Dad for Beginners

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kids swearing

September 17, 2017
by Creed

Kids Swearing: It’s okay, you know, sort of…

When you hear kids swearing, conclusions are made. Almost instantly, hearing any number of kids swearing brings the listener to a conclusion, either about the kid or about his or her parents. It is unfair, however, to jump to conclusions about a kid simply by hearing a curse word. I’ve recently been exposed, with increasing regularity, to young kids swearing and while it seems on the surface to be distasteful and crass, it is rarely the fault of the child. Here is my example, which may not apply across the board. Nevertheless it is worth some thought.

“Tha fuck out my way, bitch,” the 12-year-old seventh grader shouted during a class jog around the baseball fields during Phys Ed.

“Hey fuck you, man,” his comrade running just beside him replied.

Both boys shared a couple playful jabs back and forth before continuing their jog along the outfield fence and back towards the main gymnasium.

Around them, a dozen or so of their classmates jogged calmly, either laughing at the vulgar exchange between the friends or simply not noticing at all.

Inside the fence adjacent to the middle school baseball fields, I watched the group of seventh graders run back towards the gym while my 4-year-old played on the playground slides behind me. I glanced towards him to see if he picked up on anything that was said between the middle school boys during their run. He hadn’t. Lucky, I guess.

I turned back towards my son. “When did 12-year-olds become so openly vulgar?” I thought to myself. Although I wanted to for a second, I didn’t judge these kids. Why are young kids swearing? Was I like that? Certainly I do not remember integrating curses into my vernacular until well after 7th grade. Maybe the times have just changed.

I distinctly remember being 12. In 1997, being 12 entailed far different things then than it does now. Most 12 year old girls did not wear make-up and those who did typically did it either in emulation of their mothers or explicitly because of their mothers. At the same park – the one where I overheard the young boys cursing at one another – I’ve heard girls of the same age walk the grounds during Phys Ed, staring at their phones and telling each other dick jokes. What happened to childhood? [adToAppearHere]

In 1997 I not only did not swear but neither did any of my friends. Surely kids swearing in ’97 was not rare, I just don’t recall it being so widespread. Once when I was playing with a friend in my front yard, his older brothers rode past us on their bikes and threw some playful curse words in our direction. My father, sitting just inside the house with the window open, walked outside and followed them home – simply because they were too young to be using foul language. They never did it around us again.

Imagine a grown man following a pre-teen home in 2017 for any reason, good or bad. Just imagine. I’m literally scared to even help a child up after a rough fall at the park for fear of some type of lawsuit or physical retaliation from the parent.

Was it right for my dad to do that? Did he have any right to follow another person’s child home because he thought kids swearing was akin to speaking inappropriately? My own parents heavily stigmatized cursing when I was young, even going so far as to do the antiquated soap-in-the-mouth punishment when I was caught using a curse.

I learned to swear, albeit on my own, at a much later stage. It wasn’t until I played junior hockey between the ages of sixteen and nineteen that cursing became a useful part of my everyday lexicon.

Experts in the field of language development will often argue that cursing isn’t necessarily a bad thing deserving of punishment because typically it’s an emotional response and is much more complicated than regular speech. Swearing is generally considered the same as speaking but because it’s stigmatized and emotionally charged, most people learn the degrees of acceptability. I’m not sure what linguists in general think about kids swearing, but I’d assume most would not chastise it because while curse words are taboo words for adults, for kids they are just words. While kids swearing likely isn’t condoned at any level of academia, surely it is not overtly stigmatized either since it’s a function of developmental expression.

Notice how you are probably comfortable swearing around friends or siblings but show a heightened uneasiness when it’s around someone who you know prohibits it or finds it disrespectful…like a pastor, an HR manager, or your own mother.

My father never swore around me or my sister when we were kids. Not because he’s pious and pure, but because it’s a style of expression he believed to be inconsistent with how children should be articulating themselves. I’ve learned as I’ve aged that my father is not at all pious and in his daily conversations with friends and colleagues, quite often invokes curse words as descriptors or to make a contention. Now that I’m in my thirties, we can have a discussion that may or may not require the use of the “bad” words based solely on the topic or how one of us feels about it.

