We’re Living in the Golden Age of Garbage Sons
Everywhere you look, tortured white men are showcasing the fine art of failing up
Hunter Biden is the true poster boy for a generation of Garbage Sons.
The 49-year-old is currently on a mea culpa tour of sorts to publicly atone for a lifetime of profiting from a personal and professional identity centered around being “the son of Joe Biden.” And while he may have unwittingly triggered the impeachment inquiry into the president for his work in Ukraine, Hunter’s certainly no hero for the cause. In his first televised interview since the scandal broke, he told ABC News on Tuesday that he used “poor judgment” in taking up lucrative business gigs abroad. Yet he’s adamant that he never leveraged his father’s political status to his personal gain.
“I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden,” Hunter admitted.
It seems like everywhere you look, there’s a Garbage Son coasting on the privilege of their family name. Don Jr. and Eric Trump are obvious examples — they make it so easy to mock their roles as incompetent hype men to their father. And if HBO’s Succession shows us anything, there’s nothing better than watching privileged men fail. The fictional Roy brothers — Connor, Kendall, and Roman — are transparent in their pathetic attempts to impress their father, each tortured by varying degrees of denial and self-loathing.
The open secret is that none of these Garbage Sons are particularly smart, adept, or even that successful in their own right. They’re a special breed of mediocre white men, whose birthright allows them to fuck up and fail up at the same time. Their accomplishments are obviously tied to their family names, which have enabled dynasties to thrive far past their peak. Perhaps until now.
For the first time in his life, Hunter Biden has been forced to publicly reckon with whether his family name brought him power and influence. The Bidens say they have maintained a firewall between the elder’s political dealings and his son’s business exploits, but now they’re under scrutiny. For the first time in Joe Biden’s three-decade-plus quest for the presidency, he has…