Dumpy the Dumpster Fire, Official Mascot of the Internet

Parenting in the Age of the Constant Dumpster Fire

My daughter saw my son putting on lip balm the other day and said “boys don’t wear makeup” to which I responded “boys can wear makeup. Anyone can wear makeup!” She was taken aback a bit I think, both at the concept of boys wearing makeup and the certainty of my reaction. I realized immediately I used a little too much “Facebook argument dad-voice” and softened my tone, explaining to them that anyone can wear makeup and someone telling you differently is just jealous they don’t have the confidence to wear it, too. They understood, smiled, and then fought over the Chapstick because they’re kids and they’ll fight over anything.

My snippy attitude, unbeknownst to my darling daughter, came from seeing this video on Facebook earlier that day:

Jake Warden is his name, and at 10 he’s got a knack for makeup that I don’t even have for eating fried food. The reason I got so frustrated on this particular topic is the Facebook link I found this video on was absolutely disgusting. So as not to give the parent who posted it any more traffic, I’ll simply say it was a VERY negative post, asking “how do you handle this as a parent??”

I dunno Tina, maybe love and support your child, and be happy they’re good at something that’s not meth.

How do you handle what, exactly? That your kid found something they love and are good at? We should all be so lucky.

When the Dumpster Fire Goes Viral

As a parent, seeing these kinds of viral, hatefilled garbage posts on social media makes my skin crawl AND my blood boil, like an old timey witch curse. This goes beyond the stereotypical “jock dad with nerd son” sort of quasi-shame that’s portrayed in coming-of-age comedies. This is parents looking at the habits and choices of random kids online – or worse, their sexual orientation, gender, etc – and publicly shaming them.

Now I wouldn’t give a bucket of beetle shit what some middle-aged chubby screecher thinks about me, but kids do. Kids kill themselves over cyberbullying, or they simply suppress who they are or what they love. If your channel requires the degradation of human beings to garner likes, you might be a dumpster fire.

*Cough* activistmommy dot *cough cough cough*

It’s difficult to raise your head above the waves of negativity and viral hate speech, but you must. More than that, we need to be an example to the younger generations, whether they’re OUR whelplings or not. You might be an aunt or uncle, teacher, or sub shop cashier, but kids watch adults and emulate them. When bullying is being cheered on in a comments section, kids will cheer it on as well. Adults do this, too, but their brains are less pliable than kids’ are.

Don’t Toast Marshmallows Over the Dumpster Fire

Recently, I saw this bit of unexpected vomit online:

Joshua Feuerstein, the literal crotch of Satan

This man is a pastor, with several spawnlings. This means he is considered to be a “Christian” AND he is raising kids. I can’t speak to his family tree, but I can assure you those kids hear every hateful, gross word he says. I’m certain his constituents are like-minded, and soon their kids will be voting and replicating this thinking.

Christians aren’t bad, and neither are republicans, at least not because of their beliefs. The problem I have is that when you are a father, or in this case, a pastor (who is like a father to a congregation), you have impressionable ears listening all the time. When you’re in a position of authority like this, you need to double-check that what you’re saying isn’t hot garbage. I have a message to Joshua Feuerstein – implying that anyone deserves sexual assault or harassment for any reason is hot garbage. I don’t recall a parable about the “woman who wore a short skirt and totally deserved it”. Jesus ate with women and men alike 2000 years ago, he was inclusive, especially of the marginalized.

When you say women are “dressed like hookers” and imply they deserve sexual assault or harassment, your kids hear that.

Your daughters hear you suggesting women need to check their dress or behavior to earn your respect.  Worse than that, you put the occurrence of sex crimes on their shoulders.

Your sons hear you say that it’s on women to change their behavior to prevent MEN from doing horrific, deplorable shit. You’re giving awful behavior a pass, and worse, you’re blaming the victim.

We Can Do Better


Humans are a goofy species. We lack survival adaptation like claws, fur, fangs, being-Wolverine, etc, but we make up for that with our intellect. That intellect has allowed us to survive for a million years, put us on the moon, created art, and birthed our modern society. Despite ALL of this, dumbass beliefs like racism, sexism, and xenophobia still exist, and it’s because we pass them along to our kids.

Stop it, right now – stop the spread of the dumpster fire. Teach your kids to respect EVERYONE, regardless of their race, creed, gender, orientation, religion, demographic trait, demographic trait, etc.

Don’t applaud online bullies, no matter what your political beliefs are. We can disagree without being hateful, ignorant garbage. I’m guilty of stereotyping in online “discussion”, too, and it helps nobody.

If we all teach our children that advancement, success, and self-improvement never need to come at the expense of others’ self-esteem or livelihood, then we might just save the world.





  • Linda Hobden Reply

    My son puts lip balm on his lips … they do get rather dry … but his brother thinks its a bit funny but then he calls him “posh” because his brother likes to comb his hair and not look like a scruff bag! It is so difficult bringing up children – however, respecting each other, respecting other people’s views or fashion quirks – and being tolerant – is an important lesson to teach youngsters. ? Nice, thought provoking post Tony.

  • Herlina Kwee Reply

    Why can’t we all be like Panda? He’s white, black and Asian all in one. We all belong to the same race: Human.

  • Monica Matthews aka “Scholarship Mom” Reply

    Well said, Tony! Our kids pick up so many things that we don’t even realize we are doing, so it’s up to us to model the behavior that we wish to instill in them. You are a wonderful dad!

  • Mandi Reply

    Well said. The internet is full of the awfulness of the human race. It’s really painful to see some of the hate.

    We must parent our children to embrace everyone, as you are.

  • Carol Cassara Reply

    When I read this trash on the web I always think…”opinions are like a00holes…everyone’s got one.” The bully pulpit never goes out of style.

  • Debbie Reply

    A thought provoking post Tony with many good points raised. In Australia last week a 14 year old girl took her own life due to bullying, it’s so sad to hear these things. You sound like a lovely father.

  • Molly Stevens Reply

    Terrific post, Tony. I went to my first drag show last summer during Gay Pride week. My friend urged me to go because she knew one of the young people participating – it was his first performance. The thing I loved about it was his parents were sitting in the front row, clapping and cheering him on just like I used to do for my son when he played baseball. It warmed my heart, and the thought of this child being bullied makes me nauseated. I try to avoid the negative crap on Facebook on both sides of the political fence, and detest the ignorance of people like the judgmental pastor. I’m so skeptical of FB now, I even wonder if this ‘pastor’ is real or a fake persona who is trying to stir things up.

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