The Eliot Spitzer Hooker Psychodrama playing out in the mainstream media has reminded me of other examples of a SuperGenius father and a cursed son.

 First there was Mark Van Doren and his cheating son, Charles Van Doren.

Then there was Marlon Brando and his killer son, Christian Brando.

Now we have Bernard Spitzer and his whoring son, Eliot Spitzer.

What is it about these genius, hard-working, self-made, fathers that makes their sons so misbegotten?

Is it evolutionarily inevitable these sons-of-geniuses can never measure up to the brilliance of their fathers?

Do the sons have a clear realization it is their common destiny to fail to measure up to the mark of their fathers that makes them self-defeating in the public square?

Are these sons only able to propagate their bloodline by demonstrably disappointing — and then killing — the shadow of greatness their upright fathers have cast upon their fallen, mediocre, lives?

Can an ordinary son ever be free of the shine from a father that knows the son will never be the measure of the man he has earned and won?


  1. Hi David,
    This father-son legacy is an interesting one. Most of the time it is the second generation that is either too overwhelmed/overshadowed by their father�s achievement or they take everything for granted.
    The outcome is often negative and sad.

  2. Hi Katha!
    Yes! You are quite right. I wonder what it is about the generational failing of what is usually the eldest or only son failing to live up to the success of the father?
    It is the father’s fault, or the son’s?

  3. Hi David,
    I guess the second generation just ‘lose it’.
    They do not go through the same grilling in life as their father, at the same time they are overwhelmed by their fathers’ achievement – a lethal combination I think.

  4. That’s an interesting argument, Katha. The father blazes the path and the son merely follows what has already been fought for and that creates complicity and a sense of false comfort and “achievement” that is never earned.

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