The way-past-its-sell-by-date comedy, Saturday Night Live, has recently outraged fathers and those who care about them everywhere with two of its skits. And the estimable Barbara Kay doesn’t like it one bit (National Post, 12/18/18). The two pieces were so bad that the usually restrained Kay called the first one “an act of vile misandry.” Just so.
Here’s her description of the piece:
The skit begins with two adolescent children enjoying a warm and festive Christmas with their mature, beautifully groomed and loving divorced mom. Then they are shown in an alternate Christmas scenario — with “Christmas Dad,” i.e. an allegedly generic divorced father.
Christmas Dad lives in a sad-looking home somewhere in interior Florida (wink wink: deplorables territory). The kids arrive to find a bimbo in residence, introduced only by her first name. Both she and Dad chain-smoke in the house. The kids are unhappy, expressing longing for the “rules” their mother imposes. If ever a comedy routine was written to bludgeon its audience with contempt for an identifiable group, this is it.Nice.
What’s all the more remarkable is that, having received such a backlash against Anti-Dad Skit No. 1 SNL pulled it from their YouTube account, they came up with Anti-Dad Skit No. 2. Kay describes ADS2 this way:
It wasn’t long before SNL was back at it again with yet more male mockery. Last weekend’s show featured a skit, the Westminster Daddy Show, in which “daddies” — i.e. sugar daddies, divorced men in their 40s and 50s who trade their prestige or wealth for sexual access to younger women — are portrayed as show dogs, and judged according to their daddy attractiveness. There’s Golf Daddy and Tweedy Daddy and Wall Street Business Daddy, whose fat billfold is fingered with approval by the female judge. The winner — “Best in Show” — turns out to be “Pedigree Broadcast Daddy,” played by show host Matt Damon.That’s particularly despicable of Damon who certainly doesn’t need the money or the face time. Damon needs to be more careful about the roles he chooses. Either that or he needs to become “woke” to the realities of fatherhood in the U.S.
I’m all for comedy. It’s necessary leavening to the tedium of everyday life. But there’s a fundamental law of comedy – don’t hit someone when they’re down. It’s just not funny. We don’t mock disabled people for that very reason and we shouldn’t mock divorced dads. Anyone with a clue about the realities of divorce and child custody for fathers would know that simple truth. So I suppose that lets us know the level of ignorance of SNL writers.
And of course “down” is exactly where fathers, particularly divorced ones, are in this society. They’re about as low as anyone can get. Indeed, society, pop culture and the law miss no opportunity to let fathers of all sorts know just how unimportant, how despised a class, they are.
Whatever your stance on abortion, its unambiguous message to fathers is “you don’t matter.” Do you passionately want a child? Too bad, you have no say. Do you passionately not want a child? Too bad, you have no say. How much clearer does it have to be?
Should a man father a child, he has no right to even know of its existence. No law anywhere imposes the obligation on mothers to simply inform the father of their children that little Andy or Jenny has come into the world. And in the U.K. at least, a majority of mothers think Dad should have no role in raising his own offspring.
All states have Baby Moses laws that allow parents to abandon children at fire or police stations, hospitals, etc. consequence free within a certain time after its birth. But that right is extended only to mothers in 44 of those states.
The Supreme Court has said unequivocally that fathers have parental rights, but the exercise of those rights is routinely placed not in his hands, but in hers. If she wants to tell him about his child, she can; if she doesn’t she doesn’t have to. So much for his rights, but what about his obligations? Mom can bring those into being any time she wants simply by demanding child support. She’ll get it too even though she denied him his right to form a relationship with his child.
Does Mom want to place little Andy or Jenny for adoption? She can and most states won’t require her to reveal Dad’s identity. If she says she doesn’t know who the father is, in those states that’s all that’s required to remove him from the adoption process.
Does Mom abuse the child? If so and CPS learns of it, the child may be taken into foster care. Why foster care and not father care? Because CPS agencies routinely ignore fathers as possible placements for their abused kids. Yes, one federal circuit has ruled that failing to notify Dad constitutes a violation of his civil rights, but the practice continues unabated.
Then of course there’s child support. Child support calculations bear little resemblance to what it actually costs to raise a child. Daily we read about “child support” orders for tens of thousands of dollars per month. That’s flagrantly Mom support, but let anyone raise the issue and he’s shouted down as someone who – you guessed it – doesn’t care about his child, i.e. much like the dad in SNL’s Anti-Dad Skit No. 1.
And, speaking of SNL, pop culture offers a steady stream of misandry directed at fathers.
The point of all this is that our culture and society treat fathers like dirt. In so doing, they promote single motherhood and fatherless children to the detriment of all. I’ll end with the ending to Barbara Kay’s piece.
Loving fathers, disenfranchised of their parenting rights by mother-friendly family courts, are amongst the most anguished people you can imagine. Spiking divorce-related suicide rates for men prove that. These men are legion, but culturally invisible. Does any of this strike you as funny?