Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Journal #6 - 40 Ways to Look at JFK

After reading and listening to the different views of President Kennedy's life as seen through different biographers' eyes, it's time for your opinion/assessment.

John Kennedy's biographers are usually broken into two groups: one group works to reinforce the image of Kennedy as icon, as the ideal president. They tend to gloss over the difficult stuff in his life with the idea that it's not important to know that kind of info about him. These biographers also stress his good qualities and downplay his bad qualities.

The second group of biographers are iconoclasts; they are trying to poke holes in the JFK myth by finding evidence to refute many of the cherished (and false) stories about the Kennedy family, clan, and presidency. These biographers are like realist authors - they give you the gritty details of a person's life; the fact that this person was the president doesn't seem to phase them.

The American people have consistently voted JFK (along with Lincoln) as their greatest American President, yet historians have given him the title "Most Overrated" in American Heritage magazine. When looking at his Congressional record, he didn't do much. Almost the same thing can be said for his Presidential record; how significant were the Peace Corps and the race to the moon in the long run?

Your job: answer the following questions
1. Share your assessment of the man and his job as president by looking back at your notes on the 9 sections of the book. Explain your reasoning with specific examples.
2. Where should biographers draw the line on their subjects? How much is too much and how little is too little?
It really boils down to what the main job of a biographer is. 250 words minimum.
Great link to a tribute website to a JFK archivist, Mary Ferrell.


Anonymous said...

1. Share your assessment of the man and his job as president by looking back at your notes on the 9 sections of the book. Explain your reasoning with specific examples.
2. Where should biographers draw the line on their subjects? How much is too much and how little is too little?

My assesment is John F. Kenedy is that he had his ups and downs as a president. I dont feel he was just a horrible president but i do feel he made some mistakes. When he talked about doing things but didnt enforce them was horrible. If he would have carried out the things he said he would have been more respected. John also would say he was going to help minorites but would not do it till later. John Kenedey was a good President all the other things that came out i feel Kenedy was one of the best presidents and could relate to the people.

biographers Need to learn when to much information is to much. The line when you go to far is when you put out personal information. What you do with your wife shouldnt be out in the public.When they said he left his honeymoon with his wife that is no one's buisness. The things that came out during his presidency were in invasion of privacy to me. He dosent seem that bad of a person its just media trys to make him bad. I feel to much information is when your talking about there private life with his life. To little infromation is if they didnt say he had a baby i feel him having a baby is good thing people should know. Biographers need to learn to draw line of enough info and to much information. I feel his personal life shouldnt reflect his job if it isnt something bad and dosent affect anyone expect himself.

Aston Williams
6th Hr Wickersham

Anonymous said...

My assesment is John F. Kenedy is that he was a person that did alot of bad stuff like adultery and all that but also helped alot. I feel that wat he was doing to his wife was incredibly wrong because he was just really being a playa in the whitehouse and thats not the example a president should lead. He talked about stuff but it was like if it was right for me then i 'm gonna enforce if it's not i'll kinda enforce it.He should of enforced everything according to the people not for what he going to look like after he enforced.He was going to help the minorities but it was going to be on his time not society time. I think he is a mong one best presidents because he cold relate to the people at that time but he was a prick when he wanted so i think he woudn't be a great example for society today.

biographers do their part and the only thing i think they should leave out his private life. The line when you go to far is when you put out personal information. What women or the things that happened or his crazy moments dont need to be mentioned because basically everybody had those moments he's just the president so he gets spotlighted.WE dont need to know about his honeymoon and why he left or where he went or what he did on it . That is his and his wife business not the whole worlds.Too little info is like not saying the corporations or the jobs he worked because that gives his economic and social status. That gives us the releif of beleiving that he is right for us he's just not a bum off the street he has economic and social credit.

Gil Clark
5th hour

Anonymous said...

My assesment is John F. Kenedy was one of the most confusing presidents. He did not follow through on his actions. He said that he was going to help monorities, he said that he was going to help the Black community. He was going to do these things before anything else the second he got into office.But it turns out that he didn't get around to them until spring of the following year. When you say you are going to do something and put it off for some time, it makes that person appear that they are only saying what the public wants to hear... to get votes. I personally dont think that this made him a bad president, he just bad mistakes that could have been avoided. I think that J.F. Kenedy was one of the best presidents we have ever had,he just didn't make the best decisions at the time.

Biographers I think try to find the worse things in someone. They shouldn't tell us about what goes on at home. We should only know what goes on in the Presidency, the way someone grows up or the way that they get along with their spouse, should not be told to the public. There are certain things that you need to know, for example that he did not give certain communities help exactly when he said he would(like in the above paragraph), that is something that effects our country. John F. Kenedy's affair on his wife, or his decision toleave his honeymoon early does not effect our country, it only effects HIS personal life. Everyone has skeltons in the closet, and when you are in the public eye almost all of them come out; but that is no excuse, I think there should be a line in between what presidents or other important people's personal information and what the public needs to know, they shouldn't be mixed together there should just be certain things writen in articles or books,etc. It is just wrong for someone to be put in the public eye and have his PERSONAL business put out there along with it.

Alexandra Stender
5th hour

Anonymous said...

1. JFK helped to get the Peace Corp going and he was instrumental in getting the first man on the moon, but were those things enough to rate a president’s success? He did help lower taxes as well, which I believe helps with his popularity. I feel like every body is going to have a different opinion depending on if they liked him or not. But some people are presenting him as this amazing guy, and I wonder if that has more to do with his assassination. Would we still feel the same way if he was alive today? JFK was very charismatic and that personality probably is what stays in people’s memories the most.
2. I think biographers should just make their writings about just facts, because there input isn’t really what the people want to here. There input might make the story more juicy but doesn’t make the story 100 percent true in most cases. People that are reading what the biographer has written start to listen to the biographers opinion instead of reading the actually facts. I think they should just make the story about actually fact so what people are reading is the real story. A biographer is one who writes, composes, or produces biography. When they start saying what they think of the story is takes away from the truth and yes some people do like that but it’s not the truth always, and that leads to more lies.

Erin D

Alice said...

