The internet, possibly the entire Milky Way Galaxy, was shaken to the innermost layer of its nucleus when John Roderick, podcaster and friend of Ken Jennings, shared a story of teaching his child to use a can opener. In said story, Roderick tweeted that his sweet precious child approached him, claiming she was hungry, and instead of lovingly offering her a snack, for it was snack hour, he gave her a can of beans and a can opener and told her to figure it out. In his own hand, Roderick typed on Twitter that it took his bean child six hours to open the can and access the beans to appease her hunger. After much criticism and the raising of digital pitchforks claiming that Roderick’s actions border on abuse, he deleted his Twitter and retreated to the shelter of his bean can castle. But as it turns out, it was all just an exaggerated joke that went awry! Internet comedy man, what’s up with that?
On Tuesday afternoon, Roderick wrote a lengthy apology on his website explaining that he did not mean for a joke about letting his child go hungry for several hours to get so out of hand. Nor did he actually let her go hungry, he claims.
My story about my daughter and the can of beans was poorly told. I didn’t share how much laughing we were doing, how we had a bowl of pistachios between us all day as we worked on the problem, or that we’d both had a full breakfast together a few hours before. Her mother was in the room with us all day and alternately laughing at us and telling us to be quiet while she worked on her laptop. We all took turns on the jigsaw puzzle.
I framed the story with me as the asshole dad because that’s my comedic persona and my fans and friends know it’s “a bit”.
The apology also addresses his understanding of the situation.
I woke up yesterday to find that I had become #BeanDad. I was a locus for a tremendous outpouring of anger and grief. It took me hours to fully grasp. I reread the story and saw clearly that I’d framed it so poorly, so insensitively. Bean Dad, full of braggadocio and dickhead swagger, was hurting people. I’d conjured an abusive parent that many people recognized from real life.
I am deeply sorry for having precipitated more hurt in the world, for having prolonged or exacerbated it by fighting back and being flippant when confronted, and for taking my Twitter feed offline yesterday instead of facing the music.
Despite apologizing for deleting his account, Roderick has not yet reactivated it likely over the post-Beanpocolypse accusations about tweets that were both racist and anti-semitic. Roderick had an apology for that too.
As for the many racist, anti-Semitic, hurtful and slur-filled tweets from my early days on Twitter I can say only this: all of those tweets were intended to be ironic, sarcastic. I thought then that being an ally meant taking the slurs of the oppressors and flipping them to mock racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry. I am humiliated by my incredibly insensitive use of the language of sexual assault in casual banter.
You see it isn’t that Roderick is a bad guy, he’s just ironic and all of you simple-minded small beans can’t comprehend the irony in him tweeting, “I’m going to rape you the next time I see you. Bad rape, not funny rape,” at another person. It’s not a threat, it’s allyship okay!