Rob joins me to talk about Succession, through the penultimate episode of the series.
There are spoilers below, and throughout our conversation.
We discuss Ross Douthat’s recent piece on the series, and where I agree and disagree with him. We almost have inverse views on the lessons of the show, where Douthat says public opinion has been written out of it, while I think that the trend has been for mass sentiment and larger forces to intrude more on the personal struggles of the Roy family. Perhaps the point is that elites are in control as long as they’re strong and competent, like Logan clearly was, but not when they’re weak and divided, as are his children?
In the end, I think Shiv taking over makes the most sense. She was always brushed aside by her father due to his sexism, and it would be appropriate for the show to end with the triumph of the girlboss, while she’s pregnant and with the entirety of her womanhood on display, no less. Rob and I also discuss the possibility of Tom ending up running the empire with Shiv as the power behind the throne.
We’re both fascinated by the Jeryd Mencken character. Rob and I agree that a guy like that couldn’t be a plausible presidential candidate in real life. We spend a lot of time talking about what branch of the “dissident right” he represents. Is he supposed to be a Catholic traditionalist, a Nietzschean, a white nationalist, or some combination thereof? This leads me to talk about my idea of there being deep and overlooked contradictions within the American far right.
Speaking of Nietzsche, we both loved Kendall’s speech, which was an unapologetic defense of the man of action. While the two big eulogies were framed as giving “both sides” regarding the life of Logan, they can be seen as giving both sides of a debate that goes to fundamental questions of our political divide. How should we understand the past? Do we dwell on its flaws, and those of individuals and institutions that build great things, or do we celebrate what humanity has been able to accomplish despite the costs?
Listen here, or watch us on YouTube.
Douthat on Succession