1. I think that JohnF. Kennedy was a good and a bad president. In a good way, he did great stufff, I mean he show to his country a good personality and people were happy to have him as a president. He gave a vision to the american people with his concept of "new frontier".
In the other way, the thing that wasnt very good in his image was that he was cheating on his wife. She knew that but I think that for a image as a president, it wasnt the best.
2. The biographers are doing their jobs.They explained to people what really happen in his life and I do not think that it is a bad thing because people need to know the truth.And in a biography normally you explain all the life of a person with all the information that you have.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy the man is a very intelligent person and loved to learn. He was not a two face either like Nixon was. He was loved by tons of people and was seen as a great leader. People thought highly of him and believed he would be a great president. He was Humorous, kinds and charismatic. He was a role model for so many. With all of those good things said he still did bad things. He cheated on his wife several times and even though she didn’t divorce him that was a terrible thing to do and that is not a good role model. The president of the United States of America should not be cheating on his wife and it was just not one time but several. There were also many good and bad things he did as a husband. Good things were he spent time with her and bad things were that he only got married to her to prove he was straight and that he didn’t really love her she was only there because he thought she was the best choice because she was intelligent. Kennedy the president also had its good and bads. When he was a Civil Rights leader he helped King get out of jail and inspired freedom writers. Bad things were that the CR leaders were disappointed in him. Biographers should draw the line on their subjects by just keeping to what the subject is and never getting off topic. The main job of the biographer is to tell it like it was but only tell what the main point of the article is referring to. The biographer should never leave things out and should tell it like it is.

Jeff Kohl
5th Hour

Anonymous said...

The statement "everyone is not perfect" applies to John F. Kennedy perfectly. He definitly had is pros and cons. As a portrait of an American man he was almost perfect. He was a role model,funny,kind, hard worker, and highly intelligent. People loved being around him. A a president he was one of the most relatable. He was the youngest president. America could relate to him really easily. He didn't really engage in some issues. He did ignite the womens movement but he wasn't really involved in it. But he did have high ideals. He was all about sacrifice and self-improvement. He had the ability to inspire people. People could indentify him easily. He also raised the moral climate of the country. JFK as a husband though was where he definitly lacked in perfection. He treated Jackie very well in the public eye but horrible behind closed doors. He cheatedon her several times. He once said that he only married her because he wanted to prove he wasn't gay. He bought a man's ring for her for their wedding. He was never there for her. They also slept in seperate bedrooms. Even though this did make him look like a horrible husband, he did do a few things right in their marrige.He bought her a ring, they had a lot in common, and they spent a lot of time together before their marrige. Their love grew for one another after the miscarrige.
I think biographers should respect the space of the one they are writing about. Everyone deserves a little privacy. Yes, they should portray the person as they really were, that meaning the good and the bad. But when it comes to private issues of miscarriges or something that has deeply affected the person in the past I think they should let it be.

Hannah Burch

Anonymous said...

My assesment of John F. Kenedy is yes, as presidency he had had a lot of ups and downs. For example, he for the ups, he inspired people with his words about change and liberty, challenged America, never tried to hide who he was, opened people's minds to new ideas, stopped the Freedom Riders to stop the danger in the South. Also, I like his speech for Apollo 11, it's just inspiring i don't know. For the downs, he is not sincere, he cared more for foreign affairs, and didn't want to lose southern white votes. When I think of him as president and as a husband, to me I think he is very bad as a husband to his wife. He is kind of childish in a way. He just married Jackie so people don't think he is gay. Now, I don't quite get that of why people would think he is gay. For Jackie, it is strange that America loved Jackie more than John F. while John was president. Maybe Jackie should be president instead. John does love his wife, but he didn't do nice things to her like not saying thank you to her, and was bored on their honeymoon and left her, he proposed by telegram. Biographers should draw the line on their subjects many examples on a topic as you can and add lots of details. Too much is when you have information that doesn't need it. For too little, is when you don't have enough information of details or examples.

Anonymous said...

1. I think JFK was a fantastic president, maybe he wasn’t the best husband but he was a very influential president. He was one of those people that everyone knows about, he’s very popular among the people and for the most part quite well liked. In my opinion more presidents should be like The Kennedy, he was “cool”. He had some weird things about him, but none of them really affected his will to do in the oval office. He was a president that pushed the limits, and brought about many different ways of thinking, that still today might not be around without him. JFK was shaping up to be one of the best presidents ever; if he was not murdered in that tragic day then there is a large possibility that the world would be a different place today.

2. I think the biographers have either said, too much, to show he was not a good president, or said to little, showing he was unqualified. Both are ludicrous. Biographers will add things about his personal life to make him seem like a bad president, but things from his personal life do not affect him as a president. Although, on the other hand, biographers have been known to leave out the good things, and focus on the bad things. I think that biographers should just leave all the personal life parts out of the sections talking about his presidency, and they should include EVERYTHING about how truly qualified he was as a president.

Ryan D.
6th hour

Anonymous said...

As a president, I think JFK was one of the best presidents we've ever had. He had great policies, even if he didn't do much. He still spoke out on issues he believed in, and is that not enough? His congressional record shows he did little, and his civil rights movement didn't have many activities, but he still chose to do the right things.

Maybe one of the reasons he was such a great president was because he DIDN'T do much. Unlike presidents like George W. Bush, JFK didn't do very much, which doesn't leave room for mistakes. People say that George W. Bush is a bad president based on what he's done wrong. He has done a lot of things right, but people only focus on the wrong thing's he's done. JFK eliminated this problem by doing little, and what he did do, he did right.

I would draw the line for too much at whatever doesn't affect the country. If JFK had a deadly disease, or some spine problems, who cares as long as he was a great president? It doesn't really matter what he does in his life, as long as it doesn't affect the country. The good and bad qualities of a person are important, but sometimes people just emphasize certain qualities because they agree or disagree with his policies. For example, the only people who really cared about his spine problems and his diseases were the people who disagreed with his policies. They just wanted to make him look bad.

Anonymous said...

My assesment is John F. Kenedy was one of the most difficult presidents to understand. He did not follow through on his actions. He said that he was going to help minorities,and he said that he was going to help the Black community. He was going to do these things before anything else the second he got into office.It turns out that he didn't get around to them until spring of the following year. When you say you are going to do something and put it off for some time, it makes that person appear that they are only saying what the people want to hear so tehy can get votes. I personally dont think that this made him a bad president, he just made mistakes that could have been avoided. I think that J.F. Kenedy was one of the best presidents we have ever had,but he always didnt make the best decisions but no one is perfect.

