Sunday, January 2, 2022

What Wred's Reading: American Values: Lessons I Learned From My Family by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

This book came out a few years ago, and it's not one I normally would read, but it's been interesting so far.  The reason I am reading it is because I stumbled across a book review of it:  http://edwardcurtin.com/american-values-lessons-i-learned-from-my-family-by-robert-f-kennedy-jr-a-review/.  In it, the reviewer, Edward Curtin, states that the book was boycotted by mainstream reviewers because the book blames the Central Intelligence Agency for the deaths of the Kennedy brothers.

Hmm . . . interesting, for more than one reason.

I'm not sure what the cause is exactly, but the book does seem to have been snubbed by book reviewers, which is odd.  I mean it's not odd when one of my novels get snubbed by mainstream reviewers as book reviews are hard to come by these days in general and since I'm not buying any expensive ads in BookPage or whatnot I'm the last in line to get a book review, but Kennedy Jr's book is published by a major publisher around the 50th anniversary of his father's assassination.  That seems a bit notable.  I did find one article on CBS News (not exactly a review but something):  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/robert-kennedy-junior-reflects-fathers-legacy-assassination-camelot/ and an academic review in The Journal Of American Culturehttps://philpapers.org/rec/MCHAVL-2 (though you probably have to go through an academic library to read the actual review).   The rest of the reviews are by the odd reader who posts a review on his website like this guy:  https://carloseromero.com/book-review-american-values/.

By contrast, media blowhard Chris Matthews also published a book about Kennedy Jr.'s father around the same time and got reviewed all over the place.  This article has some links to them:  https://thebestbiographies.com/2017/12/26/reviews-of-bobby-kennedy-a-raging-spirit-by-chris-matthews/

Strange.

On Kennedy Jr.'s book's webpage (https://www.harpercollins.com/products/american-values-robert-f-kennedy?variant=32205678575650), it lists only two quotes from reviewers and one appears to be from a vanity award website (you know, pay $100 and you get an award) while the other is from Independent Catholic News.

Yeah . . . if that is the best that can be mustered, this book clearly got ignored.

The question is why.  If Curtin is right, it's because the Central Intelligence Agency exerts considerable influence on American media.  That could be the case.  I read an interesting book years ago called The Cultural Cold War:  The CIA And The World Of Arts And Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders, which well-documented how much the CIA tried to influence American literature.  Glenn Greenwald, coincidentally enough, just published an article about how the agency also took the same approach to the rest of the media as well:  https://greenwald.substack.com/p/nbc-news-uses-ex-fbi-official-frank

So in a country where former CIA interns (Still an asset?  Heck, still an employee?) host television New Year's Eve programs, it's not hard to believe that the CIA and their allies in the media might have exerted some influence to obscure Kennedy Jr.'s book.

The other big explanation (so far, the book's good, so I'm not suspecting that the book got ignored because it is bad) is that Kennedy Jr. has taken a political journey that makes mainstream media types nervous.  He started as an environmentalist (I received many fundraising appeals from him for the Natural Resources Defense Council over the years), then I knew him helping out Greg Palast on voting rights issues.  He always seemed like a good dude to me, but at some point, his interest in preventing mercury pollution connected up with folks who were concerned about mercury in vaccines (https://stevekirsch.substack.com/p/how-rfk-jr-went-from-a-good-guy-to) and suddenly the right wing liberty folks were cheering him on more than the traditional liberals were.  From that point, he's been involved in children's health issues and been very skeptical about the benefits of vaccination:  https://childrenshealthdefense.org/about-us/mercury-vaccines-cdcs-worst-nightmare// (and after you read that interview, I bet you'll probably trust him a lot more than the folks trying to discredit him such as this guy:  https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/covid-19-health-pseudoscience/anti-vaccine-propaganda-robert-f-kennedy-jr).  Obviously, even back in 2018, being an "anti-vaxxer" made mainstream liberal folks uncomfortable (sample Barnes & Noble customer review of the book:  "He has the blood of the dead Samoan children on his hands."--to understand that comment, read https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/11/26/deadly-measles-outbreak-hits-children-samoa-after-anti-vaccine-fears/) and even a Kennedy wasn't immune to that (note that the book so far has nothing to say about vaccines--it's about his family's history and values), so this could also explain why the book got ignored.

My guess is that it's the former though.  The CIA has always been creepy and over the years they and their fellow intelligence agencies that are essentially wastes of our tax money have just become creepier, so I can find it somewhat plausible that the book's publicity got spiked as a result (if you think that's impossible, then you have a fairy-tale version notion of 20th-Century American history--educate yourself please).  At least, Kennedy Jr. was able to publish the thing and give me a good read.  Since then, he's become even more of a pariah since the antivaxxers have been attacked as public enemies number one during the virus panic since you know Big Pharma, mainstream media, and public health want those dollars and power trips to keep on trucking.  That, of course, just makes me want to read his next book, which is about how much of a creep and moron Anthony Fauci is:  https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Real-Anthony-Fauci/Robert-F-Kennedy/Children-s-Health-Defense/9781510766808

That book seems to have gotten a similar media blackout, but probably for the latter explanation this time.  Nevertheless, it's doing all right for itself (#1 on Amazon right now; by contrast, my highest-ranking book currently is #4,342,908).

If you need another good read after the RFK Jr.'s books, might I suggest Edna's Employment Agency (currently 7,008,622 spots behind the Fauci book).

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