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Song Parodies -> "Ode To Mary Jo (Kopechne)"

Original Song Title:

"Ode To Billy Joe"

Original Performer:

Bobbie Gentry

Parody Song Title:

"Ode To Mary Jo (Kopechne)"

Parody Written by:

Fiddlegirl and Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

It was 18th, July, a happy Chappaquiddick party day
The guys were out gettin' snockered and decidin' whom each would lay
At 11:15, sopped, Teddy drove off, dirty louse; girl, sweet
'Cause he had hollered to his chauffeur, "You can stay here, and rest your feet"
And then I heard some TV news next mornin', while searchin' fridge
Last night, Mary Jo Kopechne: driven off the Chappaquiddick Bridge

Teddy said at inquest, she had asked "Back to my hotel, please"
But Mary Jo, saying that, would make no sense: Left her purse and keys [1]
You lying faker, party thrower, court, she: you want to plow
C'mon, you don't give a da*n about Mary Jo, anyhow
Pregnant wife at home, you scum; you're no good; got that c*ck-hard itch
And now Mary Jo Kopechne's lying in an underwater ditch

And Teddy said he recollected that he had dived for Mary Jo
Seven times, then went back to the Lawrence Cottage bungalow
Why wasn't he callin' the cops to go search for her that night?
Gosh, he's just Mom and Flag and Apple Pie, but still, it don't seem right
He left her underwater, snuffed her life out like a midge [2]
And Bobby's staffer, Mary Jo's trapped underneath the wood Dike Bridge [3]

Teddy said that he cried at what happened to that girl last night
But by early next morning, he was chattin' such like all was right [4]
This nice, young creature: Teddy, nail her, then run away
And be absolved as a sinner on Sunday: "Hail Marys", say
The evidence unfurled; it looked: manslaughter charge, soon, for crime, you'll pay
But Judge and Jury, Grand, and State Attorney made the charges go away [5] [6]

A year has come and gone since we heard the news about Mary Jo
And Teddy's still a U.S. Senator; never off to jail, did go
Suspended license; guilty found: leaving accident; no more charge, bring
All the Kennedys, it seems, can get away with 'bout anything
And me, I see an awful crime, and some flowers on a graveyard ridge
I'd fling Ted's corpse, for his dirty slaughter, off the Chappaquiddick Bridge.

[1] As mentioned in "Chappaquiddick", Mary Jo left her purse and her hotel key at the party when she left with Ted, which would hardly be consistent with asking to be taken back to her hotel room.

[2] "midge" - a gnat-like insect, frequently found near ponds and lakes

[3] Dike Bridge was its actual name, but as the party took place on Chappaquiddick Island, and the incident is known by that name, said name is used here for both recognition and poetic purposes.

[4] Back at his hotel that same night, Kennedy complained at 2:55 am to the hotel owner that he had been awakened by a noisy party. (Oh, the air is thick with irony! .... and obviously he was not kept awake by "conscience", whatever that is.) By 7:30 am the next morning, he was talking "casually" to the winner of the previous day's sailing race, with no indication that anything was amiss.

[5] Also as per the footnotes to "Chappaquiddick" as per [1], the Supreme Court's inquest, held in secrecy, found probable cause that Kennedy's negligence had caused the death of Ms. Kopechne. The Judge could therefore have issued a warrant for Kennedy's arrest on the charge of manslaughter, but for reasons unknown, did not. The District Attorney could have pursued that same charge based on the Judge's findings, but for reasons unknown, did not.

A Grand Jury was convened to determine if an indictment should be issued; however, the evidence and findings of the *secret* inquest, which had not yet been released, were not allowed to be seen by the Grand Jury. The District Attorney, who *had* attended the inquest and seen the Judge's report, *told the grand jury* that there was not enough evidence to indict Senator Kennedy on potential charges of manslaughter, perjury, or driving to endanger, despite the fact that the Judge's report said that there was in fact such probable cause. Only four witnesses were called, but they were not ones who had testified at the inquest. Given this severe squelching of information, findings, evidence, and witnesses, the Grand Jury did not issue any indictments -- how could they?