Biographers I think try to find the worse qualities in a person. They shouldn't tell us about what goes on at home. We should only know what goes on in the Presidency,personal information should not be told to the public. There are certain things that you need to know, for example that he did not give certain communities help exactly when he said he would that is something that effects our country. John F. Kenedy's affair on his wife, or his decision toleave his honeymoon early does not effect our country, it only effects HIS personal life. Everyone has skeltons in the closet, and when you are in the public eye almost all of them come out; but that is no excuse, I think there should be a line in between what presidents or other important people's personal information and what the public needs to know, they shouldn't be mixed together there should just be certain things writen in articles or books. It is wrong for peoples buisness to be put out.

KING CARR 6th hour Wickersham

Anonymous said...

JFK, like all human beings is not perfect. We all have good qualities and bad qualities. I think that JFK was one of our greatest presidents. He was the youngest president and therefore people thought highly of him since he was very easy to relate to. I think it is very important to be able to connect with the American people. Kennedy had a reputation of being of being a very appealing person overall. He was loved by the people he worked with and had a good personality. Kennedy was aware of this image and tried to be himself. I think that our presidents should try to be themselves not something their not, that way it is easy to connect with Americans. Also being yourself makes you a better politician when you are yourself, not pretending to be something your not. Overall, I agree that JFK was one of our greatest presidents.
I think when biographers are writing about their subject it is important that they include information about their political careers, such as major contributions and accomplishments they have made. They may also include some information about their background and childhood if it has impacted decisions they have made later on in their life and helped the reader understand them. For example JFK, I do not find it necessary that the public knows how he treats his wife and other women that are his business and not the general public. Although when biographers write about JFK they want to tell the truth the good and the bad included. However, something’s like miscarriages or his illness are very private and do not need to be a concern for the public.

Allison LaSota

Anonymous said...

I don't think so highly of Kennedy as a person. He supposedly married Jackie not only to prove that he was not gay, but also because she was a "trophy wife". He also cheated on his wife numerous times and was not there for her when she needed him. If he was so worried about how he'd appear to others, he shouldn't have had affairs. Maybe he figured he wouldn't get caught, and if he did he'd take it in stride in his calm, cool, and charismatic ways. Not only was he insincere toward his wife, he was insincere toward people belonging to the civil rights groups. He did little to help them and broke his promises to them in order to win the re-election. As a president, I suppose he's just about average. Most, if not all of the presidents have broken promises. They also hide things as to save face or their chance of maintaining presidency. Like FDR, Kennedy kept his complications with his health a secret. This is understandable because he doesn't want to appear weak to the public. If the people see their president as a strong, charismatic person, they will have more faith in him and it may increase the chances of a re-election. It helps to be charismatic to get more people on your side.

Elise Lieberman
5th hour

Anonymous said...

I see JFK as a figurehead to what the american people see as a "great" president. This may seem crass and possibly even cynical, but let me explain. There is no doubting that Kennedy was a great politician, by this I mean that he knew how to keep people happy. Unfortunately this ment hiding truths and even telling bold face lies to the american people. Although in all honesty all presidents have done the same, even for the same reasons. Kennedy projected the image of being an active and wholesome family man, yet in truth we see that behind the scenes he was debilitated by numerous ailments and had little intrest in his family. This was a man who was bored on his honeymoon and also only present for only one of his childrens births. He had four. Also that being said later on in life he had cheated on his wife with none other than Marilyn Monroe and also became addicted to his daily cortizone shot, taking up to three a day. So much for wholesome. Therefore it is seen that Kennedy did not have the spottless record he tried to pass off to the american people. But JFK bacame an icon to the american people and also to democracy, which was no small task considering his condition. He gave hope when we needed it most, during the Cold War. Undoubtedly he served his purpose as president and as a iconic figurehead to democracy.
Above is the way I would like to see a biography written, when truth is told you can never go wrong. So, as a note to biographers no person can be only bad nor can they be purely good, both sides must be fairly stated no matter how big or small they are because a biography is in fact a retelling of a person's entire life not only the bad or good.

Thomas Hess
6th hr.

Anonymous said...

I believe that John F. Kenedy was a good overall president. If he wasn't, most people wouldn't have liked him, which isn't true. He has been named as one of the best presidents ever. He did have some faults, but in the end he did many good things for the country. Since he was so sick during his presidency, it must have been very hard for him to be a leader. It would have made everything a lot more difficult. The reason he lied to the public was probably because he didn't want to let anyone down. If Americans knew that he was dying, they wouldn't have much confidence in him. One of his major faults was lying about his education and credentials. He never should have done this, but if he didn't, many people may not have trusted him. The main reason he didn't get a great education was because of his illness. And, as for the book that he claimed to have written, no one can actually prove that he didn't.
I think biographers should be able to include any information they want, as long as it is factual. Opinions are not part of biographies. If a topic of the person's life is argumentable, such as the book JFK wrote, it would be okay to write about it, but only under certain circumstances. The biographer should not include information that isn't known to be true for certain, unless he or she makes it clear that no one knows the true story. However, biographers should be able to include bad things about the person they are writing about if they are true and are important to the person's life story. Nothing should be biased.

Kaitlyn M.

Anonymous said...

JFK was an okay president. He made some mistakes while he was president. He lied about his credentials and education to the american public and his health. He also lied about his family life. History has made him out to me immortal and almost like he could do no wrong but this most certainly was not the case. Kennedy was unfaitful to his wife many times. He also said about how he would help smaller minorities and change civil rights laws and wouldnt do anything about it. He then criticized Ike for doing nothing. Maybe if he had taken action more people would of taken him more seriously.
Its a biographers job to get the truth. Even the darkest parts of a persons life. Their job is to get the truth about a persons life their whole life. For example when you take on the job of the president you know that if you have anything to hide it definately is going to come out into the public. I think that the public ought to know who they have in office and the truth of any person who is about to run the country.

Christina Leong
6th Mr. Wickersham

Anonymous said...

