John F. Kennedy Jr. was born in the brightest of spotlights — and he handled it as well as might be expected. A lawyer who had a little trouble with the bar exam (failing it twice), JFK Jr. eventually both passed the bar and founded George magazine, a humorous and incisive political monthly that launched with great fanfare in 1995. It didn’t hurt that he put supermodel Cindy Crawford on the cover dressed as George Washington.
If JFK Jr. was a political natural, his first steps into the arena would be through the print media, not the stump. (His father plied the printed word too, of course, winning a Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage while he was still a young Massachusetts senator.) The tragedy of JFK Jr.’s early death means we’ll never know what he might have made of political office had he later chosen the family business. That lost dream — even if it belonged more to the public than to Kennedy himself –is the subject of the documentary I Am JFK Jr., which premieres on Spike TV on August 1. As it was, George represented Kennedy’s longest sustained contact with the public, publishing from 1995 until 2001, and ceasing not long after his death in 1999. Exemplifying Kennedy’s open-mindedness, George published both Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken. The electrifying Norman Mailer, too.