While that list of names is most likely to remind you of the guys you most recently played beer pong with, in the minds of a previous generation these names were synonymous with the ideal of ""American royalty.""
With the last of the Kennedy brothers to pass, as does the last member of the last true American aristocracy to be heralded in the public eye, and with it shows a glaring change in what our society's tendencies to glorify, popularize and idolize.
What set the Kennedys apart from regular celebrities, and made them akin to those monarchs of a bygone era is a mixture of things.
They were popular, attractive, powerful and wealthy. They were also highly involved in the running and improvement of our country, with President John F. Kennedy at the peak of American political power.
Compare their tragic, yet sympathetic history to that to the reputation of the jaded Clintons, the fallen Bushes and the freshly minted Obamas and it becomes clear that no political dynasty in the present has reached both the beloved status or overarching influence that the Kennedys once held.
On the other hand, those families who have obtained the Kennedys' level of popularity are far from hallmarks of political change or humanitarian efforts.
The most popular brothers I think of in American culture today are probably those of the Jonas variety.
And while we have always idolized musicians, actors and those more successful than ourselves, the fact that we no longer have a true set of paragons within the realm of leadership and government within our nation is, at the very least, sad.
It is a reflection of an American culture with shifting perspectives and increased cynicism toward those who lead our government.
The shifting perspectives, specifically, reflect a culture that is much more interested in following the minutia in the lives of pop stars than developing an understanding and interest in the individuals who run their country.
The cynicism may not be completely unearned, but it still represents a cause for concern.
The result being that our society has begun to seek its opinions and explanations for world events not from those who are currently shaping domestic and world affairs, but those actors and comedians who do their best to manipulate those current events into a joke.
While in the past one's legitimacy and ability contributed to their popularity, it seems like the reverse has become the acceptable trend.
As a result, Jon Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher and Sean Penn have managed to develop reputations for political savvy by leeching popular sentiment and preaching to a choir in need of a much more qualified reverend.
While the political analysis of those mentioned and others are surely valid and useful on many accounts, by focusing our attention solely on those outside of the actually political sphere (and those they choose to ridicule), one loses a useful context of the actual status of politicians and leaders who are not wrapped up in the spin and melodrama of modern political satire.
As a result, those votes of senators and representatives who are without scandal or humorous character flaws are left in the dust of irrelevancy; a large portion of those affecting actual change and impact on our political sphere are mostly ignored, just because they lack the spark of celebrity. They're just not as fun to watch.
The answer, it seems, is far outside the grasp of a few concerned citizens and has much to do with the actual character of those who manage to ""hope"" and ""believe"" their way into power.
So while it might be a stark example of the rampant cynicism I was previous critiquing, I have no desire to wait for the current administration or members of its immediate family to stand up and magically solve our problems while looking particularly photogenic.
Instead I would make a call for my peers to do a personal assessment and investigation of themselves, their personal beliefs and the leaders/politicians that capably represent them.
We should develop an interest in our leaders out of personal interest in becoming more involved with this world which directly affects our lives.
— Remy Albillar is a junior majoring in English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.