The point is not to say that swearing is bad. Even kids swearing cannot convincingly be termed “bad.” In fact it is quite the opposite if used appropriately. But in much the same way you may on occasion swear in front of your coworkers or even your boss, you simply do not do it in the Human Resources office. But why not? That individual is an adult as well who almost certainly employs a similar vernacular at times in his or her own life. Why do you adjust your word choice in HR? You adjust it because in HR there are unwritten expectations for how you are expected to conduct yourself.

That unwritten expectation extends to other areas of life as well. Places where you know –without ever being taught– that swearing is objectionable. Places like church, a funeral, an interview, a wedding ceremony, or an employer sponsored luncheon. This space of ‘no-swearing-zones’ is shrinking more and more. It used to include many other aspects of society like on television or in front of children. Not anymore.

Swearing is normalized. In his 1972 monologue the Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television, the late comedian George Carlin recounted the limits of cursing on network TV. His infamous seven word list has been effectively normalized down to just four unless you watch after around 10pm, then it’s normalized down to two.

Parents no longer shy away from letting the “bad” words fall off their tongues in front of young children. Even if parents swore at or around children before, it was not commonly in public spaces. They then scold the child when the word is repeated, apparently expecting him or her to understand the appropriateness of the word and its many guises all while knowing when and when not to utilize it. This is an impossible task for a child.

Take the word ‘fuck’ for example. Fuck is one of the most diverse and versatile words in English and yet it’s often the most disappointing word that can slither out of a child’s mouth. It’s a verb, both transitive and active. It’s an adverb and a noun. It can signify dismay or stress, trouble or difficulty, even confusion, intolerance, anger, aggression, lust, love, suspicion, or contempt. It can be virtually every part of speech except paternal unless it’s specifically maternal first even when describing someone who is biologically ‘male’ because despite all the motherfuckers I know, both men and women, I’ve yet to meet a fatherfucker of any gender identity.

In the context of children swearing, they do it not for purpose but because it’s normalized. Children can infer regular usage and they learn through frequency and probabilistic methods. A child would not learn any aspect of a language (good or bad) if it was used inconsistently by those they are around most.

For a kid to accurately use one of the many forms of ‘fuck,’ he or she would have to be exposed to the diverse spectrum of usages in order to place their own usage in a fair and understandable context. If a child possesses the cognitive faculties to place ‘fuck’ in the right context, then certainly it is a word that this child hears regularly in most of its forms. By definition alone, it is then a word that should be acceptable to hear from a child, given full comprehension of its uses and an understanding of the unwritten places where it cannot be used. Typically, however, neither situation is reality.

Children are curious and will say these things eventually, but ultimately it is the parent’s fault if it becomes routine. Words are nothing—completely arbitrary—but the intention is what defines it.

“Tha fuck out my way, bitch,” the 12-year-old seventh grader shouted during a class jog around the baseball fields during Phys Ed.

“Hey fuck you, man,” his comrade running just beside him replied.

This is a purposeless exchange with swear words invoked simply for the novelty of it. Because it was an exchange between two 12-year-olds, it seems inappropriate. Would either of these kids have said that if their parents were with me, just inside the playground fence? Even though it was used in jest and as a novelty expression, I fully believe that both kids know full well not to say the same thing in front of their teacher, even if they can’t quite articulate why they shouldn’t say it.

Swearing is not inherently bad so long as the parties involved understand the reasons for invoking swear words and the purpose is not to hurt others. Swearing may even be used as a bonding mechanism between siblings separated by a wide gap in age.

Children should understand what is appropriate and not be taught to hate these things or be punished for using them. By understanding the reasons why adults sometimes use the “bad” words, children can develop their own verbiage consistent with how they want to present themselves. Using swear words everyday will create dependence on them. Using them secretively behind the veiled threats of parental punishment will create stigmas implying that swearing is always bad. Kids are curious and want to behave like adults, the ugliness in childhood swearing is not in the word itself, it’s in the lack of understanding the decorum of expression and that’s not ugliness at all, it’s what it means to be a kid. [adToAppearHere]

openly vulnerable dad

August 12, 2017
by Creed

A Father’s Love: What I Learned From a More Openly Vulnerable Dad

This is the story about how another dad showed me how…and why it is okay and even wonderful to be an openly vulnerable dad.

