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The talented caste

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In Canada, Justin Trudeau is doing a good job following in his father's footsteps, but I don't have a problem with this yet. That's probably because Pierre died too young to hand any kind of torch down to his son other than his famous last name, and because Justin became an MP the hard way by taking on an incumbent Bloc Quebecois candidate. If he runs for the party leadership any time soon I may change my mind. Politics were never meant to be a family business.

I don't mind sports nepotism all that much because genetics do play a part in athletics. Besides, no sane person could say Brett Hull got his job because he was Bobby Hull's son, he had to work as hard as anyone to make his way from the minors to the NHL.

Musical nepotism was probably okay once upon a time because you actually had to have some talent to sell records. But these days, when pretty young pop stars sing lyrics written by someone else into vocal filters that can make anyone sound like a superstar, family connections can mean everything.

Which brings me to Hollywood nepotism, and the growing number of second-generation stars out there. I don't mind when the grown children of actors go out for roles - and you could argue that beauty is even more genetic than athleticism, and plays a huge part in casting - but when Will Smith casts his son for a Karate Kid remake (they're calling it The Kung Fu Kid ), and Jada Pinkett Smith gets their daughter a voice role alongside her in Madagascar 2 , there's plainly something vain and nepotistic involved.

There are either two explanations for the rise of Hollywood nepotism - A) that talent truly is hereditary and exhibits itself at an early age, or B) that acting really isn't that hard, in which case we should probably rethink handing out Academy Awards.

But if talent is hereditary, then how come so few authors pass down their talents? Or scientists? Why isn't Picasso Jr. selling cubist post-surrealist paintings at the local gallery?

There are no laws to prevent people from handing down their wealth and fame to the next generation, just the credulity of the audience. So far we don't seem to mind all the family relations, but I worry what that says about us. Have we accepted nepotism as a fact of life, or have we just given up and accepted our new roles in the Indian-style caste system that's being foisted on us?

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