Filth, slurs, expletives, graphic mixed metaphors and similes oozing with slime. I’ve had them all hurled at me in comments over the last seven years. And some of them were even spelled correctly.
People that visit the Lab know that while we love to blog and to hang out in our forums, our primary work is video — over 800 episodes to date. As a result, our main source of comments is YouTube. There we get cursed at from time to time. An experience that can lead not only to despair about the civility of today’s youth, but also optimism regarding their creativity.
So while I appreciate your viewership, MerkinTime666, I’m left feeling a bit bemused when you characterize me as “retarted.” I don’t even remember being tarted the first time. And when you, goatmilk44, opine after viewing our experiments with a pregnancy simulation suit that, “I have fallen into a den of f@gs” (a personal fave), I wish you luck entertaining your diverse house guests.
The biggest problem with the YT trolls is not their grammar, however. It’s the fact that I sometimes allow them to take up way more mind space that they deserve. The vast majority of comments we receive on YouTube are kind, thoughtful, encouraging and even inspiring.
Most of the time it’s moms. Which is great. Sincere thanks, moms.
Less often, it’s a dad. And sometimes, it’s a dad that isn’t even part of the “dad blogging community.” Those are the gems.
Every time one of those dads leaves a comment, I’m proud because to a greater or lesser extent, when that guy enters into a public conversation about parenting, he is challenging accepted stereotypes. Am I hyperventilating when I assert that a comment on a YouTube video is a form of courage? I don’t think so.
That’s why I think that it’s crucial that we support dads every time they face down the trolls (external and internal) to join the online parenting conversation. Moms, goad your partners. Challenge them. Taunt them. Withhold sex. Okay, maybe not that. But nag them through forwarded posts and Facebook blog bombs and reward them richly when they follow through.
This re-enforcement is justified because every blog and video comment a dad makes is like an immunization (transition alert!). Every public comment becomes, in part, a tiny public pledge to be an engaged and active dad. Every word, even if it’s just to joke, hassle or kid the author — we’re like that — is another fortifying dose of immunity against detachment and the debilitating male gender roles of the past.
And speaking of immunizations (see how I did that?), why not start here and double down on goodness. By commenting here, dad not only gets a booster on the way to a healthy career as paterfamilias, but also automatically generates a $20 donation for Shot@Life, an initiative saving the lives of children in developing countries.
All he has to do is comment and the donation, enough to cover the cost of four essential vaccines, will be made by the United Nations Foundation and their sponsor partners. That’s because this post is a part of Blogust, a month-long Blog Relay for Good. I’ve taken the baton from Gina Carroll and will pass it on to Randi Zuckerberg. Your comments on those posts raise money as well, so I highly recommend you visit.
Shoot, why not give yourself a full blown NGOrgasm by commenting on every single post and raise over $600 in the process. Great posts have been cropping up daily and there are more to come.
By the way: MOM COMMENTS ARE WELCOME, TOO. Because we need a bunch, and like I said, brave and pioneering Dads are still a bit scarce.
A NOTE ON COMMENTING: Oh, the irony. A post on commenting and our guest commenting module blows out. If you would like to comment without joining the DadLabs site, you may do so on my personal site here. And those comments will count for donations!