One sentence. That was all it took for me to know I was onboard with this guy. We had worked together a little over two weeks. We’d barely spoken. He didn’t even remember my name.

“You said your son is six?” I asked, remembering a conversation we had just a week prior.

“Yea, he’s six,” the man replied, “I never knew loving another human this much was possible.”

I never knew loving another human this much was possible. What a statement.

For a man I had known just over a week or so, he was remarkably open and remarkably vulnerable. The epitome of the openly vulnerable dad, making true statements wholly without fear to complete strangers. I instantly coveted this ability.

To read about this man, my reaction, and my quest to become an openly vulnerable dad, head over to Red Tricycle where I’m spinning my wheels about love, honesty, and public perception.

A Father’s Love: What One Dad Learned from Another

openly vulnerable dad



August 1, 2017
by Creed

Dumpster Fire: Social Media and Adults, pt. 4 – Snapchat

As we spiral deeper into the proverbial toilet of social media, we arrive at Snapchat, which is essentially a children’s app gone berserk.

Snapchat devolves even further into anti-evolution that Instagram. If Instagram is a Facebook photo album on human growth hormone, then Snapchat is Instagram in a bordello. Snapchat seemingly replaced Instagram with the younger teenage demographic after Instagram was co-opted by adults for their own needs. Unfortunately, like so many other social media apps designed for younger people, it did not stay there and is now yet another dumpster fire in the world of adult social media.

Snapchat functions in a similar way to Instagram – photos, filters, mass sharing in a public sphere, and all for the purpose of self-love. Where Snapchat falls off the deep end is that it can all be done in real time and has a live messaging component to it that auto-deletes historical messages and prevents against screenshots. If there’s an alien race out there existing in a parallel universe looking for the fastest and most effective way to breed a superficial and vainglorious subculture founded on the principles of debauchery in real time, certainly Snapchat is the key to their eternal happiness. Someone is going to get famous and probably abducted.

Snapchat, like the Instagram of yore, is for children. However, modern adults with all their haughty and overbearing charm have not shockingly swindled yet another fun children’s game and turned it into a tool for narcissism. Fully grown human adults using Snapchat is perhaps one of the most bizarre, stupid, and deplorable things to ever happen to human society in all recorded history.

Where other social media programs have a distinct functionality outside of the vanity like Facebook and a semi-real but at least sort of believable functionality like Instagram, Snapchat quite literally has no real value of any kind. It is a real-time social circle jerk designed to promote false perceptions, foster quick and efficient validation, and erase any remnants of debauchery almost instantly. It is the equivalent of the ‘clear history’ button after browsing your parents computer for porn before they get home from work. Adults go here not to share their likes or dislikes, promote business or charity, or even create falsehoods about the health and happiness of their families. They go here for the sole purpose of rapid hedonistic approval of other adults through comedy and lasciviousness. That’s that.

Dumpster Fire, pt. 1

Dumpster Fire, pt. 2

Dumpster Fire, pt. 3 [adToAppearHere]

unconditional love

July 8, 2017
by Creed

New Toys, Same Old Daddy: A Discourse on Unconditional Love

What is unconditional love? I’ve loved sushi for over a decade but I feel confident in saying that if it came down to it, I could live without sushi. Is that really a life worth living? A sushi-less existence? Might not seem like it sometimes.

I feel relatively safe in asserting that this type of love without conditions is not inherent in the relationship between a man and his raw fish. It’s not inherent in lots of relationships. It is inherent, however, in parenting.

I have a 4-year-old who covets. He covets just like any other human. He covets what he sees. But there’s one thing he never covets despite what he sees. Head over to Red Tricycle where this time I’m spinning my wheels about coveting, parenting, and unconditional love.