[6] (Terminology only) State Attorney, District Attorney -- different states use different terms, but they both refer to the same office: The chief prosecutor who represents the State, and/or the People of said State, in prosecuting criminal defendants.... as in, "The State of New York vs. John Doe", or "The People of the State of California vs. Jane Doe". Although Mass. uses "District Attorney", it was tweaked to its equivalent so that the line would pace to the OS.

© 2009 Fiddlegirl and Tommy Turtle. All rights reserved. E-mail:

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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.8
How Funny: 4.8
Overall Rating: 4.8

Total Votes: 16

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   1
 2   0
 3   0
 4   0
 5   15

User Comments

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Patrick - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Tough original song to work with. You got it just right.
Guy - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
FG & TT - You two have done it again - it gets better with every Mary Jo write. I know how her family feels - I've been there and thanks again for writing another one on this matter. It just can't be overdone. Thanks.
blackjack21 - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Another fine write. Still can't believe he got away with that. (Gee, wonder what would have happened if Mary Jo had been driving and Teddy boy was the one that drowned?)
Mark Scotti - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
That was fiddleturtlricious! Magnificent ode....
Michael Pacholek - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
You're the ones who don't give a damn about Mary Jo. To you, she's just a political tool, someone to hit liberals over the head with. Do you even know why she was there? It was a party given for people who worked on the 1968 Presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. She was a devoted Democrat, and if she had lived she'd be the first to tell you what a bunch of (words that ChuckyG won't let me use here) you are. Who knows, if it had been at the Shrivers' place in Baltimore, it might have been Mary Jo who lived and Nancy D'Alessandro who didn't, and instead of Speaker Pelosi we might have Speaker Kopechne (D-PA) today, and you'd be calling her a Communist. I don't have to ask, as Joseph Welch did to Joe McCarthy: You have left no sense of decency, at long last. It was an accident -- unlike Watergate, Iran-contra, and the war in Iraq given to us by Bush and Cheney -- who, unlike Ted, actually have been convicted of drunk driving.
Long Arm of the Law - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Quite a difference between accident and negligence. I seriously doubt that MJK was so devoted that she would willingly give her life for a cad like Kennedy, but we can't ask her can we? Full of ifs and mights, but I'm looking for some facts from you. Decency? For someone who got away with manslaughter? Surely you jest, but I fear you do not. What happened was wrong and the man made a joke out of it. Sad.
AFW - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
555 votes for a good technical write
TJC - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Kennedy kook-out ala historical song leavening! I'm Lovin' the Rhynamic Duo's (FGilbert & tChelonivan?) output replete with footnotery extendiamus maximus.... All aboard the Harry Potter/FG/TT Express--you know... the Chap-a-Quiddich Choo Choo?! (Ive got my fare--and just a little to spare...)
Guy @ MP - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Did your little rant flame make your left brain feel all better now? Sheesh throw a hissy why don't you. I had the same sort of thing happen to me when I lost my daughter due to medical malpractice and the powers to be saw to it that my family and me never got any closure on the matter so unless you've been where I have and the Kopechne's have been I suggest you stuff it where the sun don't shine, sir.
TT @ Michael Pacholek - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
"She was a devoted Democrat". Well, then, that makes it all right, doesn't it? Let's all remember that killing dedicated Democrats is OK, per Michael Pacholek.

"To you, she's just a political tool," .. To Ted, she was just a political liability, having graduated to that elevated position from her previous status as "side piece". Yes, we know why she was there ... did you *read* all the research that went in to today's and yesterday's footnotes? Of course not. Ted showed his gratitude for her hard staff work by killing her. (Warning to future potential Dem staffers.) Then he hushed it up, as detailed.

