Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Whole New Meaning for WWJD?

From the introduction to What Would Jackie Do?--An Inspired Guide to Distinctive Living, a not uninteresting exploration of style, grace and poise for the average person. At least it's more interesting and indicative of the state of the culture than anything that's ever appeared under the Martha Stewart brand:
'What was it about her, dammit? Almost from the moment she made her debutante turn at Hammersmith Farm in 1947, it was obvious that the elegant sylph known simply as Jackie possessed something enviable, intangible. A true American Idol, she represented a standard that many women have tried to copy from her clothes to her gestures. But it was her cloak of unusual dignity that earns her the greatest admiration. You can't help but want to like her. Who can
resist such effortless, multilingual poise? People the world over have long
marveled at how she handled the jagged, painful turns of the Kennedy legacy and the Onassis years. And how, beneath those iconic pillboxes, she never seemed to sweat.'


At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've sold me on this, John. And Martha Stewart Syndrome is getting old. (Must send cards, must learn to fold napkins into exotic birds, must bake a triple-decker chocolate cake.) Well, maybe I could live with the last one. I'll have to pick up this read. Thanks!

And "What was it about her?" ...maybe the sunglasses.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

It only stands to reason that an item such as this would resonate for a classy lady such as you. As I was reading over that passage in the bookstore this weekend, I kept thinking of two connected but very different things: the way that Jackie's restrained poise and grace in many ways mirrored that of one of my favorite actresses (Audrey Hepburn, who was at the peak of her career during the JFK/Jackie years), and the hilarious bit from Seinfeld, when Elaine is being interviewed for a job at a book publishing house where Jackie had previously worked, and the boss kept comparing Jackie's "grace" to Elaine's apparent lack of same. One of the funniest moments ever on the series, I thought. Anyway, per your latest post, I think you're one of the special few who can make both a good living AND a good life out of this life's work of ours. Do keep at it in your signature graceful and dedicated fashion, will you?

At 12:30 PM, Blogger MaryB said...

Grace (and style) under pressure. And definitely the sunglasses! She knew how to remain cool in the political and social cookers of Washington, New York, the world, the Kennedy family.

And how many 30-somethings do you know who could have their husbands heads blown off in their laps and not have to spend the rest of their days in a padded cell?

Though she had the public aura of a lamb, she must've been quite a lion in reality.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Splendid of you to visit from all the way down in Atlanta. I admire your Wild Goose Chase project especially, through a quick glance at it. I'll be sure to stop back occasionally to keep up on your writing progress. As for Jackie, you've of course keyed in on the real source of the deep fascination with her: how someone who was perhaps at the time condescended to as a quiet lady who talked almost in a whisper (though in reality she quickly won the respect from one of the 20th century's toughest old cusses, her father-in-law Joe, a former bootlegger and Wall Street con artist) could go through such an unspeakable public horror and not merely survive it, but grow from it, even helping pull an entire country through it by her example. Just goes to show that what my elderly friend Leo has always said is often literally true: men often play at being the strong ones, when it's more often women who are emotionally strong in the ways that really count.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Daniella said...

Maybe they were cut from the same cloth, elfish, elegant women who although admired for their classic looks proved themselves to be survivors and humanitarians.
I won't get the book but I admire the woman who inspired it.


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