How My 4-Year-Old Showed Me Unconditional Love

unconditional love

thankful for your children

June 22, 2017
by Creed

Raising Chickens: A Step-By-Step Guide in Learning How to be Thankful for Your Children

You should be thankful for your children. Children are a gift. If a sufficient amount of time passes in your life as a parent and you still do not feel this way, get yourself some chickens. This isn’t a metaphor. If you really want to experience a new level of thankfulness for your children, raise chickens.

Chickens are the animal equivalent of humans in infancy for their entire lives. Chickens combine all the worst features of human babies with none of the best. A chicken remains a relatively small, helpless, unintelligent, and irritating creature who produces an inordinately high volume of daily fecal matter for their entire lives. Babies only feature these traits for about a year or two.

thankful for your children

Sure it’s cute now. Give it time.

No matter how much care or even love you give to a chicken, it will continually walk right over you in a very literal sense. In much the same way a disobedient toddler exercises his or her will of whimsy at all costs, a chicken will never gain the ability to follow direction, listen, or adjust its behavior to become consistent with your expectation. A child will experience enough developmental growth to accomplish the task of active listening and comprehension by around the age of three or four. [adToAppearHere]

Where the ‘raising chickens’ argument gets vague is in the real-time production of valuable goods. A mature hen produces an egg on average about every other day. This is a tangible commodity—a usable and renewable source of foodstuffs and/or currency should you choose to sell the eggs. A child does not produce material goods. In fact children do very much the opposite. They consume more and more as they age. In this sense, a chicken is more useful, right? Even a well-developed and cognitively advanced four-year-old cannot operate a rototiller. At this point you may be thinking, when exactly do kids become useful?

Yet in the ceaseless quest to be more thankful for your children, the totality of childhood versus the totality of chickenhood is a more suitable lens by which to do this. Chickens are at their absolute cutest when they are their smallest. As they grow they become more and more high maintenance and increasingly ugly. This is basically the inverse of a child.

thankful for your children

Society trains us to believe that the creature on the left is actually the more irritating form of life. Fake news.

A child, by most accounts, leaves the womb resembling something between Winston Churchill and a potato. As children age, they slowly reign in their capricious whimsy as they become cuter, move lovable, and more like real humans. While they will never produce predictable commodities like a chicken, they grow in a way that’s admirable and is something you as the parent can take pride in.

The pride you feel as a parent is your reward for a job well done.

There is no pride in raising chickens. Only the same old frustration you feel with an infant. Day. After. Day.

Be thankful for your children. They are a gift— a gift that never keeps giving. Watching a child grow, develop, and become a tiny human is perhaps the most lucrative commodity we have. If you still don’t agree, buy yourself some chickens and experience what it means to care for a being that never moves beyond the average capability of a three-month-old.[adToAppearHere]

stress relief

June 11, 2017
by Creed

Rage, Golf, and Functional Alcoholism: Stress Relief in 18 Holes or Fewer

There is no sport that embodies the principles of healthy rage and functional alcoholism quite like golf. A far cry from real sports like martial arts, football, or even speed chess, golf is a leisurely gentleman’s game enjoyed for centuries by some of the finest persons history has ever produced. Golf also serves as a productive outlet for stress relief. Cherish the history of this noble game while enjoying the camaraderie of friends and blowing off some steam.

Despite its murky status as an actual ‘sport,’ golf is a fun and effective way to get some stress relief while embracing that which you do best, drink alcohol. Golf is a sport that not only has virtually no physical prerequisites for participating but permits and even condones the consumption of intoxicants while playing.

Instead of concentrating your down time on running, weight lifting, and healthy eating to better excel at the game like you would with other sports, with golf, you can continue your daily routine of excessive drinking and incessant bitching and feel safe in knowing that your unhealthy and irritating habits will only serve to improve your overall experience on the links.

Even professional golfers—people who actually get paid to strike a tiny ball repeatedly with a crooked stick—are willing to publically enable their own vices during work hours simply because it’s totally accepted.