"someone to hit liberals over the head with", when obviously, they'd much prefer that everybody just forget that the whole thing happened. I don't think the Kopechne family ever will -- do *you* give a damn about *them* -- or about the dead girl, for that matter?

What is wrong with stating the truth, in the face of all the outpourings of what a hero this cowardly killer was? Oops. I know what's wrong. Stating the truth is inconvenient to your illusions, It's always painful to have one's bubble burst. The truth hurts, huh, Mike? Too bad -- it's still true, and not a single thing you said makes it not true.

I'm sure that when she signed up to be a staffer, she fully understood that it entailed the risk of being *allowed to die*. See "Chappaquiddick" yesterday for the testimony of the diver who said that there had been an air bubble in the car, and that had TK called promptly, it's very likely that the diver could have saved her. Oh, Liberal Compassion! 'Tis a fine thing, indeed!

"actually have been convicted of drunk driving". How could he have been convicted when he so carefully made sure that he would not be in contact with the police until well after his blood alcohol level had dropped or gone to zero. 11:15pm -- 10am next day -- no witnesses -- *Don't you think that's part of the reason he NEVER called?* Only when the body was discovered and the cops were there, and of course traced the car back to Teddy, did he go to the Edgardtown police station.

The avoidance of a DUI conviction still isn't the biggest issue. Did Bush or Cheney kill anyone with their DUIs? Or flee a fatal accident, in itself a felony in most states? Or deliberately let the victim die to protect themselves? Strange scale of values you have there, my friend.

"Joe McCarthy" -- who was strongly supported by Papa Joe Kennedy, who arranged for Bobby to be on Joe's staff, so that when the Senate called for a vote of censure, then-Senator John F. Kennedy told someone, "How can I vote against McCarthy, when my brother works for him? .. Or did you not know any of that? Fear not, we'll continue your education in tomorrow's parody.

Michael, rationalize and sling back mud all you like. This is all true, and it isn't going away. That you condone, rationalize, and apologize for it says far more about you than anyone else could say. No personal attack needed here -- you've attacked yourself very nicely.

The truth is true. Deal with it, my friend.
Fiddlegirl @ MP - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
"To you, she's just a political tool"... apparently she was to TK, too... Oh, wait-- that *was* TK... Never mind.
Guy - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Yeah dress 'em up put nice new military uniforms on them, give them weapons and ammunition. What do they do? They eat the bullets and shoot their mouths orr. =;-)
f**k 'em all - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Nearly any MF in gov't. can get away with anything. . .just look at the last maladministration, for example. I'm amused by the partisan sniping. They're all scum, though it is a matter of degree.
TT - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Patrick: Thank you very much. Enjoyed the challenge, actually. Thanks for v/c.

Guy: "It just can't be overdone". Good, because there's one more coming tomorrow -- but it'll be the last of the series, we promise. Thanks for v/c, and again, condolences on your loss.

blackjack21: WHOA, that *is* an interesting question! Since the killers of the other two Kennedys were either imprisoned for life or had their heads blown off, we'd assume that Mary Jo would similarly "disappear", or spend decades in prison. ... yeah, it's hard to believe, but money talks louder than justice. Thanks for v/c.

Mark Scotti: And nutritious, too :) Here are the thanks that you're owed for v/c-ing our ode! Long Arm of the Law: Not to mention willfully fleeing the scene and refusing to call for help... I'm afraid MP does not jest; he really believes that. Thanks for v/c.

AFW: Thank you, and as you've told us before that you lean to the Left yourself, is there any chance that *you* could explain to MP how the technical quality of a parody is unrelated to whether you agree with it politically? Perhaps he'll listen to you, but I doubt it. Thanks again for the v/c and for separating your politics from your parody judging.

TJC: I'm lovin' all these clever names ya keep coming up with for us... and "Chappaquiddick Choo-Choo" would be funny, if it weren't so tragic.
"FGilbert & tChelonivan?" ROFL -- and a heady comparison, indeed. Thanks for v/c!