Biographers have a tricky job. They must have limits on the amount of information they are willing to share about some one. I would hope they wouldn't say anything about a person that hurts their reputation in a negative way.
With a president, restricting personal information is especially important. Being president comes with the burden of being globally recognizable. Most everyone is watching them, tracking their every step and looking for any mistake they happen to make. Hopefully not everyone judges a president by the mistakes they have made in their personal lives but instead the mistakes they make which hurt their country.
On the other hand, biographers have the right to share information they think is an important part of a president’s life, whether it be good or bad. That’s why as president it is crucial to always be alert and not make decisions that could potentially hurt their image.
Drawing the line on subjects depends a lot on the personality of the subject and writer. Some writers know their subject can handle the brutality of having their personal life exposed to the public. But those presidents with low self-esteem may be greatly affected by opening themselves to almost everyone in the world. The public does have the right to know if the president has down something immoral or illegal. But relationships and health issues are subjects that are better kept secret.

Anna Badalamenti
6th hour

Anonymous said...

1. My assessment about the job of the president is very simple. To keep the people of the United States safe, it might come off as a smoke screen until they get re-elected, but sometimes it is safer to keep the people in the dark. In the modern era, I bet that all most all of the presidents have lied about something about war, or health, ECT. So there is only one constant in all of those years, and that is the job. Bush for example; he has gotten a lot of criticism from what seems like everyone, like the Patriot act. We only hear about the times that it doesn't work, but how many times has it worked, or prevented another attack on the US. As for John Kennedy there could have been hysteria at the white house much like how we reacted to ADS at first. Plus, he wanted to finish what he started in Vietnam.

2. The question about the biographer is a tricky one because there is fine line between selling the book and just insulting the person that it is about. We all know that nice doesn't sell the stuff, that's why 95% of the news is bad news, because they know that you watch it. Also, in a biography about a president there is more than likely going to be more good than bad, so they have to have a good mix of everything. I don't think that there is a line because of all the different things out there that already crossed the line, like South Park or Family Guy, so the line has already been crossed many times.

Patrick Heuser
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

Like every other president that we have had in the past, JFK did some good things and then he did some bad things. He did make mistakes, like commit adultery, that normally you don't think a president should be doing but then he had his fare share of good things too. He was a president that people felt they could relate to the most because he was very down to earth. He spoke out on what he believed in even if he didn't always go through with it. He helped out with women's rights and helped out with the Peace Corps. Different people will always have their own views on the president but I think that overall he was a very good president.

As for the biographers, they really need to know when enough is enough. We all have things that we wouldn't want other people to know amd I don't think that the world needs to know every important detail about the president. Things about their personal lives is interesting to read about but is not really needed information. They should focus more on the things he achieved and how he was a good leader. Things that he messed up on cam be ok too but they can't be super personal either. The media loves to make important people look bad and they thrive on it. I don't blame them because it sells things and makes people want to read about it. Even though it's intersting, for the president's sake I don't really think that all the little things need to be shared.

Kristin Mafrice
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

My assessment of JFK is that he was not as great of a president as people really say. From my point of view, I don't see him doing anything so special or so out of the ordinary from other presidents that really makes him stand out as great. He never had any time in his presidency to achieve anything great. Sure he was good as speaking by getting people to listen to him and by showing lots of spirit as a leader, but that is just about all he really did that was great. What JFK did best was popularize himself to the country by being extremely charismatic on the television. I think it is almost unfair to compare him to a president such as Lincoln. Both dealt with civil rights during their time as president, but Lincoln was the one who changed the way things happened because of it. Kennedy never really did anything with Civil Rights except talk about them and makes people feel good about him as a president. Talking does not make a person a great president. Doing stuff to change a nation or the world does. When I write all of this, I do not mean to bring down JFK because I like him or dislike him. Based on the facts of his term, I believe he has been an almost ordinary president.

I believe biographers shouldn’t draw the line when they are writing about their subjects. The point of a biography is to teach people about the life of an individual person. If an author is writing things that make a person seem good or bad just because of what they believe, the reader is not getting all of the information to fully educate themselves about the facts of the person they wish to learn about. Just because an author dislikes their subject has nothing to do with harping on the bad things that have happened. That doesn’t change the facts to what has really happened. Reality is reality, it doesn’t change. If something happened in the past, it happened and shouldn’t be dismissed just because of the opinion of an author. If the facts are straight, the reader should be able to decide for themselves about what they think about the subject. It’s not the author’s right to convince them otherwise.

Jonathan KLar
6th Period

Anonymous said...

1. I believe that when Kennedy was president, a citizen in the U.S. never knew what was going to happen next. This is why I agree with American Heritage Magazine when they give him the title of “Most Overrated.” I believe most citizens back then and to this day like to have a sense of certainty as to what they can expect in the short and long term aspects of this country. I view Kennedy as an unpredictable and confusing liar that just wanted to get his way, no matter what.
I believe he failed as a husband too. One of the only reasons he got married was so people didn’t speculate about whether he was gay or not. He treated his wife poorly on several occasions; including proposing to her by telegram and leaving their honeymoon early because he got bored. On top of that he cheated on her on numerous instances.
Kennedy, as a Civil Rights leader, talked a good game but never followed through on those proposed actions, to help out minorities. He also lied about his health, education, and credentials. He got doctors to lie about his health so that he appeared in tip top shape to the public eye. He lied that he enrolled in many colleges but he only stayed two weeks, because of his health. He also bragged about writing a book that he might have gotten someone else to write for him.
2. Biographers often tend to stretch the truth in any way possible in order to entice people to buy their books. They should just tell it like it is because obviously the people who are reading those books want to know the truth about what actually happened in that person’s life. The main job of a biographer is to give the reader a detailed description of that particular person’s life.
Andrew Wehbe 6th

Anonymous said...

My assessment of JFK as president is that overall he was a good president. It seems pretty hard to judge him because he was assassinated and we dont know if he would have actually carried out some of the plans that he was talking about. One example of this is with the civil rights. He was talking about making some new adjustments, but he never actually got the chance to make the changes that he had talked about. Had he lived and remained president we dont know if he would or wouldnt of made progress with these changes. As president it is his job to make sure that the people of this country are safe, and that no one is being mis-treated. I think that JFK performed both of these tasks. He had begun talking about giving african-americans higher job positions and began to ban segregation laws in some places, which is helping people from being mis-treated. To make sure that the people were safe he had troops in Vietnam. He had been protecting the people from what he felt was the biggest danger, which was communism.

