Big-dog virtues

I laughed out loud a few times when reading this profile of Luke Russert: Why Does Young Washington Hate Luke Russert? This section from the opening is particularly good:

[Tim] Russert’s funeral, at which Luke spoke affectingly and with poise, is the opening set piece for Mark Leibovich’s This Town, which chronicles the city’s political-social strata in the Obama era. Leibovich calls Russert “the mayor,” and writes that “Tim possessed all of the city’s coveted big-dog virtues: He was not to be fucked with. He seemed happy and excited and completely confident at all times, and why not? His killer persona combined a Guy’s Guy exuberance with gravitas. Tim had a great table at the Palm and drank Rolling Rock from a bottle and ate good, manly food that wasn’t drizzled with anything.”

I think affectations are more often the result of self-consciousness rather than refinement. They’re often inauthentic. I don’t have a strong opinion of Luke Russert, but the New Republic makes the point that his father’s “big-dog virtues” were basically virtues of authenticity.

The crux is whether you look at Luke and think the attitudes, preferences, and habits he shares with his father derive from a cynical, self-conscious mimicking, or whether they’re basically authentic, too.

(What’s easier than forging an authentic lifestyle of one’s own? Preening over the perceived authenticity of another’s.)

Subscribe for free to receive most posts by email. Consider subscribing as a Patron for members-only posts.