Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 25, 2009

Utter Infantilization

John F. Kennedy and Caroline in Georgetown in 1958. Credit Ed Clark/Time & Life Pictures — Getty Images

I cringed in embarrassment when I saw this photo — of Caroline Kennedy and JFK in 1958 — leading the NYT WIR piece, A Fumbled Handoff of the Torch.”

The article packages Teddy’s seizure at the inauguration lunch with Carolyn’s Senate seat misadventure to confirm the official decline of the Kennedy family. Beyond dramatizing her as a political neophyte, the photo’s cherished quality plays on the criticism of Caroline as entitled, the use of the image (as a last word) as much as calling her a baby.

(image: Ed Clark/Time & Life Pictures — Getty Images)

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