A biographers job is to give information about people, weather its good, or if its bad. I dont think that there really is a line were they should stop. If they are writing about the life of someone then they need to let people know the good and the bad about that person, and if they tell everything then the people will really get to see what this person was like. Since thats what thier job is I think that biographers shouldnt draw the line and just tell all of the details so that people can learn from bad things that people did in the past.

Kevin K.
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

1. I can't say whether or not Kennedy was overrated, necessarily, but he seems to me like he was a pretty good president. Let's face it--every single politician in our country lies in order to get what they want. So Kennedy is off the hook there. And if I was as unhealthy as he was and still wanted to be president I probably wouldn't tell the truth myself. He did a lot for civil rights and gave the people of that time period a good feeling. He had principles, he had a good team of people behind him, and gave hope to people who didn't have it. In the long run, his accomplishments have been duly noted and definitely play a role in our society today. He himself might not have been a honest, good person, but he inspired others to be good people. And in the end, if you have a country full of great people, isn't that what really matters?

2. This one is easy. The job of a biographer is to accurately give an account of a person's life. While it may not be the president's prerogative to be honest, it is the biographer's. It isn't their job to be "nice" and write someone's life different than how they lived it. Biographers ought to stick to the facts and let the people make judgments for themselves. Otherwise, how will we ever know if our history is correct? We have to learn from fact and make our own opinions, because if we learn solely from opinions we will never learn to think for ourselves. In the case of a biographer, their job is to present information as factually and objectively as possible.

Jill Mailing
6th hour

Anonymous said...

I think John F. Kennedy had a long frustrating life. He went through many illnesses and problems with his family. I think that He treated his wife horribliy because she went through so much by herself when she really needed someone by her side. He wasn't there for his childrens birth. He left his wife on their honeymoon. he was a good president, in some people's eyes, but to me he was a bad person. John F. Kennedy always said that he was goung to do something but he never did. Don't get me wrong he did help in some areas, like taxes, but the bigger problems he never got to.

The biographers shouldn't have put all of his business out there. Everyone didn't need to know about his honeymoon and him not being present for the birth of his children. No one needs to know about his health unless he wanted to tell everyone.I don't think that they know when to stop. If they have a story, i think they would continue with it until everyone in the world knows about it. I think that they follow famous peope just to write a story. No one can just look up in a book about John F. Kennedy's honeymoon or him being absent from his children's birth. truefully i don't think anyone cares about that kind of stuff./In conclusion, I think president John F. Kennedy was not a good president. He didn't treat his family good and never did anything for the community like he said he would do. He told many lies just to cover up himself.

Ciara Embry-Brown
6th hour

Ian said...

My assessment of John F. Kennedy is that he was nothing more than an average president. Perhaps if he had survived through his full term, my assessment would be different. I base this assessment on the following:
1. He failed to achieve success in the Bay of Pigs Invasion because he did not adequately plan with the military to first insure success. For example, the military advance force failed to reach shore and an air strike failed to knock out the Cuban Air Force.
2. However, he stood firm when the Soviet Union tired to base missiles in Cuba and he made it clear that any missile attack form Cuba, would trigger an all out attack on the Soviet Union. This was an example of President Kennedy’s strong leadership.
3. In Germany, he allowed construction of the Berlin Wall by the Soviet Union to prevent people from trying to flee Communist rule. Instead of a strong response, he allowed the beginnings of the Cold War to emerge which led to a divided Berlin.

(I think these three examples, some good and some bad, demonstrate the average Kennedy presidency.)

Another important fact about John F. Kennedy were his health problems. As President Kennedy was growing up and was in office, he suffered from back pains, hives, many traces of urinary problems and Addison’s disease, which is a rare hormonal disorder in which the body produces insufficient amounts of adrenal steroid hormones. Thank god I do not have any of these problems, because I do not think I would have survived very long. These health issues most certainly could have affected the way John F. Kennedy showed himself not only as a president, but as a human being. Even though I consider President Kennedy to be an average president, he lived through his disorders/disabilities, which truly shows how powerful he was!

Biographers should draw the line on their subjects by trying to be honest and not sensationalize their stories. The facts and history will best show the true person. Painful and confidential family issues need not be disclosed unless they played an important part in history making events. There is a fine line that needs to be observed. Tell what is important for a leader to determine the correctness of decisions. Personal and confidential matters should only be disclosed when they have an affect on actual governmental decisions.

Ian Kohler
5th hour

Anonymous said...

Overall I think John F. Kennedy was a good president. He had some faults, but when you look at any common person they will have some too. He was one of the youngest presidents, he also was very open minded not partial to anyone. His marriage was not the best since he did not stay faithful to his wife. He was also a very sick man from a young age. JFK gave America an open mind to new ideas. He was famous for this line “Ask not what your country can do for you --ask what you can do for your country." He also created the Peace Corps. to help America be active in helping out third world countries. But he also had many faults such as the Bay of Pigs invasion.

I think biographers should draw a line between personal information and work information. Personal information that has pasted should not be dredged up on a person unless it affects them at this current time. For example a criminal record would need to be check even though it is past information because this could effect the situation that an employer puts this worker in. But information about John F Kennedy’s past health that he had when he was young that does not affect him now does not need to be brought up. For example appendicitis after you have your appendix taken out it really has no effect on you later on. Biographers should only write about relevant information that might affect the people reading it. All the extra personal information added is not need and could hurt the person later on.

Emily Betts

Anonymous said...

JFK does seem like pretty much an ideal presidant though he did not do much. He had looks charm not health but many americans fell inlove with him. obviously many liked him since he beat out nixon. he made american finally get some expansion since world war 2 and was key on makeing americans have equal right which many presidants didnt work hard on. He helped make America one of the countires that were most powerful and helped aid to others. this mad did a great deal for our country. though he wasnt much of a family man im sure he did what he could for them giving them everything they needed. except for jackie cause marylin was there for him.
but everyone makes mistakes. you cant have political people without drama anyways. or lies...
Honestly i dont think biograpgers really do need a line to be drawn. i mean for the presidant it must be tough haveing every person in the world know every detail about you. it could get annoying but without that we would be wondering. but then again they dont need to know the stuff that they wouldnt want people to know about them. its just rude and wrong. we need to leave people alone.

