I got a bunch of responses to my call for examples of parent-child envy across gender lines , from mother to son and father to daughter. An on-point example: Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate (or Meryl Streep in the remake). Jeff Ryan writes in that these mothers "desparately, basely, (Clintonishly?) want their progeny's political power for their own." Other ideas that bring in more varieties of dysfunction: Medea (she kills her children to get revenge on her husband). The mother in Ordinary People (she is weirdly tied up with her teenage son, but isn't it more about compensating for the problems in her marriage than about feeling competitive?). Psycho (deeply screwed up mother-son connection in every way). A great father-son example, from another reader, Robert: Searching for Bobby Fischer, the line where the father says that his 8-year-old prodigy son is now better at chess than he himself has been at anything in his whole life.
And a personal example of father-daughter envy, from a third reader, Albert: "My five-year-old little girl comes in from her summer camp and we're talking. All of a sudden, I'm an out of touch old man. She rolls her eyes and flicks her head and is running down a path of social interaction that is second nature to girls and women. I'm the amateur." Not second nature to many of us. But I can see him standing by, slightly awestruck.
Photograph by Getty Images.
TODAY IN SLATE
Ben Bradlee Dead at 93
The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.
This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
I’m 25. I Have $250.03.
My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Forget Oculus Rift
This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.