John Daly made a career out of being a slovenly miscreant who smoked and drank while he played and while his game may have suffered at times due to his sloth, his celebrity never faded—in fact only grew with each professional abomination. Daly now resides on the PGA Champions Tour (the old dudes) where he not only continues to smoke and drink at suicidal levels, but continues to drive an annual salary upwards of seven figures.

For amateur golfers, ingesting intoxicants during a round of golf is virtually mandated. Courses and country clubs operate entire departments whose sole purpose is to drive around and make sure you stay inebriated (in the name of stress relief). Moreover, most country clubs and a good percentage of public courses require golfers to utilize golf carts in order to speed up the pace of play. A golf course is literally the only place where drinking and driving is not only accepted, but promoted.

Golf is a game of patience, diligence, and tolerance. It is an elaborate symphony of self-control coupled with a balanced mental state. In the event that anything goes sideways, however, you always have access to no fewer than twelve metal sticks with heavy, crooked ends to bash into the various things surrounding you at any given time. Swinging narrow sticks into inanimate objects at a high velocity is a proven and undying method of stress relief.

Because golf takes place in open space, away from large crowds, and generally without the oversight of any authority, you can be literally as violent as you want and it’s typically not only accepted, but encouraged. Your fellow golfers will look on with a sly grin as you hurl another pitching wedge into the trunk of a tree. Smiling and joking, you will all continue up to the green to finish out the hole, laughing together about how you left yet another innocent birch mangled beyond repair.

Few amateur golfers have gone an entire round without throwing a club into a lake, ripping the branches off a tree, chucking a fellow player’s golf bag into a sand trap, or intentionally driving a ball over the fence and into oncoming traffic. Rage is king in golf and even infractions that could easily be considered assault with a deadly weapon in the public sphere are fondly admired inside the confines of the course. At a golf course, this is stress relief at it’s finest, even if it would technically be considered criminal activity in any other venue.

An average round of 18-hole golf takes between four and six hours to complete. With consistent alcohol consumption combined with the general frustration created by repeatedly failing to put a little ball in a cup buried atop a well-manicured field of green, there are countless opportunities to spiral into a drunken hail storm of unbridled violence. A state of reckless, alcohol-fueled terrorism that’s wholly condoned at all levels of the game.

Golf is perhaps one of the most effective ways to blow off steam and get some real relaxation. For the reasonable fee of around $50 – $100 for a round, you can get drunk and destroy public property without having to worry about inconveniences like financial reparations or arrest that would certainly befall you if you did these things in, say, Walmart.

Find your center on the links. There is no limit to the amount of tipsy and aggressive stress relief you can obtain at a golf course. Throw back eight or twelve cold ones and send a line drive through a random stranger’s sliding glass door. They deserve it for living right next to a golf course and you’ll feel better. Everyone wins.

why questions of a child

June 5, 2017
by Creed

But Why, Daddy?: Using the Why Questions of a Child to Unearth Life’s Mysteries

Children like to know why. Why this, why that, why everything…literally everything. This nonstop hailstorm of why questions can be irritating and time-consuming. The why questions of a child, however, are simply inevitable. All young children between the ages of about three and six want to know why. They make that quite evident day after day.

Surely there is a limit to what most parents are capable of answering. None of us are experts in everything and all of us have a limit to what we can tolerate.

But addressing the ‘why’ bombardment willingly and honestly can be of great benefit to both parent and child. Head over to Red Tricycle where I’m spinning my wheels about children and their incessant why questions.

How Answering My Son’s (nonstop) “Why’s” Helped Us Both

why questions of a child

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for fuck's sake

June 4, 2017
by Creed

For Fuck’s Sake

Fuck me!” Mary Ann shouted in a fury of rage.

“Oh for fuck’s sake!” Tom shouted.

She was fucking fed up and frustrated as fuck. Her fucking husband, Tom, couldn’t get it though his thick fucking head that there was simply no street parking left.

“You’ve driven down this block like four fucking times already,” Mary Ann yelled.

“Fuck this,” Tom muttered. “I’ll just pay the fucking valet.”

“It’s already eight fucking thirty,” Mary Ann chided. “We’re fucking late again, you dumb fuck.”

