I just finished watching a few minutes of Luke Russert, the college-aged son of late TV host Tim Russert on Larry King. The passing of Russert the elder was very sad, as is every premature death. But the rush to make Luke Russert the "hair apparent," as Paulie Walnuts might say, is annoying. And not just because Luke Russert seems to be talentless, uncharismatic, and smug. Why the hell is he on TV as the voice of young America? By virtue of his class status and connections, he represents the perspective of a tiny minority of Americans. Hopefully, like Theresa Heinz Kerry's "allegedly" hunky son, trotted out on the 2004 campaign trail, who the MSM assumed the nation would collectively swoon for, my guess is that Luke Russert's stab at fame will be greeted with incredulity and annoyance.
As a Canadian, I am familiar with this process: the neoliberal crook Brian Mulroney has a son who rode his connections to fame as host of "Canadian Idol"; Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's unctuous and punch-worthy sons tried to milk careers out of their last name (like Russert, the chiaorscuro photograph of whom holding his father's anchor chair is one of the tackiest mementos mori I have ever seen, one of Trudeau's kids used the immediate post-death phase to market his "brand," in a flamboyantly theatrical eulogy that still causes involuntary wincing); even Eugene Levy's son has a career in Canadian media, as a host of The Hills aftershow on MTV Canada. This is fitting, of course, because The Hills is itself a vehicle for raging nepotism. It stars Brody Jenner, idiot son of track star Bruce Jenner (now stepfather of another clan of nepotizzerz, the Kardashian daughters of one of OJ Simpson's lawyer), whose previous attempt to become famous was as part of evil idiot Spencer Pratt's reality show about stepfather David Foster. The Hills also features Laguna Beach veterans who would not have careers were it not for the accomplishments of their well-heeled parents. (Remember Lauren Conrad showing Stephen around her multitrillion dollar cliffside crib-in-progress, as if she had something to do with it?)
On E!, film critic Jeffrey Lyons's fucktard son Ben prances around as if he actually earned his way into show biz. Mike Wallace's son Chris holds court on Fox News, ranting against handout-hungry liberals. This year's big film Juno was directed by celebuspawn Jason Reitman (who claims to be a passionate libertarian--i.e. a fan of the free market and enemy of the social welfare state, which of course is a very principled and courageous position for one born rich, well-connected, and healthy. Douche.) Judd Apatow, Josh Schwartz, and Seth Rogen are also kids of industry types. They have used their edge to mainstream fag jokes and celebrate fratboy stoner machismo of a most unimaginative kind. Double douches. Not to mention the careers of Kate Hudson and Rumer Willis, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, Kimberly and Sean Stewart, Tori Spelling, Bill Kristol and George W. Bush. Douchosity to the power of douche.
Even on the left, nepotiz runs rampant. Witness the careers of Naomi Klein and Chesa Boudin. In my field, US History, many kids of the famous and well-connected rule the roost: David Brinkley's son Alan, for instance, and Alfred Kazin's son, Michael are two of the most prominent dudes in the discipline.
I know I should offer some deep analysis of nepotism and why I hate it so much. Lacking the patience or discipline to do so, all I can say is: it annoys me. I wish folks were more honest about it. I wish that young offspring of the famous and successful were less smug and complacent. And given the generally mediocre quality of their work and thinking, I wish we could see and hear instead from the folks they skipped ahead of. I bet they are less irritating.