It's Time for Some Dad Theory
Plus, 'Barry' and the importance of consequences.
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: "A Revolution Within a Constitutional Crisis"🔐
SECRET POD: Dark Fate🔐
SONNY BUNCH: ‘Barry’ and the Importance of Consequences.
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
MATT DINAN: It’s Time for Some Dad Theory.
It’s not news that conflating fatherhood and political rule—what some would call patriarchy—is a bad idea. The moral feasibility of the scheme aside, both fatherhood and governing are consuming pursuits. Even if I could bring my good and the public good into perfect alignment—and I can’t—it would be impossible to muster an absolute commitment to both simultaneously. The fact that many fathers attempt to do just that produces miserable outcomes, but it sure makes for great entertainment.
Two of the best shows of the last twenty years, Succession and Arrested Development, work so well in part because they remind us of the tragic and comic excesses of the rule of fathers. Patriarchy is a living reality in the Roy and Bluth families, and in both shows, it takes one of its last sanctioned forms: the family business. Each series opens with the paterfamilias refusing to retire. The announcement brings considerable chagrin to their adult children and other, more ambiguous figures who have been waiting in the wings for a job. This is a classic scenario, and one might even find in it echoes of Hamlet, a story about how stalling succession leads to arrested development, if you will.
Logan Roy and George Bluth Sr.—our tragic patriarch and our comic patriarch—are estimable, distant, occasionally threatening, and frequently inscrutable figures. Nobody ever really knows quite where they stand in relation to them. Solidarity among their children is rare, and alliances between them are usually temporary. The men withhold financial and emotional boons and deploy paternal approval only for the purpose of manipulation. Both delight in teaching dramatic “lessons” through humiliation and fostering sibling competition, and neither has many scruples when it comes to either the family or the business.
Mike Pence: Your career is over anyway. Put a stake in the heart of the guy who left you for dead — Trump sure sounds like he knows how bad the hearings are for him. Plus: Biden, moral clarity, and the Saudis. Tim Miller is back with Charlie.
Charlie Sykes joins the group to discuss the January 6 hearings, Biden’s record, and inflation (we warned about it!)
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
Thanks for tuning in last night to TNB! If you missed it, we opened the livestream to everyone, so catch up here:
SONNY BUNCH: ‘Lightyear’ Review
In the opening titles, we learn why this movie exists: In the year 1995, Andy, the little boy from Toy Story, saw a movie. That movie was this movie, and it would become his favorite movie, which in turn would inspire his mother to buy a toy from that movie (a Buzz Lightyear doll), who would in turn ruin the life of toy cowboy named Woody.
What Lightyear posits is: Maybe Woody was right to be annoyed that this joker was taking his spot on the bed?
The setup is simple enough: During a deep-space exploration mission, Captain Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) diverts from the planned trip to explore a previously unknown planet. While trying to escape the planet with the aid of fellow Space Ranger Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), Buzz crashes the ship and is forced to awaken the scientists on board in an effort to fix it, generate some new lightspeed crystals, and get everyone on their way.
OVERTIME is off today. Have a great weekend and a meaningful Father’s Day and Juneteenth. Here’s a photo from the road yesterday, outside of Winchester, VA.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.