Tom drove their family fucking station wagon around a corner towards the valet.

“Well fuck me running,” Tom smiled with glee, spotting a parking spot off in the distance beside a row of tents occupied by a bunch of fucking homeless guys.

“Don’t you dare park my car next to those vagrant fucks,” Mary Ann warned.

“They’re all fucked up anyway,” Tom argued persuasively, pointing to the abundance of empty liquor bottles strewn about all over the fucking place. “They won’t fuck with the car.”

“Fuck it,” Mary Ann conceded.

Tom parked the car and he and Mary Ann got out.

“Where the fuck are we?” Mary Ann asked.

“The restaurant is just up the hill,” Tom said.

“Are you fucking with me?” Mary Ann asked in shock. “I have to walk up this fucking hill in these fucking heels?”

“Stop fucking around,” Tom retorted. “Let’s go.”

“Fuck you!” Mary Ann shot back, glaring at Tom.

“You talk too fucking much,” Tom replied casually. “Let’s go.”

Mary and Tom walked up a short hill towards the restaurant.

“See? That wasn’t too fucking far,” Tom stated pretentiously as they arrived at the restaurant.

“Ok, you were fucking right,” Mary Ann agreed through a stern gaze.

“Abso-fucking-lutely,” Tom gloated, grinning from ear to ear.

Mary Ann and Tom approached the host podium as they entered the restaurant.

“Greetings,” welcomed the hostess warmly, “do you have reservations?”

“Fuck no,” Tom replied. “Table for two, please.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” the hostess replied, “we all fully booked this evening.”

“What the fuck?” Tom replied angrily.

“I’m sorry,” the hostess stated again.

“Fully booked on a weekday?” Tom asked incredulously. “Holy fuck!”

“What a fuck up,” Mary Ann said, turning her head in anger to one side.

“I’m sorry,” apologized the hostess.

“It’s not your fault, dear,” Mary Ann consoled her, “he’s a fucking tool bag.”

“Fuck if I knew,” Tom asserted in an attempt to defend his poor fucking planning.

Mary Ann and Tom walked away from the restaurant, both hungry as fuck and dejected over the lack of available tables.

“Why the fuck didn’t you make a reservation, you fuck stick?” Mary Ann scolded.

“I fucked up,” Tom said sheepishly. “Who the fuck would think they’d be sold out on a fucking Tuesday?”

“For fuck’s sake,” Mary vented. “Total cluster fuck.”

Tom and Mary Ann walked back down the hill towards their car in silence.

“It’s fucking dark already,” Mary Ann groaned. “Let’s just go the fuck home.”

“I fucking got it!” Tom rang out as they approached the car.

“Don’t fuck with me,” Mary Ann said.

Tom and Mary Ann got in the car and Tom began driving.

“Where the fuck are we going?” Mary Ann asked quizzically.

“Calm the fuck down,” Tom replied. “I have a new fucking plan.”

Tom drove inland towards the country, stopping in a small enclave just outside a park overlooking the hills in the distance. There wasn’t a city light in sight and neither of them had seen a fucking car for miles.

“What the fuck is this?” Mary Ann asked.

“I think it’s fucking romantic,” Tom replied, spreading a blanket across the grass.

“We’re in the middle of fucking nowhere,” Mary Ann complained. “Bumfuck Egypt is a romantic place for you?”

“Lie the fuck down,” Tom gestured lovingly towards the blanket.

Mary Ann sat down beside Tom on the blanket and the two of them slowly laid down together, cuddling under the brilliance of the night sky.

“Fuck,” Mary Ann whispered softly.

“What?” Tom asked.

Mary Ann sighed, “this is fucking romantic as fuck. I’m really fucking sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Tom replied under his breath, reaching an arm beneath the small of Mary Ann’s back.

“Let’s fuck,” Mary Ann seductively whispered.

“Fuck yes,” Tom agreed.

Under the moonlit sky, Tom fucked Mary Ann on the blanket. Neither of them gave a fuck about the restaurant debacle. Blissfully, they fucked like bunnies.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” Tom said sincerely, glancing into Mary Ann’s gorgeous fucking eyes.

