Beans and being mean

If you’re not Very Online, you may have missed Bean Dad: for a full day social media was sharing and/or piling on a man who posted about teaching, or rather not teaching, his daughter to use a can opener.

Emily Pothast explains it:

…despite a bombshell story about Trump attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Georgia election, “Bean Dad” was the social media network’s top trending topic. Bean Dad, it turned out, was John Roderick, who had issued a series tweets about how his 9-year-old daughter had asked for his help opening a can of beans while he was working on a jigsaw puzzle. Instead of showing her how to work the can opener, he made her figure it out on her own, which she finally did after six hours of “grunting and groaning.”

I saw the original posts and assumed it was someone very selectively telling a story in an attempt to go viral, as did Pothast. But as she points out, it became something more interesting when people began to unearth Roderick’s old tweets containing various slurs and quite a lot of homophobia, ableism and antisemitism. The tweets don’t appear to be sincere; they appear to be the kind of “edgy” humour you find in episodes of South Park.

And that got Pothast thinking.

Over the past day, the discourse around the Bean Dad kerfuffle has had me thinking about the larger cultural disconnect it reveals between members of the same community. This is the chasm between between those who have decided that joking about “funny rape” or ironically calling someone a “fag” actually isn’t very original or creative (and honestly never was), and those who feel alienated by the prospect of living in a world where their jokes about Jews (delivered with or without affecting a Cartman voice) are no longer met with unconditional approval.