Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm Banning Celeb News As of Right Now

My absolute favorite turn-of-phrase in Linda Hirshman's brilliant-though-misguided manifesto, Get to Work ... And Get a Life Before It's Too Late, is her description of at-home fatherhood as a "sham refuge for scoundrels from the elite." It cracked me up to think that I used to be such a scoundrel.

Though she doesn't develop the point, it's pretty clear that she does not believe that rich and famous fathers who declare they will take time off to be with the kids are a representative sample of any emerging fatherhood movement. And you know what? On this point, she has a decent argument.

Tom Brady's much-publicized struggle over whether to take some time off football to spend with his new little one lasted ... um ... exactly until the first preseason game of the year. Peter Baylies at athomedad.com noted last week that Michael Douglas is still out there doing what's he's been doing for years: bragging about his status as a full-time father, despite cranking out three films in the last two years, plus a screenplay, plus a movie in production. Jerry Seinfeld is riffing on fatherhood, too (though not in a particularly positive way), Peter points out, and Richard Gere wants to talk parenting, too.

Don't get me wrong: I love that these guys are out there being public about their role as fathers, and I have no doubt that in workaholic Hollywood, they are indeed great role models. But I want to give credit where credit is due. There are a lot of guys doing the real, gritty SAHD work, who are sacrificing present and future earnings to be at home with the kids 12 months a year, with no breaks for shooting.

At-home fatherhood is no sham, and it's no refuge for most of the 2 million guys who have taken on the responsibilities, and it drives me more than a little nuts to think that Hirshman (and others, no doubt), see the model of at-home fatherhood as less Philip Williams and more Gordon Gekko.

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