Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's Not a Dad War, but We Can All Learn Something


Editor's Note: Josh's post yesterday caught fire. If you haven't read it, please read it and make sure you scan the comments. Very interesting discourse. Personally, I think too much has been made about the "Dad War," we're all adults and THEYCALLMECODY seems to be fine. These are important conversations to be had, and we appreciate Josh's original post and this follow up.

So this thing happened.  A person new to blogging wrote a blog post on a decently trafficked website.  The post was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating tribute to his wife.  Slap a title on that puppy, and you're done.  A funny thing happened on the way to the  publication.  In a decision his wife later said she disagreed with, he made the post title about all fathers, not just himself. 

So another thing happened.  A bunch of involved dads, including some that you all know, got their hackles up.  Missives, as both responses and other blog posts, went flying around the intertubes.  You probably saw the one here.  Hyperbole and more tongue-in-cheekiness abounded.  Exaggerations were made and names were called. 

The sidelines went crazy.  A facebook post by the original website had tons of comments about how horrible men are.  Comments came fast and furious from both sides, recruited via twitter and other social media.  "Ringers" were brought in, both pro and con.  Mr. Burns was somewhere yelling at Mattingly to shave his sideburns.  

Deeeeeeeeep breaths people. 

And here's where we're left:  A response from the author, explaining himself.  One that will satisfy his supporters, and likely disappoint many of his detractors-- me for one.  I'm sure there'll be others. 

Cody is left thinking that he tried to pay tribute to his wife and get a few page views, and it turned out to cause an all out assault on him and his family by a group he wasn't sure existed. A group he was disappointed in, because they had never given such a response to any of his other work.  He's also disappointed about the level of discourse.

The opposite side is thinking that he tried to pay tribute to his wife and get a few page views, and that he did so by using inflammatory language that, while inadvertent, managed to insult a lot of dads. A group that was disappointed in him, because he's been given a pedestal from which he can do great good for parents, male and female.  The dads are also disappointed about the level of discourse.

So that's where we're left.  Both sides disagree about a lot, but seem to agree that words should be chosen carefully, and with the audience in view.  Cody doesn't want to see himself (or his family) attacked personally, even in jest, and the dads on the other side want the same.  Sweeping generalizations about groups made for comical reasons and page views often backfire.  Calling someone a douchebag, even in jest, can hurt their feelings too.  If we all want to raise the level of discourse, then it's up to us ALL to do so. 

Live and learn.

(Although I'm not hugging it out with that one dude.  That's kinda creepy)

Josh Kross is an at home dad to his three kids. When not putting his MBA in operations management to use making sure his kids get where they need to be, he is the Upper West Side event coordinator for the NYC Dads Group. Follow his blog, The Angry SAHD.

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