Saturday, October 31, 2009

Living in the Dadows

It doesn't happen often, but there are some dadows (generational shadows cast by near superhuman fathers) that are too large to escape, no matter how grand the child's accomplishments. In My Father's Shadow, the autobiography of Chris Welles Feder creater of the Brainquest empire) details what it is like to be successful in your own life but the child of genius — in her case auteur Orson Welles.

There is almost an affirmative action stigma ("you only got to that place with help...") to any achievement of the daughter or son of a GREAT man. So, even though, for example, Bernice King is accomplished as a reverend and attorney and (combining the two) as a toiler for civil rights, an article "celebrating" her election to president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council says little more about her personally than that she is the daughter of a great man, who was one of those who initiated the group and that her election is under a cloud of suspicion.

So, congrats to both Feder and King, but sympathies too: alas, you'll never be your own man.

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