Last night I watched a viral video called “Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teen.” Basically, this guy’s 15 year old daughter posted a bratty, profanity-laced Facebook note about how her parents suck, thinking they’d never see it. But her daddy saw it. And his response was to record a YouTube video responding to it, culminating in him emptying 8 rounds of his 45 into her laptop.
The dad’s name is Tommy Jordan and he lives in North Carolina. He linked the YouTube video (that has gotten over 800,000 views in the past 24 hours) back to his Facebook wall where you can read his responses to the thousands of comments that have come in so far. Some are supportive, but most are blasting either him or his kid. And yes, because it’s the Internet, the comments are just as harsh as you’d expect.
Here are some snippets from his Facebook wall:
“I told my daughter not to air that kind of material on Facebook because it was hurtful to other people. It embarrassed them. It caused them to feel humiliated, especially our very very good friend, who is NOT a cleaning lady by any stretch of the imagination!
Instead, I simply turned the tables and let her be on the receiving end of something and see how it made her feel. You mentioned not embellishing it, not sensationalizing it. I didn’t. I read exactly what she put out there for the world to see, in her own words. Then I added a few of my own words to it.”
“Do I regret doing it? No. Do I regret keeping it on Facebook long enough to cause this stir? Yes. However at this time I feel that if I took the post or the video down, I’d just make it appear that we’re running in shame from it, and we’re not.”
“Truthfully though the social attention has helped her and I both deal with it. We had our discussion about it after she returned home from school. We set the ground rules for her punishment, and then I let her read some of the comments on Facebook with me at my computer. At first it was upsetting. Then as we read it became less so, eventually funny to both of us.
So in the end, she’s fine. My Facebook wall will never be the same again, and we’ll be OK as a family and she’ll grow up happy, healthy, and have everything she needs, but not everything she wants. And I absolutely guarantee she’ll never doubt my resolve to follow-through on a consequence again.”
Let me address a couple of things. First of all, I knew even before reading the comments that this guy would get called out for being a stupid redneck. I grew up in New Jersey, but lived in Alabama for five years. That experience made me very sensitive to the vast number of people in this country who assume that just because someone has a southern accent, they’re stupid or racist or some other pejorative term. It drives me nuts. There are certainly people out there who would condemn this guy based solely on his accent and his hat. I suspect that if he were a knit cap wearing, urban hipster who destroyed his kid’s laptop with espresso machine, the comments would be slightly different.
My other overwhelming feeling is – I sort of get where he’s coming from. My husband and I helped raise my little sister, who lived with us for a year when she was finishing high school. My sister was a good kid when she was with us. But I have never experienced anger like that EVER IN MY LIFE than when trying to get that child to see reason. It was horrible. I really think that during a couple of our fights, I had my first-ever rage black out. I literally saw black and had to stop myself from screaming until I lost my voice. It can make a sane person crazy and I… I’ve been there, I guess.
So I understand where he’s coming from, and I’ve been there too – just about to completely lose my schmidt. But it doesn’t make it right. It just doesn’t. I’m not judging him, because I’m guilty too. But I’m ashamed of my behavior and hope that regret will keep me from ever doing it again.
My third point is about the public nature of this thing. I recently did a YouTube video on my blog of the wildly inappropriate names my 3 year old gives her toys. I thought it was funny. To my total surprise, it got a little over 100,000 views. And the comments have been merciless. About my kid. About how I’m abusive. While they were painful to read, I’m mature enough to just try and ignore them. But it made me think twice about posting stuff on YouTube again.
Tommy Jordan’s daughter and all her friends are going to read the thousands of comments on Facebook and YouTube. About how he’s an abusive pyscho, and she’s a worthless P.O.S. who will end up a drug addicted stripper. This video is going to keep chugging for a while. The media is already contacting him. More and more people are writing about it, blogging about it and running responses to it. This isn’t over for them and reading those things about herself and her family could be damaging for her. He’s a big guy with his daddy pants on; I’m sure he can handle it. And if it hurts – he did it to himself. But his daughter is only 15 and that’s a really tough age to be.
This man strikes me as the kind of dad whose protective instinct is going to kick in soon, and he may not be so happy that he’s just given millions of strangers a platform to be cruel to his daughter. That may be the lesson she ultimately learns from it, and it’s clear that wasn’t the lesson he intended to teach her.
Read more from Julie at her blog Rants from MommyLand. Follow Julie on Facebook and Twitter for additional goofy nonsense at no extra charge. You can catch up on her posts for Strollerderby, too – where she is often slightly less stupid.