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.)