“I fucking love you,” Mary Ann gasped through exasperated fuck moans.

“I fucking love you too,” Tom replied.

As if fucked by the fickle finger of fate, Tom and Mary Ann’s anger at the failed date night melted away and their eyes met as their bodies fucked in harmony.

Beneath the vain queen Cassiopeia, Tom and Mary Ann gave no fucks. And gave all the fucks. And all the fucks were theirs and theirs alone.


May 28, 2017
by Creed

Dumpster Fire: Social Media and Adults, pt. 3 – Instagram

In the world of social media and adults, Instagram represents evolutionary regression. Perhaps most unfortunately, this photo-based application and its usage among the adult population is relatively consistent with how adults have received and adapted to print culture and media trends. In a similar way to how social life in the physical world has changed over time, social media in the digital realm has gone much the same direction. Instagram is a perfect example of the shallow and decreasing length of the adult attention span and the willingness to seek, create, and bestow approval in strictly visual and materialistic ways.

Instagram, similarly to Facebook, is purely about self-gratification. Where Instagram differs from Facebook is in the depth of material. While one can forego the vanity of Facebook in search of tangible meaning, that can simply not be achieved on Instagram.

The entirety of the app is superficial. This is the sole agenda of almost every Instagram user. While there are a good many users who legitimately try to propagate things of intrinsic value like photos of the natural world, mind-bending illusions, philosophical or inspiration quotes, poetry, and self-help, the vast majority of users sharing photos and the occasional video are doing it only for their own validation. In sort of a “Facebook photo album on human growth hormone” phenomenon, Instagram has captured our ability to be narcissistic and pole-vaulted it into another stratosphere.

The filter is something that first became popular with Instagram users. By selecting a predetermined color/effect overlay, users could alter the reality of a picture to make it more appealing to a certain context. As an example, black/white, grayscale, and sepia tones can add a mystique of age, wear, or mystery to an image. While this seems like a fun way to project your definition of reality in order to elicit a desired response i.e. somber, rugged, overly emotional, etc., Instagram users overwhelming use these filters to adjust their physical appearance.

By filtering the face, one can quickly and effectively remove age, blemishes, and unwanted physical characteristics and therefore everyone is beautiful all the time. That’s great, right? Magazine and movies have been doing this for years. Television actors, even sports and network news broadcasters have make-up artists that enhance their appearance. So why not? Why not present your best self?

The reason this is objectionable is because virtually everyone filtering themselves is filtering themselves for no other reason than meeting the perceived approval of hundreds of thousands of internet strangers for apparently no reason whatsoever. By filtering oneself into beauty and thus accruing hundreds and hundreds of ‘hearts’ on your picture, you feel validated, you feel beautiful, you feel better. Don’t worry that you accidentally filtered off half your nose and didn’t notice. It’s cool. The rest of you looks great, albeit not at all representative of what you actually look like.

Magazine and television are forced to filter and airbrush their employees to meet the demands of a shallow and superficial subculture which drives sales. Random individuals filtering themselves on Instagram are doing it purely for their own validation by presenting a false image of themselves to feel good about, and then ultimately returning to their normal appearance in everyday life where they are forced to live without their filtered reality where perhaps they don’t receive regular validation from total strangers.

Where Instagram has gone sideways is in the way adults use it. It’s no secret that most adults would probably agree that Instagram is a game. It’s an app designed for the younger demographic to play with photos and have fun in much the same way magazines like Teen Vogue and whatnot used to operate. However what’s peculiar is that the younger segment of society always did and still does use the app in this way. As an accessory.

Adults, however, have morphed it into yet another tool for vainglory and validation. By filtering not only themselves but their family photos and sharing them in a public sphere using hashtags to draw increased viewership, adults seek to market their lifestyles as perfect and desirable to other adults for no other reason than to garner approval. In a similar vein to the feigned nostalgia Facebook timelines offer, Instagram does it in a far more in-your-face and superficial way because there’s no content or context. It’s just pictures. Instagram is essentially akin to carrying around those old, large family photo albums with you while you run errands so you can show complete strangers how your life is better than theirs.