Jessica P.
6th hour Wickersham

Anonymous said...

Overall I believe JFK was a good president, even if he didn’t do as much as some of the other presidents. I believe that he had that charm that people wanted to trust. Many of the bad things talked about in the autobiography were about his personal life and little talked about presidential life being bad. Some of his shocking things with his personal life were that he cheated on Jaclyn and he said he was never there for her when needed. But not all of his personal life was bad, the autobiography also said he was a great father and an amazing role model for many. As a president he sacrificed his self-image to make rights fair between whites and blacks. Also he inspired freedom writers and ignited women’s movement.
Biographers should draw their line on their subject if they find out something so personal that it may hurt the family. I think that talking about some of their personal life is fine but if you have to search hard to find out that information it might be too much. Too little might just be talking about all the good or bad they have done and leaving out the other. But what ever a biographer does it’s always too much or too little.
-Kellie H.

Zack Silver said...

My assesment of John F. Kenedy is that he was a good man, and an even better president who just did some bad things in his life. He cheated on his wife several times and hid things from the citizens of the united states. He had very bad health and was in and out of the hospitals alot. He was dis-loyal to his wife and cheated on her several times. Besides those things, JFK was a great president who did his job very well. From what i know about all the other presidents i feel i can relate the most to him because he was an athlete and so am i.

Biographers cross the line when they start talking about someones personal information. situations like cheating on your wife or lying to your family that does not directly involve anyone else outside is stuff that should be kept silent. I know that if i were married and did something like cheat on my wife, i wouldnt want people publishing books about me to know that about me, that one little piece of infortmation could change hundreds of peoples views on me in an instant.

Anonymous said...

1. My view of JFK as president, is that for the most part he was a good president. People looked up to him, his was smart, not fake, and he tried to be himself. Those qualities are good to have as president because you can get things accomplished for the country faster and easier, than if you were a president who wasn't looked up to and no one liked. John F. Kennedy was a true leader and went to extra heights to help people in need. He inspired people, helped the women's movement,and helped Martin Luther King get out of jail. Despite the racial tensions during his time, he still supported civil rights activists and didn't agree with racial injustice. Although, at times he didn't want to associate with the civil rights activists, he still did more than any other president after slavery to his time in presidency, to end racial injustice. His personal life, as president was bad. He cheated on his wife and wasn't really there for his family. That's not a good impression for a president.

2.Biographers should draw the line on their subjects when it gets way to personal about the person they are writing about,or its a uncomftorable subject for the person they are writing about. Too little information is when the reader can't relate to the person or the person can't be figured out.

Adriel O.
5th hr.

Anonymous said...

I think President Kennedy was a pretty good president. He did have his faults but every president does. For example Kennedy was very sick during his presidency but he tried to hide it from the rest of the country. He didn’t want people to judge him by his health and think that he was weak and couldn’t do his job. Kennedy was our youngest president but he did a very good job at it. He was liked by almost everyone and he did his job as president by being himself and not trying to be something he wasn’t. By doing this he gained the trust and respect of the people. This made him one of our greatest presidents.

I think the biographers should draw the line at the personal stuff about their subjects. The biographers should talk about their political careers and how they got into politics. I also think they should be able to talk about their subject’s family and about their everyday life. They shouldn’t go too deep into it though. When they talk about the family life they should just keep it at basic stuff but not talk about everything. For example in “40 Ways to Look at JFK” we didn’t need to know about all of the affairs Kennedy had with other women and how he didn’t like his wife. I thought it was nice how they talked about his childhood background and how he was sick as a child because it told us something about Kennedy that we didn’t know before.
-Claire M.
5th hour

Anonymous said...

Taking the notes about Kennedy in class I learned alot about his life. I learned he was a very loved and interesting president. I'm not sure if people loved him because of the things he did for our country, or becasue of the gossip he brought to our lives. The notes taught me he did lie alot, but i don't think that all the lies were told to hurt anyone. I don't agree with what he did, but when he lied about his health i think it was to maintain his reputation. Everyone has their own opinion and feels differently about how Kennedy was as a president.

Between the two biographers its hard to decide which one i agree with. part of a biographers job is to keep people interested, so how much it to much is a hard question. I think the opinion the biographer has on the person will determine the outcome and overall feeling of the book. I think most people would agree that the presidents personal life isn't as important as his qualities, but deep down people are always interested in gossip. I believe biographers should be honest and tell it like it is, it's good to know that the president is an everyday person like everyone else. Everyone has their own opinion, and people can read and believe what they want.
-Shayna S. 6th Hour

Anonymous said...

1. My Assessment of JFK was that he is just another human being, and not some angle that everybody has to think is just a sinless political figure. In spite of having his ups and downs with the many affairs with his wife, I believe that he tried to make up for his wrongdoings by being as true to himself and the public eye as possible. Being aware of his own image, he chose to lead America through example of what this country could be, but not all of his examples were great. For example Kennedy chose to put off dealing with the civil right issues and his refusing to pull out of the Vietnam War and although his actions on certain issues are questionable, it is also prevalent that his perseverance and determination to lead this country when he was extremely ill made him one of the most remembered presidents in history.
2. I believe that the biographers should provide as much insight as possible to cover all aspects of the person that they are writing about to allow the public readers to draw there own conclusions and not to be focused towards one aspect of a persons life. But it is also alright for the biographer to express there own opinions, so I believe that the biographer should really look into all of the aspects of the persons life to make sure that they aren’t judging a person purely on there political actions, nor on there personal life and personal information which should be left alone.

Alex L.
5th Hour

Anonymous said...

