Alluding to Seth’s blog entry, I think it happened when it became “ok” to laugh at slovenly, impertinent, lazy Dads. It happened when it became “ok” for prime time TV sitcoms (and commercial advertisements) to depict most married Dads as non-thinking, bad-mannered ogres who are almost always insensitive, never help around the house – unless badgered by their significant other – and rarely have any ambition or drive to improve themselves or – even less so – their families, friends and communities.
Doubt it? Watch Married with Children, Everybody Loves Raymond, Rules of Engagement (this one is particularly painful for me because I like Patrick Warburton) sometime and pay careful attention to the commercial advertisements with Dads in them. You’ll spot the trend. They display the stereotypically “married suburbanite Dad” behavior. I don’t get it, the actors in these shows probably don’t behave like that in real life, so why is it ok on TV?
It makes sense to me now why in some circles whenever a new person (usually, younger, single, well-to-do) finds out about me being a Dad that lives in the “burbs”, the person gets this “oh, never mind” look on their face. Forget that only five minutes earlier we were both heavy into discussing the geo-political landscape of the Middle-East. Well, maybe not entirely, but you get the point. In that person’s mind I’m a suburbanite Dad, so I have no idea – nor care – about what’s going on the world besides mowing the lawn, belching and scratching myself.
So as an addendum to Seth’s entry I would add:
“…it’s an uphill battle, and until we get to the point where homophobia and racism [and all stereotypes] (even for laughs) is unheard of, we have a long way to go. Marketing is too powerful, imho, to be wasted diminishing someone’s humanity.”
Perhaps I’m more sensitive to the derision because I am a younger Dad that works hard, stays in shape, helps clean the house (without being told), tries to be well-read and seeks to improve the lives of my family and those around me. Perhaps comedy by definition requires the comedian to parody an element of society. Perhaps, like many things, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps I should simply turn the TV off and stop talking to people that aren’t exactly like me…lovely.