Kennedy Dies: Championed The Arts

edwardkennedyap_us_edward_kennedy_file_26aug09_eng_210It would be too glib to say that Senator Edward Kennedy, who passed late last night, was the climax to a summer filled with celebrity death. Kennedy emerged in an age when it seemed that fame and seriousness could perhaps more often be twinned. He was much more than a celebrity. He made spectacular mistakes; he left the scene of an accident in 1969 on Martha’s Vineyard, leaving a girlfriend dead behind him. He never made it to the top; the Presidency was denied him. Most sorrowfully, perhaps, he didn’t live to cast a vote to help health-care reform pass. (No promised land for this Moses.) I’d also like to mention something that will go mostly unnoticed in the eulogies: Kennedy was a long-time champion of public funding for the arts. He was more of a go-sailing guy than a go-to-the-opera guy, but like his brothers he grasped the importance of a society’s artists even if he himself was not instinctively artsy.

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