jackie onassis, the photog and the swedish porno

folks, it’s all “why jackie can never get enough” all the time these days, so bear with me. because i’m wading through an intellectual morass trying to arrive at Deep Thoughts on “life-fictions” and the only way i know how to power through that is by writing about jackie onassis eating ice cream.

here is my favoritest thing about “why jackie can never get enough.” (well, one of them.)

it’s an article built around a photograph of jackie salaciously licking ice cream and we get one measly little sexy detail. mind you, i’ve a university of chicago humanities degree so you know i’ma analyze that one detail for all its worth.

so, in the breakdown of a week in the life of the onassises, we read this: “sunday. jackie and ari attend a late-afternoon screening of the naughty swedish movie, i am curious (yellow).”

much like how when they married, the priests were as pissed by the couple’s mixed faiths as they were by the shortness of jackie’s skirt, the scandal here has less to do with the main event (jackie and ari seeing a blue movie) than the ancillary details (they did so on a sunday afternoon! blushes!). add to that the fact that the former first lady may have whipped out some martial arts against a photographer as she left the theater and you’ve got a formula for a frenzy.

as MOTION PICTURE reports: “jackie allegedly judo-flipped a photog as she was leaving [the] movie i am curious (yellow). ari was inside unaware of his wife’s strength.”

it’s a perfect tabloid cocktail, and yet it tells us very little about mrs. onassis as a “lover,” which is what this section of “why jackie can never get enough” purported to do. we learn that she’s liberal enough to attend a skin flick with her husband but, in its haste to address the kerfuffle with the photographer, the article totally ignores something.

jackie left mid-movie.

that, my friends, is a circumstance ripe for speculation.

(btw, the porn palace decor is uh-mazing! they seem to have lifted their wallpaper from versailles!)

ari stayed, she didn’t. jackie’s tabloid narrative is filled with moments of dissonance such as this, moments upon which it is tempting to impose a secret power-struggle. a dissonance that it is tempting to think readers of the time couldn’t have failed to see.

jacqueline onassis never explained why she left the movie. we’ll never know. and so how should we read it? what would readers make of it? did they suppose she would have gone back, were it not for the photographer? or did they think she was trying to be sexy, to please her husband perhaps, but she couldn’t quite pull it off? she couldn’t stomach the nudity or the sex or the Swedish subtitles.

as the story is told in “why jackie can never get enough,” readers could speculate that even Jackie has her limits. whether or not this is true, as readers, they can relate to it. as women, we may try to experiment, to push the boundaries, to stretch the context of who we are and then we hit a wall and that is us and we are stuck with ourselves.

jackie, we discover, (if we want to, if that’s how we choose to read her here) is a woman who can only sit through half of i am curious (yellow).

in reality, she didn’t judo-flip the photographer. he tripped. but what does it say about readers, the media, and the calcification of myth that, in jackie lore, this episode is commonly evoked as truth? it’s a tale wherein jackie, a character who so rarely seems in control of her narrative, is cast as a dominatrix. she is, undoubtedly, in charge—an event that, though it’s occurring in fiction, is electrifying nonetheless.

(photographs from Motion Picture 1/71 and TV Radio Mirror  01/70)

One thought on “jackie onassis, the photog and the swedish porno

  1. Pingback: jackie onassis, the porno, the photog, the flip and k.stew | finding jackie

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