UnNews:Lady Bird biography "unkind"

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12 July 2007

Lady Bird: beautify thyself

NEW YORK, New York -- Sensationalistic celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley has done it again: after dishing the dirt on such famous figures as Ronald Reagan and Oprah Winfrey, the controversial writer has published Giving Lady Bird the Bird. Her account of the late former First Lady is considered “insulting” by many, but, according to its author, the tome “merely takes a Freudian look at the life and mind of LBJ’s better half.”

Literary critic Lester Bender said, “Judging by Kitty’s unkind book, Lady Bird Johnson was more her husband’s bitter half than his better half.”

The biography contends that Lady Bird launched her “Beautify America” campaign because she was convinced that she was less than beautiful herself. “In fact, according to Kitty,” Bender says, “the former First Lady regarded herself as downright ugly.” Kelley quotes Lady Bird as once having told LBJ, “My ugliness is so grim.”

She even thought her given name, Claudia, was ugly, which is why, Kelley says, she adopted the nickname Lady Bird, naming herself after one of her mother's pet finches.

A polytheist, she believed in a multiplicity of gods, Kelley confides to her readers, and saw her beautification campaign "as a means of creating harmony that will appease the deities who rule this world.” She also believed that beauty could improve the “mental health” of Americans, although, Kelley suggests, it did little to improve Lady Bird’s own state of mind. “She should have called herself Loony Bird, not Lady Bird,” the biographer declares. “She was nuttier than a loon.”

In a short-lived attempt to beautify herself, Lady Bird solicited donations from the survivors of deceased relatives who had “exquisitely beautiful features.” It was her intention, at the time--well in advance of today’s face transplant technology--to replace the features of her own face, one by one. Several donors contributed eyes, ears, noses, and lips, but LBJ convinced his wife not to go through with the surgery, advising her that she should improve the appearance of her breasts rather than her face. Lady Bird agreed to forego what amounted to a piecemeal face transplant, Kelley says, in favor of breast augmentation surgery. However, unlike her husband, who delighted in showing reporters his surgical scars, Lady Bird refrained from exhibiting the results of her surgery to the public as part of her ongoing campaign to “keep America beautiful.”

It is largely because of Lady Bird’s leadership, Kelley contends, that today’s actresses routinely seek breast augmentation surgery, liposuction treatments, collagen lip-injections, and other cosmetic surgical operations. “In a way, Michael Jackson owes his face to Lady Bird,” the biographer contends.

Giving Lady Bird the Bird is due on bookstore bookshelves across the nation by July 4, 2008.

Already, Kelley is working on her next "hit piece," a biography of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, tentatively called Jackie: The Story of O.