Intellectual Chernobyl represents the full spectrum of right-wing crazy: the vacuous stupidity of Marybeth Hicks or Jackie Gingrich; the blood-curdling rage of fat white guys like Doug Giles and John Hawkins; the insane, untethered "I smear shit all over myself and why do the editors keep taking 'spick' and 'towelhead' out of my columns?" ranting of Michelle Malkin and Star Parker; the fake non-partisanship of John Stossel and Michael Medved; and the grandfatherly crankiness of Dennis Prager. That DP comes off as one of the more reasonable voices on IC is less a compliment than an indictment of his surroundings. But it's true. He's a hybrid of Andy Rooney and Morty Seinfeld, as likely to complain about Congress as to complain about how the kids listen to their damn boom-boom music instead of Chopin. DP was in pure Andy Rooney form when watching Super Bowl commercials this year, apparently, and a cranky old man does not need to try very hard to find something to bitch about during that extravaganza of offensive masquerading as clever. That's how we end up with "The Doritos Ad was Not Funny", which also happens to bear the most abstract title for a creative work since Snakes on a Plane. I hope you're ready for 1000 words of recollections about The Good Ol' Days and the occasional anecdote about Paul Harvey, because here we go.
By far, the most popular ad shown during the latest Super Bowl was the Doritos "House Rules" ad. Tens of millions of Americans saw it as hilarious.
Is there some evidence for this? It is not only the most popular but "by far." Something tells me this is based on a double-blind survey of Dennis Prager's wife – who I am forced to assume is named Lorraine – and his collection of ointments from the 1950s. The ad was pretty popular, but why leave it at that when you can make shit up?
That is unfortunate. Anyone aware of the manifold social pathologies the ad depicted did not find much to laugh about. Here is the ad:
I will note two things. First, I actually agree with DP. The ad was insulting. Second, when he says "Here is the ad" there is no link to the ad. I am not sure he understands YouTube. I am not even sure he has a solid handle on VHS or microfiche yet. But here is the ad.
A man knocks on a door. A pretty woman answers it. He hands her flowers and she thanks him. He has presumably come to take her out on a date. She introduces her young son to the man and excuses herself. She walks back to her room. The camera focuses on her shapely legs, quite visible given that she is wearing a miniskirt. The man stares, indeed leers, at her legs and makes a facial gesture suggesting, shall we say, sexual interest. The boy, who appears to be about 5 years old, sees this and drops his toy. The man sits on the couch and helps himself to a Dorito. The boy walks up to the man, smacks him hard across the face and says, "Keep your hands off my mama. Keep your hands off my Doritos."
Is is nice of DP to summarize this for his aged audience. But it certainly could be called offensive, what with the Diff'rent Strokes-style negro slang dialect, single mother who appears to be about 14, and leering rapist-to-be male.
Here are the major elements of dysfunction this ad depicts.
Good. Here we go.
First, a child smacking an adult across the face is not funny.
What the fuck.
Seriously? Is this, like, a problem? This is an issue? An epidemic of child-on-adult slappage is America's most pressing social problem. It narrowly edges out our 15% unemployment rate and the alarming shortage of Barnaby Jones re-runs in Dennis Prager's mind.
It is, in fact, one of the last things society should tolerate.
THE LAST 5 THINGS SOCIETY SHOULD TOLERATE, by Dennis Prager
4. Sass, backtalk, and/or guff
2. Females appearing unveiled in public without a male chaperone
1. Children slapping adults
I will deal with the widespread defense of the child's action — "he was only protecting his mother" — later. In real life, a child who hits an adult needs to be disciplined.
O…K. I am very hesitant to agree, but…I agree.
If a child did that to me, I would grab his offending arm and apply enough force to make it clear that he will never do that again.
Well, we were just barreling down Cranky Boulevard and we took a sudden right on Creepy. What does "apply force" mean? Are you cranking his arm behind his back cop-style? Squeezing it until something comes out the end like a tube of Crest?