Guy The Movie: Tell it as it is, Brother!

Guy The Third: ROFLMAO!
Guy - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
Thanks TT - I got FG and your back on these TK/MJK parodies. Unless you have lost a loved one and the government was responsible and they crap on you when you try to get some answers, then you don't really know how it feels. I do and that is why I flamed MP off.

And on Guy the third - glad you read through my typo - "orr" should have read "off" but you know that.
Timmy1000 - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
TT and FG - a superb write and as soon as I saw the OS used, it seemed liked such an obvious match. It looks like today's parody has brought more discussion. What I never understand (and this is for either side) is why some folks think they can do whatever they want and it won't come out, or if it does, they won't be hurt by it. This is especially true even today when you have the internet and people with cameras everywhere. The power just goes to their heads.
Tommy Turtle - September 01, 2009 - Report this comment
f*** 'em all: I tend to agree that all politicians are scum; the exceptions are so unfortunately rare, and getting rarer. ... The partisan sniping in Govt. sux, but if you meant the partisan sniping here, at least we try to document ours with facts. Thanks for stopping by, reading, voting, and commenting.

Timmy1000: I believe that you answered your own question in your last sentence. The Kennedys just had too much money and power, and thought they were above the law. Apparently, they were, to some degree, although JFK Jr. discovered that he wasn't above the laws of nature and aerodynamics. Thanks for v/c.
Guy - September 02, 2009 - Report this comment
@Timmy1K - My flame was personal. It had nothing to do with politics. It was a slap in my face - it was just as if it were the government once again stifling me when all that I wanted was answers and an acknowledgment from them that they were at fault - never happened. So on a personal note I side with Mary Jo's family - we belong to the same club.

And I agree with TT - pretty much all politicians are scum. I'm more interested in truth than politics. Yeah I may lean to the right but then I am a conserative having spent 21 plus years defending the constitution and people of this country. I served my country with honor - I just don't like seeing Lady Liberty getting trashed. It's like I'd wasted 21 years of my life. I was very nearly killed by a terrorist bomb in Frankfurt Airport on Jun 19TH 1985 while serving my country. I just like an even playing field.
FG @ Guy - September 02, 2009 - Report this comment
xoxo...Muah! :D
Timmy1000 - September 02, 2009 - Report this comment
Guy, I hope my "for either side" wasn't taken by as personal - my "either side" meant all of the politicians. I read and understand your personal battles. They are supposed to be working for us, but most don't seem to understand that.
rob - September 05, 2009 - Report this comment
kennedy was a murderer and i'm still glad he's gone. we'd all get locked up for not paying a parking ticket..
Tommy Turtle - September 06, 2009 - Report this comment
rob: amen, brother. thanks for v/c.
Melanie Lee - October 20, 2009 - Report this comment
I was in the middle of your My Fair Lady spoof and I made a side trip over here. I onlly glanced at this parody. You're not the first to write an Ode to Mary Jo set to this OS. The National Lampoon magazine published one some 40 years ago, soon after the incident happened. Maybe you can find it online.
Tommy Turtle - October 20, 2009 - Report this comment
Melanie Lee: Well, that was way before my time, of course.... (heh heh) ... wasn't aware.

Dupe title switches are not uncommon and often accidental, esp. if it's an easy "get". So long as the lyrics are different... by the way, did National Lampoon match TOS as closely as we did (syllable-matching, etc.?)

