I have to take issue with Rosemary Kennedy being “retarded.” There’s some evidence that she had some mild mental disability, but the main reason she was seen as a burden because she was allegedly rebellious. The resulting vegetable was a result of a frontal lobotomy. The article really doesn’t make it clear whether Joe established the fund for biologically retarded children (of which she was only mildly) or for mentally disabled children in general. Rosemary’s claim to fame was the horrific post-lobotomy state, not the mild disability she was born with. I’d be interested to know what the real target of this fund is, because to my knowledge, Joe regretted and felt horrible for the results of the lobotomy for the rest of his life. It’s just conjecture on my part, but -that- strikes me as what would spur him into action.
Welcome to the SDMB, fluffyemu.
A link to the column you’re commenting on is appreciated. Providing one can be as simple as pasting the URL into your post. Like so: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_159.html
Nothing in the Wikipedia article confirms that she was “rebellious.”
She’s described as “tense and irritable, upset easily and unpredictably … tantrums … rages … convulsive episodes” and having “rages and loss of control. That is mental illness.”
Rebellious implies a completely different set of problems, and lobotomy as a response to rebelliousness implies a criminal offense instead of a misguided attempt at a cure.
That’s what I want a cite for.
And regarding the Merchandise Mart, it’s no longer owned by the Kennedy family. Here’s the first couple of sentences from an article in the New York Times of January 27, 1998: “The Kennedy family said today that it had sold its last operating business, the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, in a $625 million deal that unloaded a substantial portion of the family’s property holdings. The buyer, Vornado Realty Trust of Saddle Brook, N.J., will pay $465 million in cash, assume $50 million in debt and offer $110 million in securities. The deal also includes other properties in Chicago and in the Washington area.”
It’s not something I got on the internet - I learned it in one of my university psychology classes during a section on historically shocking treatments.
She’s described as “tense and irritable, upset easily and unpredictably … tantrums … rages … convulsive episodes” and having “rages and loss of control. That is mental illness.”>>
I can’t reply to the convulsive episodes because I’m unfamiliar with that claim, but being tense, irritable, easily upset and throwing tantrums DOES constitute rebellion. She was alleged to have had fits and snuck out at night and her parents were worried she’d go get pregnant. It was definitely a misguided attempt at a cure, though, but the question is for what - being a teenager? Lobotomies were the supposed cure all for a variety of “mood problems.” They weren’t just used for severe mental illness, there are many cases of use for depression and what parents-of-that-era viewed as “mood disturbances.” The normal activity of a female teenager now sometimes constituted a “mental illness” in that time. Joseph Kennedy’s acknowledged she may have had some mild mental retardation but that the lobotomy ruined her completely. She ended up a vegetable for the rest of her life and her father regretted it until his death.
I’m just curious what the foundation is actually targeted toward, because the most dramatic episode with his daughter wasn’t anything before the lobotomy, it was the horrible results of it.