While the hands of time might persist in rendering us all genderless by 2030, there will always remain that one sect of “male”–that rare breed still born into money–that can’t help but be driven by an innate desire to usurp his father’s “success” (the Bush family generally comes to mind). This, in white “male” speak, pertains to 1) having more money and 2) procuring a more synthetic wife, paired with a younger mistress. As for poor sons born to middle class fathers, well, no one talks about them, unless it’s a story like A Bronx Tale.
The issue with this little plot to overthrow Daddy as the unshakeable patriarch is that no son can ever truly outshine the father that bore him into wealth in the first place. There is nothing impressive about a rich “boy” who becomes richer just because he slummed it a few years by not automatically becoming a CEO or senator. It goes against the very fabric of the falsity of the American dream, which still touts capitalism as a fair means to rise to the top by your own bootstraps. Thus, it is as Bob Dylan phrased it in “Temporary Like Achilles”: “I’m helpless, like a rich man’s child.”
That helplessness stems from the fact that a son can never outshine son cher papa on the integrity of merit. Even if he renounces access to the bank account and changes his last name, he will always know the cushion is there, just waiting to catch him if and when he should encounter a snag in the plan to Oedipally topple Father. And no, one doesn’t feel sorry for this pathetic and inane drive to outperform Dad’s success, particularly when the inheritance finally rolls in and the new patriarch by default–not by honor–can rename the family yacht anything cheeky directed at his father that he wants. The rich son wins by outliving his father, and by that alone. Just look at the Amises.