Actually, I don't think the inbreeding was within my direct lineage, at least not as far back as the geneaology goes (which is all the way to 16th-century Spain). But if there's a genetic predisposition to journalism -- and even music criticism -- then, clearly, I've got it.
Before going to the reunion, I already knew that, aside from myself and my Great-Aunt Alma -- a journalist and poet who used to contribute regularly to the Times' "Metropolitan Diary" -- my family included another writer, David Buskin.
Cousin David, who recently had a humorous poem about rock history published in My Generation magazine, is best-known as a writer of music, both solo and (formerly) as half of the contemporary folk duo Buskin & Batteau. His songs have been recorded by a number of well-known singers, including Mary Travers, Roberta Flack, and Tom Rush. During the 1980s and '90s, he also wrote numerous advertising jingles (many of which are still ingrained in my brain) and even won a Clio or two. (Although he is too modest to allow me to name his jingles, I can't stop you from going to ascap.com and looking at his listing in their database. Ain't I a stinker?) Currently, he performs music and comedy in the New York-based trio Modern Man, who won Backstage magazine's Bistro Award for Best Musical Comedy Group.
Another writer in the family, and one whom I met for the first time at the reunion, is David Buskin's brother, John. A writer on e-commerce for the Wall Street Journal and the editor of Dow Jones' intranet, he established his coolness credentials back in 1986, when he co-edited the much-needed New Yorker parody Snooze: The Best of Our Magazine.
Now we get into the really weird part of this family-tree exploration. According to the geneaology information that I received at the reunion, two of my cousins are music critics. Not just that, but British music critics. This I find amazing, since I myself have written extensively for British labels, book publishers, and magazines for many years. One of these cousins is Victor Schonfield, currently a jazz critic, who figured prominently in England's progressive-rock scene in the 1960s. Most fascinating to me, given what I do, is that he is a liner note writer whose work appears on Sun Ra's Outer Spaceways Incorporated, as well as albums by Paul Bley and others.
My other British music-critic cousin is Daniel Snowman, a BBC radio and TV producer. While most of his two-dozen-odd books are on nonmusical topics, he has writen ones on Placido Domingo and the Amadeus Quartet. His latest work, the just-released The Hitler Emigres, about the cultural impact on Britain of refugees from Nazism, sounds fascinating. Unfortunately, right now it's only available in Britain. (The link above will take you to the book's ordering page at Amazon's U.K. Web site.)