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May 5, 2008

Before The Heartbreak

RfksleepI was struck by this image of RFK in VF’s new article and slide show, The Heartbreak Campaign.

At first, I thought my reaction involved a fairly straight one-to-one connection between Bobby sleeping with his dog on the floor of this plane, and that fateful image burned into my memory from the floor of the Ambassador Hotel.

On reflection, though, I think there is more to it than that.  Nobody symbolized the politics of hope more than RFK (if the term even bears credibility anymore).  And then, this photo is so syrupy innocent (sleeping on the airplane floor!  curled up with his dog! THE AMERICAN WAY!), it makes the vibe of the current Presidential race feel about as dank as that ashtray compartment.

The Heartbreak Campaign slide show (Vanity Fair)

Article/book excerpt:
The Last Good Campaign (Vanity Fair)

(image: Bill Eppridge)

About the Photographer


  • Weisseharre

    “He was exemplary, an exemplar.
    But justice was far away, very far.
    Justice was really an ashtray to display
    The lynched carcass of a stubbed-out cigar,
    Part brown, part black, part stink, part ash.”
    from ‘BOYS’ (Elegy) By Frederick Seidel, quoted in May 2008 issue of Harper’s Magazine, p.22

  • boxcar

    AND RFK liked doggies!
    I knew there was something special about that guy!
    Such great photos throughout the VF spread.
    Thanks BagMan for sharing.

  • zenhound

    I totally can’t see a dog in that picture. What am I missing?
    Also, looking through the slideshow, I was shocked to see that Kennedy was allowed to drink tea. Imagine a candidate trying that today. Does anyone know if that became the defining moment of how out of touch he was with real ‘Murricans?

  • cenoxo

    …from the floor of the Ambassador Hotel.
    June 5, 1968 – A Final Blow to Camelot. It’s striking how much he looks like his brother in this picture.

  • Books Alive

    zenhound, Freckles is lying in the upper right, with RFK’s hand near his head. The fluffy, light color shows the paws and body, which extends under the seat.
    As far as drinking tea, that may be a Bostonian prediliction, and OK with his campaign!

  • zenhound

    Thanks–I can make out the dog now, but it looks somewhat ghostly. I thought the white color was smoke at first, since that was back when everyone smoked.

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