Former Slate-ster Mickey Kaus on His Favorite Slate Story

Slate Plus
Your all-access pass
April 10 2014 2:22 PM

Mickey Kaus’ Favorite Slate Story

The blogging pioneer remembers a 1999 satire of Kennedy remembrance.


Photo courtesy Mickey Kaus

Since our founding in 1996 (1996!), Slate has published tens of thousands of articles. We’ve asked a group of former Slate-sters to direct you to pieces they remember fondly from their time at the magazine.

In 1998, Mickey Kaus started writing Slate’s Chatterbox column. From 2002 to 2010, Kaus wrote Kausfiles, which was widely regarded as the first major political blog. Kaus, the author of The End of Equality, currently writes the KausFiles blog for Daily Caller.

My favorite Slate piece?

When John F. Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash, people who knew him well and some who didn't came forward with their recollections. We're now used to these outpourings, but this was 1999, before Twitter and Facebook. Many of the "JFK Jr. I Knew" pieces seemed to have a mildly delusional, self-aggrandizing quality that reminded me of the character Charles Kinbote, in Nabokov's Pale Fire, imagining his (in reality, nonexistent) relationship with a famous poet.

My friend Ellen Ladowsky (now Ellen Mezan) and I talked about producing a parody. I wrote a first draft, with some crude Kinbotic overtones, and sent it to Ellen, who if I remember right was at her mother's house in Toronto. When I called her (I made phone calls back then) she said she was rushing out the door and didn't really have any time but that I had it all wrong. "This is what it should say," she insisted, and proceeded to rapidly dictate about six paragraphs before hanging up. I wrote it all down and had the good sense not to change a word.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.