Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Profiling Elizabeth Edwards

By Annys Shin

When a famous person dies, I'm always reminded of the differences between a tribute, an obituary, and a profile. Regardless of the format, the best writers are able to sum up a person's life without veering into hagiography or skipping over messy details.

If any subject warranted even-handedness and respect, it was Elizabeth Edwards -- the wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards -- who died Tuesday at the age of 61 after a long battle with cancer. Cable news outlets kicked off the process by which the public digests the passing of notable people with a constant barrage of commentary and images of Edwards, with her children or her husband, in better times.

Toward the end of her life, Edwards was not always able to control her public image and she came to be defined not by her prior career as a lawyer but as a cancer patient and the wronged wife of a philandering husband. Depictions of her ranged from dutiful and resilient to shrill and demanding.

The one benefit of having been in the public eye for so long, however, is that she was written about often while she was alive. If you want to compare a contemporaneous portrait of her with the posthumous ones, here is a profile of her from the St. Pete Times (hat tip to Gangrey.com).

By Annys Shin  | December 8, 2010; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Saying goodbye to Cabrini-Green
Next: Story Pick: Project Empowerment

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company