November 2, 2013

10 least-impressive details in this NYT "Motherlode" piece by a man who's giving himself permission not to berate himself for being fat.

1. The name of the column is "Motherlode," but it's more Fatherload.

2. The man pauses, shirtless, in the middle of doing a diaper change, to gaze at himself in the mirror and contemplate his body.

3. The recipient of the diaper change is not only old enough to speak in full sentences, but is mature enough to notice his father's self-esteem issues and to boost his ego with a line — "You look great" — that's in the traditional category "Things men say to their wives" not "Things sons say to their fathers." (The latter category should not include any complete sentences delivered during diaper changes. "Things sons say to their fathers" during diaper changes should consist of little more than "da da.")

4. A grown man, who tells us he's not overweight, not only shames himself over his body, he shames himself for shaming himself and calls it "body bullying."

5. A grown man who's ashamed of his self-shaming attempts to counteract the shameful shaming by engaging in another, presumably better form of obsessing about his body which he labels "ironic 'fat talk.'"

6. It's not until the 10th paragraph that we learn he is not married to the mother of the diaper-using 2-year-old boy, and the way we find out is through one of the examples of his "ironic 'fat talk.'" He says he's "fond of asking my lady friend if clothing items are 'gripping my curves.'" Lady friend. You have a child, man. And you think banter with your girlfriend will amuse us? We're reading the "Motherlode" column, and we're still wondering about this poor boy and the effect on him. We don't enjoy this sudden appearance of the coyly named "lady friend"!

7. Finally, in paragraph 12, we get concern for the boy, which comes in the form of worrying about his inheriting the dad's physical and mental tendencies (putting on weight and self-shaming).  The concern about the contagion of bad personality traits almost immediately brings this man back to his own needs: "And at what point does being a good parent and setting a good example drain us of our personalities?"

8. His realization that he needs to refrain from self-shaming for the sake of his son immediately brings this man back to benefits for himself: "I’ll think more positively about my body and myself."

9. He's picked up that "my body, myself" duality that's been pandered to women since the 1970s. You are your body, mister. Deal with it.

10. The last 3 paragraphs don't even mention the boy. They're only about the man and his "lady friend."

14 comments:

MadisonMan said...

What a tedious man. It must be exhausting to be a partner to him.

That woman can do better.

Paddy O said...

"body bullying."

I think "gut-shaming" would catch on easier.

Bob Boyd said...

Just be grateful there wasn't a picture of this guy breast feeding the kid.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is a post from his blog.

Odd.

Youngblood said...

A two-year old doesn't naturally respond to a father's lingering gaze on a mirror by paying dad a compliment. That's the result of conditioning. The insecure dad is constantly fishing for compliments, and junior, like a trained dog, supplies them on cue.

That's pretty horrifying.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't really think it's a good idea to write about your children. They don't (and can't) consent, and there's all this intimate material about them up on the web.

There's a longstanding problem of writers using their family for material, but with blogging, you have so many more writers, and these are often people who aren't fictionalizing and are not looking very far for their material.

Blogging is a great opportunity for those who are staying in the home, which includes a lot of people who take care of children. Children supply you with material, and who's to stop you from using it?

Obviously, others in your position are potential readers.

It's surprising we don't hear more about kids writing on line about their parents. There must be quite a few kids who've been written about who are ready and able to take their revenge.

Joe said...

The man is a liar and a fool. This notion that one should be proud of being obese (the man's fat jiggles---that isn't being slightly overweight) is idiotic.

Gordon said...

So many issues with this guy. I'm not really fond of the "Man up!" comment, but even beta males would be saying it to him.

Biff said...

"The man pauses, shirtless, in the middle of doing a diaper change, to gaze at himself in the mirror and contemplate his body."

Perfectly targeted at the navel gazing demographic that the NYT strives so mightily to satisfy!

Biff said...

Ugh. I just read the blog post that Freeman linked. What a contemptible man.

I doubt that most of the things in the blog post happened, especially the last one - the inside of the Father's Day card looks like it was drawn/written by an adult doing a really bad job imitating a three year old's mastery of crayons.

If those things did happen, father and son need professional intervention. Separately.

augustus said...

The New York Times world view just makes life so hard...I think it is one big advertisement for voluntary human extinction. Let's just hope they agree to go first.

Carl said...

Well, welcome to the consequences of a whole generation of pressure on boys to think and act more like girls. Now they do. Enjoy!

Tansas said...

Wow. I decided to browse through this guy's blog a little, and I am severely disturbed. For one thing, he wrote a post telling about how his toddler supposedly choked a man on a plane nearly to death while he (the dad) sat by and felt proud. No, it doesn't seem at all grounded in reality. Yes, it makes me feel legitimately frightened for his child, because this man seems unstable.

JoyD said...

He seems like a man I would make effort to avoid...so why did I read this? Another NYT blogger to avoid is Amy Klein. Her bitter struggle to conceive is blogged/flogged to death...and bitter is the right word for her outlook as well. I hope no kid will have to have her as a parent. Too late for fat guy's kid, the man is self- infected, and highly contagious.