After I mentioned this on my radio show, some psychotherapists sent me e-mails disagreeing with these views. They noted, for example, that "violence breeds violence."
I bet DP knows better than those fancy-pants with their degrees and books and infrequent application of force to young arms.
Some cliches are true; I find this one meaningless. The truth is the opposite: Immoral violence breeds violence; moral violence (such as just wars, police work and appropriate parental discipline) reduces violence.
Like that just war in Iraq! That reduced the ever-living shit out of violence in Baghdad. Police use of force also has a lengthy track record of reducing violence, as evidenced by our increasing incidence of the former and plummeting rate of the latter.
So to summarize: you should use force against kids because it will work out as well as law enforcement and the Iraq War.
I am well aware that vast numbers of Americans (and Europeans) believe that engaging in any physical discipline of a child is wrong. I, too, held this belief for most of my life, and I never hit or spanked either of my sons.
The remainder of this column is dedicated to making you very, very skeptical of this claim. Or imagining what kind of tortuous, proprietary definition of "violence" he concocts to exclude the heavy sack beatings to which he routinely subjected his children. I bet his kids are real well-balanced.
I have changed my mind because of all the fine people who have called my show or written to me about how they were spanked and now believe that they are better adults because of it.
OK. Not only is this completely retarded and piss-poor evidence under the best of circumstances, DP's argument is "I believed something until lots of people told me not to so I changed my mind."
It is a given that I do not defend physical — or any other form of — abuse against a child. Of all the world's evils, child abuse may rank as the greatest. But a properly administered spanking is not abuse.
Dennis, this is far, far from a given. And you are about to prove it.
The New York Times recently published an article titled "For Some Parents, Shouting Is the New Spanking," in which it noted that many parents now regularly scream at their children in part because they cannot spank them. I am not at all certain that being screamed at by a parent is an improvement over spanking.
And scientists at the University of Logic have determined that being neither screamed at nor spanked is an improvement over either.
The Doritos kid deserved a physical response from this man — as in pressure on the offending arm.
Still don't know what this means, still kinda creeped out by it.
With regard to the argument that this man was not the boy's parent — and the terrible fact that there is far too much hitting and abuse of children by stepfathers and boyfriends — I do not believe that only parents may physically respond to a child.
Awesome. I mean, I don't see how this could go wrong. Let's give anyone who can legally buy cigarettes carte blanche to "apply force" to children and I'm sure that everything will work out great. Reeeeeeal great.
Teachers, for example, should be permitted to do so
SWEET! This was done when the Baby Boomers were in school and look at how completely not emotionally screwed up or violent they turned out!
I was physically dealt with by a number of teachers, and in every case, I deserved it.
Saying "I deserved it" is the most convincing possible evidence that someone is not abused. Let's see if that holds up in court. Or, you know, reality.
I also did so as a camp counselor — to great effect.
*falls off chair*
Anybody? Anybody mildly troubled yet? Or does sending Billy and Suzie off to Lake Winnepasaki for 12 weeks of campfires, wallet-making, and Dennis Prager's "Great Effect" sound like a good idea? Something tells me this also involved the application of a lot of pressure.
And so should the man whom the child in the ad smacked. In an ideal world, all adults raise all children in some way.
Hit back. That is a fantastic life lesson. Hit back or you are failing the children.
(The remainder of the column covers the racist stereotypes, which I both agree with and am mildly surprised that DP would catch. Although he probably threw it in to deflect criticism from his remarkable creepiness.)
So, to summarize: children slapping adults is an problem of pandemic proportions. Any and every adult is deputized to apply some kind of physical retribution to children. There is no risk that adults will start to lose whatever inhibitions they may have against hitting kids. Dennis Prager did not hit his kids, as he told us to make us think he is father of the century, but he slapped around, "applied force" to, and, who are we kidding, probably sodomized a bunch of summer campers.
I'm glad we had this talk. Stop waving that rake at the kids on your lawn, Dennis. Wouldn't it be better to apply a different and perhaps more emphatic punishment?