1. Before reading and knowing the summaries of the chapters we read in class I had the impression that JFK was a great and admirable president and man. I now know that I was extremely off and wrong about my assumptions. I did not now him as a political figure but as a celebrity because of his fame and how so many people treated him. I was not aware of all the affairs he had, the horrible health conditions, and most of all the lies and secrets he kept from the public. I was disgusted when I read the awful things that at the time no one knew about. I couldn’t help but wonder how he got away with all of it. Now I know a different John Kennedy than I did before. It makes me question whether or not the rest of the Kennedy Family is the same as he was in the aspect of the lies and deceit.
2. I think a biographer’s job is to tell the truth and present the facts for the reader and audience to judge. The biographer isn’t writing to tell the reader their opinion but to tell the story of the subject’s life. The significant and the not so significant are all important to his or her life. If an author wants to write their opinion on a person’s life I think that it wouldn’t be consider a biography. I think that the author should show the reader the good and bad and not be biased when writing. There should be equal parts of good to equal parts of bad information but at the same time all the information should be shown and taken into effect.

-one and only van ermen
5th Hour

Anonymous said...

1. Share your assessment of the man and his job as president by looking back at your notes on the 9 sections of the book. Explain your reasoning with specific examples.
2. Where should biographers draw the line on their subjects? How much is too much and how little is too little?

My assesment of JFK is that he really was a great president. I think that most people hear about how great he was and think that and others hear one bad thing about him and then they suddenly hate him. I do believe that he had his faults, but I know that nobody is perfect. His view of women and the repect for his life was definantly one of his downsides of his personality, and though I don't agree with what he did, I know that he just had some problems and didn't think about women in the right way. I think that he made a good president because he wasn't stuck up and was a people person. Although a lot of people would say that that isn't that important, it really is. Him just being personable and loving and intelligent makes him a good person, no matter what character flaws he might have had. I think that he was in a lot of very difficult situations that other presidents might not have had to deal with, and that he did his best and brought the U.S. through it. He was faced with a nucleur war when the Cuban missle crisis occured. Another president may have acted differently and we could be in a bad situation right now. He was forced to bear a lot with his back and his illnesses and the death of his brother and was still able to stay lively and work for the good of the country. I greatly respect him for this reason.

I agree with Aston on what he says about too much information in the media. I feel that back then and a lot now people just try to find all the bad stuff about celeberities so it'll be a front page scandal on the next People magazine. Everthing we hear today about Brutney and stuff...who really cares? I don't know why people obsess over whos dating who and what not about some people they don't even know. It's the same with Kennedy. I think that media people that didn't like him wanted to find all the dirt about him to make him seem like a bad guy. He had his flaws, but unfortunately there are a lot of men like him that don't respet women it's just that he was highlighted on that because he was president. Things that happen in his private life I don't think should be seen by the public. Too little would of course be not knowing anything about him. You would need to know about his presidental desicions, not his descision to leave his honeymoon early or something stupid like that. It's good for the public to know that he was like an everyday guy that was nice and athletic and not obnoxious or conceited.

colleen moran

Anonymous said...

Nobody is perfect and JFK surely wasn't perfect. I think JFK was a good president, but he just made some bad choices. He wasn't a very good leader. A leader is supposed to follow through with his promises and JFK didn't do so. Many people talk about him and say how great of a guy he is, but they must not know the true man behind the mask. Throughout the sectional readings, I have come to realize that JFK is not a very good person. First of all, he cheated on his wife, and didn't even want to marry her. But she didn't care, so it never really fazed him. He also wasn't there when his children were born. All mothers need some kind of support from the father, but he wasn't there. One thing that made him really stand out though was the fact that he would say one thing, but do the other. An example would be when he said he would ignite the women's movement, but ended up not doing a lot for it. Up until we learned about all his illnesses, I didn't feel sorry for him. After learning about them, I wondered if they had something to do with the way he lead his country, especially since he had them most of his short-lived life.

Biographers want to know everything that has happened in that person's life. They don't. That person needs privacy just like the rest of the world. Just because they have a higher status doesn't mean that they want their business put out in the streets. Some personal info can be released, but not every single piece of their personal life. What happens behind closed doors should stay there and not come out unless given permission. JFK had a little bit too much information included in his biography. The biographers could have lightened up a bit. But hey, they have to make a living too; just don't have to go to the extreme.

Eboni Bell
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

I think that JFK was just an average president. The reason why is because he always said he was going to do one thing but never went for it. For, example he helped MLK get out of jail but he didn't want to fight for equality until 1963. Another thing that made him average was the fact that he fought a usless war. He sent many americans to vietnam and they died for no reason. In the biography that we read i think that the aouthor crossed a lot of lines. For example the stories of JFK and his affairs was more information than we needed to know. Also, the whole time line of health events was to much also. They could of just left it at he was very unhealthy gave about to stories and that was it.

Anonymous said...

1. I think that John Fitzgerald Kennedy as a president he was a very good one. I base this decision on the choices he made as the President of the United States. An example of this is he took a diplomatic route with the Cuban Missile Crisis. He decided to negotiate before taken serious actions that would have most likely leaded us into war. There were some parts of this man, like his personality and his family issues, which make people believe that he was a bad man. He cheated on his wife; there was serious scandal on the rumor that he never really loved her; and the karma that leaded to his death. As a president, he was good. As an overall person, he wasn’t the nicest or the meanest.
2. It is interesting to readers to hear about the life of an important person, from head to toe, and that is the whole point of making biographies. Biographers also need to give the good and the bad of this person. I think biographers should not draw any lines on their subjects. This gives reader a chance to view into an accurate portrayal of this person, and lets readers find out why they made a certain decision; where they are coming from. The real job of a biographer is to clearly expose the entire person. I believe that the deeper a writer can get the better. It is the price of fame to but your full self out there.

Leah Jackson

Anonymous said...

1. Share your assessment of the man and his job as president by looking back at your notes on the 9 sections of the book. Explain your reasoning with specific examples.
From what I have learned about President Kennedy, I can say that he put America very high on his lists of priorities. Only, he put them so high up that it was concluded that he had many problems at home. An example, from the notes would be how out of the four births of his children he was only present for one. Even if this were just rumors made up against him, both sides agreed that Mrs. Kennedy spent entirely too much time alone. Another consequence of putting America so high up is he knocked down his health to the backburner. He had many problems such as back pains, osteoporosis, Addison’s Disease, Urinary Tract Infection, and Asthma just to name a few. His health most likely worsened because instead of a doctor’s appointment he went to a NATO conference.
2. Where should biographers draw the line on their subjects? How much is too much and how little is too little?
Biographers need to be careful in what they write and publish to the world. The health of the President is a vital part of his role not just what he passed for America. Telling of his health history will shine light on how much of a struggle being a President really is. It would show his huge sacrifice he had to make.

