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It’s Brother-Betraying Season, Baby

Jo and Boris Johnson, Brian and Colin Moran, the Roy bros on ‘Succession’ — nothing says 2019 like vicious sibling rivalry

Can I tell you how much I loved reading about Jo Johnson, brother of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, resigning from Parliament because he doesn’t think Boris can get a Brexit deal? Even the New York Times had an uncharacteristic giggle at the familial drama, calling it both “Shakespearean” and “Freudian” in the space of a single headline. Don’t get me wrong, watching Boris fall flat on his face the moment he assumed power has been entertaining on almost every level, but the sibling betrayal? I didn’t even know he had a brother in government.

Beautiful. Flawless. Perfection.

Perhaps best of all, the backstabbing pissed off exactly the people you’d hope it would.

Couldn’t the U.S. political scene use a little more of this brother-on-brother antagonism? Imagine if, out of nowhere, Robert Trump — yes, he’s a real person, and the younger brother of our very bad president — started speaking at Bernie Sanders rallies? Hell, what if Bernie’s 84-year-old brother Larry Sanders began stumping for Elizabeth Warren? Pure, awesome chaos. A season of fraternal treachery.

We’ve been in such a rush to decide whether Eric or Don Jr. is more of a Fredo that we forgot that a real Fredo has to turn against his brother first. Their dumbassery doesn’t really count until one of them becomes a federal witness to save himself. We need the energy of a family that does attack ads about their shittiest member. The Bidens are way ahead on this: Joe’s bro is fucking up huge on the corruption side, while his son Hunter dated his dead bro’s widow — after a crack binge, naturally. Top-tier brother nonsense. 

And hey, you know what’s usually kind of boring? Baseball! Nothing against the sport, it’s a great way to unwind and spend $14 on a hot dog while you get sunburned — it’s just never been that spicy of a spectacle. You definitely up the stakes when, as during a recent Marlins-Pirates game of no actual significance, you have a younger brother (Colin Moran) batting versus an older brother (Brian Moran) who also happens to be making his major-league debut as a relief pitcher. Of course dude struck him out looking! That’s classic bullying among brothers. You genuinely love to see it. Please fire all baseball players and replace with brothers. 

There should be no outs without some sibling embarrassment.   

It all goes back to Cain and Abel, baby. Prince John vs. King Richard. Christopher and Peter Hitchens not talking to each other for years because of some tortuously convoluted joke about communism. That’s the good stuff, man.

Got a brother? Time to betray him. Everybody’s doing it. Here’s a guy on Reddit saying he lost a trivial amount of money from his pocket when he broke his nose, and found out almost 20 years later that his brother had stolen it: “I felt betrayal like no other.” Outstanding work. Oh, and I bet you forgot that Barack Obama has an estranged half-brother in Kenya who is… really not a fan. He wears the MAGA hat and everything. Wild. 

As for me, well, my little brother is always punching me in the shoulder, probably because I loved to beat him up when we were kids, so I’m considering some kind of steel apparatus to wear under my shirt in the hopes that he really hurts his hand whenever he tries it next. He’s also engaged now, which means I have the option of ruining his wedding — particularly if he makes the mistake of appointing me Best Man. I suspect, however, that he’s already considered this and is figuring out how to neutralize the threat, or even send me to the wrong venue.

Because that’s the deal with brothers, dude: You gotta betray them before they betray you.