Legacy can be inescapable, even under quarantine. Browse SyFy or E! or USA Network and you’ll learn about wizarding lineage, possibly through the same film on all three channels. Since it can’t air the Michael Jordan doc 24/7, ESPN might show a replay of an NBA final featuring basketball’s most famous family. Maybe you’ve cut the cord and are filling time with Star Wars on Disney+. That shit is all about legacy.
There’s some legacy in Name of the Year, too. Dragonwagon Regional 10-seed Barron Cashdollar isn’t NOTY’s first Cashdollar, and 14-seed Courvoisier Dingle isn’t its first Courvoisier. We’ve had members of the Worboys clan (Bucky and Myking) in the last two tournaments. And the very names of our regions honor favorites from NOTY’s beer-and-vomit formative years in the 1980s.
But few know the smothering nature of legacy better than Dutch art dealer and Bulltron Regional No. 6 Jan Six XI. That’s not a typo. Jan Six—being Dutch, his first name rhymes with the surname of a Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher and not the nickname of an all-time St. Louis Cardinals great—is in fact the eleventh Jan Six in his family. As Russell Shorto explained in a fascinating New York Times Magazine profile last year:
Dating back four centuries, his aristocratic family has named a firstborn son Jan in nearly every generation. The first Jan Six, a man of art, culture and politics, was a true representative of the Dutch Golden Age, the period in which an explosion of creativity in art, science and commerce vaulted the tiny nation to the forefront of European life and thought. That Jan Six was actually a friend of the great Rembrandt van Rijn. When he decided, sometime in the 1650s, to have his portrait painted, he asked Rembrandt to do the honors. The result is one of the master’s most admired works, a wondrously brooding study of self-aware, middle-aged sophistication, done in the hallmark rough brush strokes of the later Rembrandt. The historian Simon Schama has called it “the greatest portrait of the 17th century.”
Perched high upon the wall at the Six family mansion in Amsterdam is the piercing, lifelike gaze of Jan Six the first. And while a dusty portrait might seem trivial to those who lack patrilineal baggage, consider this: We’re living a political nightmare inspired by unaddressed daddy issues. If one generation can create an American disaster, the harm potential of daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy’s-daddy issues seems exponential. And the man who contends with all that—Six the eleventh—works beneath a reminder of it every day.
Six seems unperturbed. He’s a genuine Rembrandt enthusiast—so much so that, as that Times story details, he’s discovered two previously unidentified paintings by the Dutch master. He’s also starred in a 10-part series about Rembrandt, which is probably a great watch if you speak Dutch (I don’t speak Dutch) and does not seem to feature a mulleted man, his illicit zoo, and his three husbands.
Netflix stardom notwithstanding, Six Eleven has a chance to escape the shadow of the original Six and become the No. 1 Six in our hearts. Six has already vanquished No. 11 Trivodka Lundy, who lives in a Fort Wayne neighborhood where someone was shot. He now faces career-management executive Waffles Natusch, whose middle name, we probably should have disclosed, is Pi.
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Dennis Clark is a New York-based video editor. You may have seen his work on Showtime or ESPN. Please ask him about his cats.