A. Lewis
US History 6

Anonymous said...

I think Kennedy was a good president because he led the country without letting his personal problems get in the way. No one ever really knew how severe his health problems were while his was president. As a president I don’t think he always made the right decisions. I think he let pride get in the way of his job and he would rather keep his pride up instead of making the right decision. As a man I think he was a very noble person because he was kind and nice to people. I think that is the reason why so many people liked him as the president, not for really what he did but because he was so personable.
I don’t think there is a such thing as too much information on a person when you write a biography on them. You are supposed to be telling their whole life story and if you only tell about the good things and leave out the flaws then the reader isn’t getting the whole picture of what the person was like. Therefore, the reader can’t form a good solid opinion about the person.

Jasmine W.
5th hour

Anonymous said...

From Ellen Rutila

My assesment of J.F.K is that he was a great president and he did changed America. He opened people's minds to new ideas. For the ups, the Peace Corps was overwhelming, stopped the Free Riders to stop the danger in the South, negroes are getting ideas they didn't thought of before and he offered to get Reverend King out of jail. Also the astronots went to space after Kennedy died.
For the downs, he was not sincere, didn't begin any major Civil Rights laws, critcized Ike for doing little, he cared more for foreign affairs, and he didn't want to lose Southern white votes. He lied about his ed., he lied about his health, he bragged about the Pulizer Prize for Profiles in Courage, and he lied about being a family man.
Though for him as a husband and as president, I think he was a terrible husband. He got bored on his honeymoon and left early! He never said thank you to his wife, and he just got married so people wouldn't think he was gay.
Biographers draw the line on their subject on the important stuff on that same subject. They could sometimes add details on that subject to I don't know, to make it more intresting or something. Too much would be having to many things that don't really need to be there. Too little is when you don't have enough examples, or details, or more important stuff.

Ellen Rutila
U.S. History 6th

Anonymous said...

Kennedy seemed like a intellegent man,who loved his job as a leader.People have even said " Kenndy is simply the most appling human being i've ever met". He was loved by those who worked for him. Very aware of his image, and tried to be himself. However he had alot of flaws, such as cheating on his wife numerous amounts of times. He also lied to the media, and the people covering up abou his health and his addisons diease.Kennedy also lied to his advisors about what he was really thinking. How ever he steped in when the nation needed a leader, and was remebered for his excellence.

Biographers should draw the line when, they start to expose your intament, and person life. Yes, everybody loves details. However you should really stop and evaluate the information that your writting when you quote that someones wife was unimportant to him. This was not the only thing that was blow out of porportion by the media. This just stood out to me. Too little information was given about Kennedy's kids, and the relationship they had. I didn't read alot about how they were effected by their father's death. Also how clsoe relationship they had with him.

Imani Roberson
# 5 Hour

Anonymous said...

I as others think that JFK was totally overrated. Yes he had his ups but on the same note he had a lot of down time. He didn’t do enough good to overcome his bad time, so for him to be considered as one of the greatest presidents to ever run this great country of America is crazy. If you were saying that he’s one of the greatest presidents you would really have to consider the fact that you’re putting him in the category with Lincoln, G.Washington, and FDR. Putting him in that list doesn’t even sound englishly correct. He just didn’t accomplish things that the others did. Such as start America off, bring America together out of slavery, or even bring us back from our biggest drought that we have had and probably will ever have. Maybe he just didn’t have the capability to do so or he just wasn’t in the position to pull something off like that and because so I think that he was highly overrated.

I don’t think that they can ever do too much or too little. I think that they can go however far they need to do so to get their points across. All they’re trying to do is show that either he was or wasn’t a great president.

6th Hr.

Anonymous said...

My assessment is John F. Kennedy was his looks and charms won him with the people, but that can only get you so far a president, don’t get me wrong helped out a lot to put the United States back to somewhat normal state. In his private like it seemed he had a lot of trouble. What really shocked me was that he was in such bad health I would have not realized that if I saw him in pictures he, hide it form the world. Biographers jobs are to expose the people they are trying to write about get secrets finding things out about that person that no one knows about, it they dint than there would be thousands of the same books, who would want to read about that person anymore. The president was in a way mysterious he was private and a lot of things in the Kennedy family no one knows about. I think drawing the line for people is different one people may think you went to far others maybe not far enough it is hard to say.
Ashley B. 5th

Anonymous said...

1.) I believe that Kennedy was a great president overall, despite the rumors and facts and viewpoints against him. I know that some of them were true, such as him cheating on his wife, but it seems that he was a good president even though he had his “cons”. He seemed like a great president because of all his good qualities like loving to learn, being humorous, being kind, being loved by his coworkers, being a role model for the citizens of the United States, being “simply the most appealing human being I’ve ever met”, and so on. Now of course, he’s not the only one who has these great qualities, and he did have his cons like, cheating on his wife, having affairs, lying about his health problems, taking all of the credit for “Profiles in Courage”, lying about how many copies of “Why England Slept” were sold, and so on. But I believe that he was a great president because he seemed to learn from his “mistakes” at least to an extent before he was assassinated. There was never a report of him breaking up with his wife or anything because they did get along and she forgave him for cheating on her. Despite the bad things that JFK did, I still believe that he was a great president.

2.) I believe that a good biography has everything that ever happened (or supposedly happened) to the person and doesn’t take a personal side in the matter. A biographer should not try to get a reader to look at a person in just one way. That is not only narrow-minded, but it strictly limits them to only taking one perspective and not seeing the person for who they really are (potentially). A good biography covers everything, the “good” and the “bad”, and leaves the whole thing open to interpretation by the reader. This allows for the person to form a realistic opinion about the person and not just from information given by one person’s opinion. If I, for example, gave you a synopsis about Great Britain all based on the Boston Massacre, then anyone who read it would think that all of the British are bad people because they were “cruel” or “inconsiderate”, etc. But my view would leave these people blind to the good things like rock n’ roll, Shakespeare, the list could go on. The same idea should apply to both JFK and in all biographies. To be realistic and honest, one should mention everything that happened and not take a side.

Will D.