What is it about Stephen Colbert? First Amy Chua, now Caroline Kennedy. Does Colbert stamp passports before they head to Chicago?
Amy "Tiger Mom" Chua roared on Colbert, came to Chicago and was named one of TIME magazine's most 100 influential people.
As powerful as Caroline Kennedy is, she didn't get me to read Yeats, but I did suceed in getting her to read Parneshia Jones' fabulous poem "Bra Shopping" with the first line:
"Saturday afternoon, Marshall Fields, 2nd floor, women's lingerie please."
And I loved her wisecracking, slightly sarcastic manner - she jokingly tried to have me read the poem.
She lost that futile effort, and went on to explain how she had heard Parneshia read the poem in New York, at an event with kids. It's a smart poem, one that spans a girl's life in just a few words. The funny thing is that until Kennedy started reading the poem, I realized that Parneshia Jones is from Chicago, and that I knew just who she was. Well, in this virtual world of ours, I read emails from her - she works at Northwestern University Press!
I talked to Parneshia the next day, and told her of the coincidence, which she found amusing. But then I realized that this poem had brought us together, as the audience had come together to listen to Caroline Kennedy read poems and, in her own way, extend the family legacy with her faith that words and ideas are powerful enough to change the world.
She set out for her next event, but what I might remember best was the hilarious story she told about buying a hospital-gown green linen bomber jacket, encouraged by her cousin Maria. When she modeled it for her grandmother who said: "That's lovely, dear. But in my day, we tried to buy things that suited us."