It seems fitting that this particularly gruesome year in the annals of American plutocracy, which has seen a pouty billionaire insult comic rise to the summit of a major-party presidential primary field, should end with an entitled, life-destroying teenager’s dissolute, south-of-the-border joyride.
Yes, Ethan Couch, the drunken, manslaughtering lout known to headline writers across the land as the “affluenza teen”, spent the waning days of 2015 on the lam from Texas law enforcement after incautiously advertising a possible violation of the terms of his 2013 probation in view of a smartphone camera.
Can’t say that I’m all that much in favour of this dork but let’s go to the political bit of this piece:
Again, consider Potus 41. George W Bush was another Texas-raised hellion who had every gilded path before him lovingly smoothed by his fabulously well-to-do family. It’s true that he never killed anyone with a car. But once he completed his lackluster tours at Andover and Yale, he careened carelessly from one family-arranged sinecure to another, sinking deeper into general dissolution and alcoholic depression.
Yep, gotta be the Republicans, right? Because we do get the Kennedy reference:
And Bush was, of course, but one in a long American train of dubiously accomplished scions of privilege kept at fastidious arm’s length from the consequences of his own actions. The Kennedy clan is a sturdy, time-tested manufactory of scandal swept under any number of well-appointed rugs, from the grim and boozy exploits of Edward Kennedy to the notorious drug-and-sex indulgences of JFK. (The Kennedys, like many high-rolling American clans, left an especially grim roster of bruised, broken and dead women in their wake – a legacy that, as Maureen Callahan rightly notes, gets briskly swept under the stirring woe-is-them rubric of the “Kennedy curse”.)
Except we don’t get the obvious point that Teddy really did drunkenly kill someone with a car.
That just wouldn’t quite fit the narrative, would it?