It promotes a sense of personal value based on what random people in the digital world deem worthy of a heart.

Instagram has real functions. While the app generally isn’t considered a business or marketing tool in the ways other social apps are, it does have a capitalist consumer presence which at least makes it viable for some sector of the population. That sector, however, is exponentially small when compared to other social media applications. In a general sense, Instagram is homemade lifestyle porn and adults are just hoping, pleading, for internet strangers to masturbate to them.

Dumpster Fire, pt. 1

Dumpster Fire, pt. 2 [adToAppearHere]


May 19, 2017
by Creed

Why Spanking Ruined My Life

My parents never spanked me as a child. In fact they never hit me at all. I think this is where my dysfunction began. In the absence of spanking.

I was punished, albeit, benignly. Spanking wasn’t in my parent’s handbook of discipline. I was sent to my room or put in the corner or even occasionally prohibited from seeing my friends for a few days—grounded—they called it. But I was never hit. And that is wrong.

As a functional adult, I often struggle with how to manifest my power without violence. In my professional management position, I routinely counsel subordinate employees through discussion and logical understanding supplemented with suggestive coaching or even leading by example. I simply cannot bring a subordinate employee into my office and beat the shit out of them as a display of both my power and disapproval for whatever unacceptable action they just committed. For my inability to physically dominate and humiliate otherwise innocent humans in the workplace, I blame my parents.

When my 4-year-old son misbehaves, I often find myself trying to learn why he has misbehaved instead of spanking him. For perhaps it is my fault—my poor parenting—that caused this. At times I’ll even stoop to unimaginable lows and give him a hug, trying to console him with loving touch instead of physical violence and degradation. For my unwillingness to punish my son with physical aggression, I blame my parents.

Sometimes my wife and I argue. Sometimes we outright fight. But that’s the nature of long-term monogamy, right? Tensions build but ultimately the greater good shines through. I find it pretty simple to argue with my wife. I even get irrationally mad at times, particularly when she is right and I am wrong. But I just can’t bring myself to hit her. I cannot lay hands violently on a woman, especially one whom I love. For my inability to solve my marital conflicts with violence, I blame my parents.

I’ve been known to dabble in the illicit substances. As a young man I was wrapped up pretty deeply in drug use and even to this day as a man I’ll go through periods of excessive alcohol consumption. But my rationale and ultimately, my self-conceived justifications for these less-than-desirable personality traits are on me. If only my parents had beat me for my wrongdoings as a child I would have an eternal set of alibis for my disgusting habits. If only my parents had hit me, I’d never have had to learn about accountability. Because I have to be accountable for my mistakes, no matter how much I might resist it at times, I blame my parents.

I dropped out of college. Once. I picked up the pieces of my shattered education, regrouped, and went on the graduate with honors. Unfortunately, my collegiate failures were due to my addiction and inability to get my priorities together. My teachers, professors, and associated educators never hit me. And that is truly sad. I had to own my failures as truly my own, regroup, and persevere. For the lack of physical abuse I took in school leading to mistakes that were wholly my own, I blame my educators and by proxy, my parents.

I’ve had some marital strife in my life. Who doesn’t? But my wife and I have typically been able to work together through any problems by admitting faults and amending mistakes. In these scenarios, I have to face my failures as a man. I can’t lean on the crutch of childhood abuse as a reason for my shortcomings as a man. For my inability to justify my marital vices by way of a violent childhood, I blame my parents.

This is where the problem lies for me. Spanking. I was never taught that physical violence solves problems. Because of my inability to exact physical violence on others by way of spanking, hitting, swatting, or punching, I am forced to use my mental faculties and love to understand and solve problems.

I have problems at work that I cannot bring myself to solve with violence. I have moments with my son that are perhaps deserving of punishment yet all I can do is love him. I have marital problems that I have to be accountable for and own. I have a personal history of poor health choices, poor life choices, and educational failures. I don’t get to blame any of this on my violent childhood. For all this, I have to be accountable. And for that I blame my parents.

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