When I first watched Succession, I found myself studying the character of Logan Roy wondering why he reminded me of my father. One was a tyrannical, irascible, media mogul, and the other was just my dad. Of course, my dad could be tyrannical at times, and if he was never a media mogul, he was a bit of a mover and shaker in his day. And perhaps that was some of it – that sense of authority, in voice and body and general attitude. Someone who commanded attention because they expected it.
There were other cues. Logan Roy is a cunt; I’m pretty sure my dad would’ve been described the same at some point, though not nearly in the same league. Still and all, I can recall specific modes of my father when he would mix contempt with disdain. He was not above ridicule. That was not his persona per se – in general terms, I think my dad was a reasonable human being – but he could stoop to such behaviour. The sort of behaviour that Logan Roy delights in.
Watching Succession was an interesting experience for me because there seemed a lot I could understand, and not just because of my dad. I’ve never really moved in such elevated circles, though I’ve rubbed shoulders with wealth. My family would’ve been upper-middle-class, as I was pretty much, but enough was going around to be familiar with the good life and to catch a glimpse every so often of those who had both wealth and power.
All of this now is of interest because I had lunch yesterday with my dad for the second time in ages.
Dad is different these days. He’s an older, more frail, version of the man I remember. His health was better yesterday than the time before. I remember him as a hard-driving character whose passion was his work. He was reluctant to give it away, and it was only poor health that forced him to in the end, past his 70th birthday.
He’s now retired, and the impetus that was so evident in him has wound down. He tells me he’s happy, has a good life, and that he avoids situations and people who might confound that. It seems to be the case looking at him, and I’m happy that he’s come to this point. It’s odd at the same time because it feels foreign to what he was. What I remember of him, anyway. He has nothing in common with Logan Roy now.
He asked me about my new job and listened intently as I explained it to him. He was always interested, but always ready to cast judgement also. Yesterday he had a smile on his face as I told him. He nodded his head, seemed to agree with comments I made. Yesterday he accepted it for what it was and was happy for me.
I’m happy for him. It must be a lot lighter load to take on the world without prejudice. I’d like to try it myself sometime.