranean Sea. As far as von Post knew, she’d enjoyed a magical evening with a fun-loving American prince and would never see his tousled hair and jaunty smile again. But this Jack came calling … and writing. He pursued her despite the daily demands of public service and newlywed nesting, and even despite a near-death experience on the operating table. No obstacle was too great to bar the soon-to-be King Arthur from courting his beguiling Lady of the Lake.

and i leave you with one question:

who the heck wrote this?

(a) an old, old man.
(b) an old, old woman.
(c) a high schooler with a tenuous grasp of arthurian legend.

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