With breathless, wide-eyed dismay, the BBC has reported findings from a listening of audiotapes recently released containing a interview with Jackie Kennedy, granted to a historian shortly after her husband’s assassination.
In the audiotapes, Mrs. Kennedy offers her opinions of Lyndon Johnson, and world leaders Indira Gandhi and Charles de Gaulle (in all cases negative).
However, by far the worst offence by Mrs. Kennedy, and the one determined the title of the report, was her daring to express a negative opinion of Martin Luther King.
According to the BBC, she
strongly criticised Dr King, recalling how her brother-in-law, US Attorney General Robert Kennedy, told her the civil rights leader had been intoxicated at JFK’s funeral and mocked Cardinal Richard Cushing’s Mass.
She said: “He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and [Robert] said that he was drunk at it. I can't see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, that man's terrible.”
Can you believe the effrontery?
How dare she criticise the most important man that ever lived in the United States of America! How dare she disapprove of his intoxication at her husband’s funeral, and his mocking the service.
It is inconceivable that any sane wife of a recently deceased husband would articulate such uncharitable opinions, let alone plumb the churlish depths of snobbery with the gusto evident in that audiotape.
And, note, it’s “Dr King” for you, you peonish baboon. Don’t you ever forget that.
One would think that, given the unquestionable evidence—uncovered twenty years ago—of King’s plagiarism in his doctoral dissertation of 1955, efforts would be made not to emphasise his holding a doctorate—a degree that under normal circumstances, not to mention circumstances involving holders who campaign for White civil rights, would have been revoked, with fulminant effect and endless media gloating.
I have no doubt that BBC journalists find it genuinely outrageous that anyone would have anything critical to say of their Afro-American secular saint.
But I also have no doubt that the BBC’s report is intended as a reminder, albeit perhaps unconscious, for the readers that it is not OK to cross that line—to blaspheme against the deities of the Marxist pantheon, to fail to show due reverence, to speak out of turn, to have feelings other than awe, marvel, admiration, and humility for the likes of Martin Luther King.