Uh... did you *like* this? I know you're a liberal, but letting a girl die to save your image ... I class you much higher than MP's rant, so your comment is welcome.
TT PS @ Melanie Lee - October 20, 2009 - Report this comment
"The National Lampoon magazine published one some 40 years ago"

It would have to be almost exactly 40 years ago, or less, as the incident happened in July 1969. They probably didn't publish it before the incident. (wink.)
Brock O'Brahma - August 12, 2012 - Report this comment
Anyone reading "Latest Comments", click on this parody!!! There is a SuperPAC ad linking Romney to the death of a woman who died of cancer. Bain closed a plant she worked at (after Romney left). She died a few years after that. In "Ode To Mary Jo (Kopechne)", FG and TT show an example of a politician (Ted Kennedy) DIRECTLY responsible for a womans death. Political ads have come completely undone with "six degrees of separation" in linking Romney with this other womans death.
Tommy Turtle - August 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Brock O'Brahma: Thanks, but you left out a critical detail or two, victim of the same media bias:

1) The woman did find other employment after the steel plant closed. She had health insurance at that subsequent job. She left the job because of an injury -- details unclear, what with media blackout --- and if it was not an on-the-job injury, no worker's comp coverage. THEN she was found to have cancer.

2) Bain specialized in start-ups and turn-arounds, the riskiest of business ventures, and hence, potentially high rewards, or else, why take the risk? The US steel industry has been in decline for half a century. Plastics, fiberglass, imports -- look at some of the great names like US Steel:

    "It is still the largest domestically owned integrated steel producer in the United States, although it produces only slightly more steel than it did in 1902."

Bain successfully turned around another failing steel company, saving 7,000 jobs. They were unable to save this one. BUT the company would have gone bankrupt anyway, so their efforts allowed the employees to keep their jobs for about another two years, IIRC.

Overall, again IIRC, Bain was successful in 24 out of 25 of these ultra-high-risk ventures, which risked *only their own money, not the taxpayers' money*. [1] No one in the Majors bats .960 (96% success rate). Those jobs were gone anyway, but the media won't tell you that.

[1] Unlike Solyndra, in which the Obama Administration risked, and lost, more than half a billion of taxpayer dollars, while major donors and fundraisers for Obama, notably George Kaiser, made tens of millions of profits from the bankrupt firm. Who's the "vulture capitalist" now, huh?

Solyndra parody/backstory:
Brock O'Brahma - August 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Thanks, TT, for deconstructing that reprehensible attack ad. This will be the nastiest election cycle yet, with Obama, again, enjoying majority support from the Fourth Estate. Or is that Filth Estate?
TT - August 13, 2012 - Report this comment
It's become the Fake Estate (as opposed to "Real Estate").
Dave W. - August 13, 2012 - Report this comment
It's a world,world,world,world mad.....according to at least one magazine ...btw loved your parody
Tommy Turtle - August 14, 2012 - Report this comment
Dave W.: Long time, no see! (my bad, of course) Nice to see you again, and thanks for the read and comment!

(Mad Magazine™ was an early source of inspiration and guidance in song parody for yours truly.)
Skiwheels - March 31, 2013 - Report this comment
I'm convinced that there is no justice or a legal system in this country. It's a sham. If you have enough money and/or political connection you can literally get away with murder. ( O.J. or Teddy). Same goes for military service. I'm the same age as Slick Willie, but when I got drafted I served. I didn't have the connections or money that he had. Maybe that's what the demo-socialists call social justice. Just let the poor serve time in the military and prison.
Lifeliver - March 31, 2013 - Report this comment
@ Skiwheels Well said, but I wouldn't ascribe this kind of administrative corrruption and perversion of justice to any political orientation - it occurs across the spectrum and just seems to be the nature of the beast regardless of the ideals aspired to by the system, from far left to far right. But all power to those who expose and resist it, sometimes at risk to their lives.
Tommy Turtle - April 01, 2013 - Report this comment
@ Skiwheels: Sadly, I must agree with your assessment of our country's tragic misdirection and decline. Thanks for reading and commenting.

@ Lifeliver: Agreed that it occurs under any political, social, or religious system.
As Lord Acton so accurately noted, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
The Kennedys had almost absolute power in this country during their "reign".

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