Friday, February 10, 2012

2-10-12 the Facebook Dad of the Year


That's how many views this video has received since being uploaded in two days and by tomorrow I'd expect he'll be featured on Good Morning America and easily double those views.

Of the views, 93962 people have "liked" the video, and 6398 have "disliked" it. And before you start to think all the dislikes must be similarly spoiled rotten teenagers, let me just say, the more I've thought about this, the more I dislike it.

He's being heralded as the Father of the Year. I've seen this posted on my Facebook newsfeed all day long, regularly with cheers and "way to go Dad!" messages.

Now, I'm not arguing what he did was outside his rights. It's his property.

But something about the reckless destruction of what was a rather expensive piece of machinery to make a point -- a very public one --  really sours me on the whole "Go Dad!" thing.

So Hannah, in all her 15-year-old entitlement fury, does what teenagers do. She spews her anger to what she thinks is a private audience, some of her friends, who are also, doubtless, put-upon by their parents who expect them to do chores as part of their responsibilities to the family and not as favors due payment. Was she disrespectful? Absolutely. Should she have been punished? Of course. There are far too many 20-somethings who were never reigned in, never taught that respect means sometimes biting your tongue and readjusting your attitude because life does not revolve around you.

But the reaction by Dad isn't exactly the most useful lesson:  If it's mine and you piss me off, I'll put 9 rounds in it, publicly humiliate you, and, if I'm lucky, apply for revenue sharing early enough to cash in on the viral video I've just posted on YouTube.

I'd have been a lot more impressed with something along these lines:

Hannah, I'm posting this video so your friends will know why you are no longer on Facebook. You've lost all internet privileges and the privilege of a computer because you thought it appropriate to curse and disrespect your parents publicly, all the while portraying yourself as a victim of our unreasonable demands. I'll be donating the laptop, the one I just spent hours and $130 on, to the local women's shelter. Those women might be able to use it to try and build resumes and find jobs so they can earn enough money to buy food and maybe even a place to live for them and their kids. These are things you've never had to lift a finger for and, because you clearly take them for granted, I've decided someone else should benefit from your immaturity, someone who actually knows what it is really like to have to scrape by. When you find yourself a job and earn enough money to pay me back for the software upgrade and a replacement laptop, then we'll talk about a monthly payment plan for your internet access again.

I'm in the minority here, but what else is new.

I think the advent of social media has created this weird center space for parenting that isn't healthy, one where instead of talking directly to Hannah, Dad first makes a video of it and posts it on Facebook and YouTube. There's this passive-aggressive thing here I can't quite put my finger on. But it's disconcerting. And destroying her laptop by shooting at it point blank, primarily because Daddy has the power and the anger, just isn't a message I want to cheer about.


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