Saturday, June 16, 2012

Op/ED piece in the NYTimes blog!

I've got an op/ed piece in the NY Times!

It's part of a series called ROOM FOR DEBATE.  They asked me (and a bunch of other people)  to write about why Dad's are often not considered as true and equal parents, and are largely left out of the Mommy wars. 

I focused on Dad's reputations, and the used to be deserved stereotype of the dad who didn't know what he was doing, and how we can combat that.


READ MY ARTICLE: Blame Dad's Reputation on TV

I had a lot of fun writing it, and of course it was a pleasure to be asked.

I had originally titled it The Good Dad (kind of a play on The Good Wife idea) and they changed it to Blame it On TV.  But in my piece I don't talk about TV-- I mostly blame Michael Keaton's film Mr. Mom.  (Although there are a number of portrayals of men as inept fathers I could have chosen, including Three Men and a Baby)  The vagaries of having an editor!  (And of course, I had nothing to say at that time!) 

I actually like television.  And most of the portrayals of dads are not very accurate anyway due to the nature of TV (as my mom said to me once about a wonderful but depressing play that was at the local theatre... "If I wanted to see that kind of drama I could stay at home!")

If we are watching television, you can be sure that most of it is manufactured (even the news, even the "Reality" shows. ) Most sitcom TV dads (esp. those played by Fred MacMurray) were pretty wise and good.  Mr. C (Happy Days, Red (the 70's show), spent most of their "parent time" in "teachable moments" mode, and not necessarily in Parent mode.  Even if they had their bad or silly or venal moments (I'm talking to you Cliff Huxtable and Tim Taylor!)  They didn't do much housework, or correction of bad living habits, but hey when you live 22 minutes a day, one night a week, you better maximize your time!

A friend of mine who read the piece said, "Adam I think you are in a sub-culture of good dads-- there are plenty of 70's style dads still around."  To which I replied "You might be right, but I'm hoping it's not a sub-culture but a movement. "  Hopefully inept dads will go the way of the dodo bird.  

And one of my brothers who read the piece said he was brought right back to our house, and he reminded me that my dad didn't know which drawer the forks were kept in. (I had forgotten that!)

Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments.

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