To Know Mrs. Onassis: Why Jackie Kennedy’s Life as Art Endures

Her greatest art form was her life. Her full name was Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, but from the start she was always just “Jackie” to both those who genuinely knew her as a real person, and to those who felt they truly knew her, so closely was she followed in the news for both the large, important events that she impacted and the small, mundane moments of her existence. More than half a century has passed since she first entered the public imagination and nearly a quarter of a century since her death, but the single-word name of “Jackie” still conjures her visual image to not just those who read about and saw her pictures when she was alive, but now just as strongly among those born long after she was making news simply for being Jackie. Why does this person endure or matter? Beyond Labels She was known first to the closed world of East Coast “High Society,” when she was named “Deb of the Year” in the late 1940s. Cameragirl…. Soon after, her name was associated with both poignancy, wit and a sense of the ridiculous to residents of the nation’s capital city in the early 1950s who ready the daily edition of the long-gone newspaper Washington Times-Herald  where she wrote six days a week as that publication’s “Inquiring Cameragirl” columnist. The American nation largely embraced her as “First Lady” during the early 1960s tenure of her husband John F. Kennedy’s tenure as President, and so too did those European, Middle Eastern, South American countries she made goodwill trips to as a symbol of the United States. With her remarriage to global millionaire businessman Aristotle Onassis, and her adventures to the far corners of the earth, the world soon knew her as “Jackie O,” a cheeky moniker. Yet she has somehow not just endured as a figure of powerful interest, but well into the 21st century her life story seems to thrive. There are always new books on her, new documentaries and dramas. Living on. Jackie lingers in a way that seems to surpass the impression of President Kennedy. This may be due less to the fact that the abrupt end of his relatively young life affixed and confined him in a place and time that today’s technology and conduct seems to now further us from more rapidly, and more to do with her more abstract timelessness. She survived

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Categories: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Legendary Americans, The Kennedys

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