Thursday, November 20, 2008
Fathers and Daughters
Antigone leading the blind Oedipus out of Thebes.
Normally when I randomly contemplate fathers and daughters it is in the context of either 1)poor martyred virgin saints slaughtered by pagan fathers furious at their refusal to be married off to an appropriate suitor, or 2) daughters (Antigone and Ismene) looking after their aged fathers, often while the brothers are off fighting battles or arguing over the kingdom, as do Polynices and Eteocles in Oedipus at Colonus.
There is no rational reason I should have observed that not since 1963, and John Kennedy Jr, has a son lived in the White House.
Every president since then has had daughters, often pairs of daughters, though occasionally just one. If they had sons they were much older and did not live with their presidential parents.
What does this signify? Don’t try running for president with young sons? Would a candidate with a teenage son be looked upon with extra suspicion? Or is it that fathers of daughters have more of that particular self-punishing ambition (hubris?) that animates a presidential contender?
And what of the daughters?