Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fathers and Sons and Pop Culture

I was watching Tom & Jerry with my son for the first time when my dad, who had been quietly sitting next to us, completely absorbed in trying to work his new Droid phone, glanced up at the TV and said, “Oh, I love these guys.”

“You what?” I said incredulously.

“I love these guys," he said matter-of-factly.  "Used to watch them all the time. They played them in front of the movies. Popeye too.”

Later that night over a bottle of wine, I told my sister the story. She turned to our father.  "You like cartoons? You?”

My dad confirmed that he did.

As far as I had known, my dad had never watched a cartoon in his life. The fact that I grew up worshiping at the altar of Bugs Bunny seemed to be lost on my dad. When I was watching TV, he would often swoop in the room, wrest control of the remote and turn on sports or news or something boring like that.

“Dad, do you realize I’m almost 38 years old and this is the first I’m hearing of this?” I said to him.

I was stunned and I was also a little ticked off. All of the times my dad tried to get me interested in sports and all of the time I spent fighting it, we could have been watching cartoons instead?


WonderWife™ had given the Bean a figure of Spider-Man riding a motorcycle. Despite my umbrage at the fact that Spider-Man does not ride a motorcycle (a fact I made well known to my nonchalant wife) the toy piqued the Bean’s interest in the web-crawler. During a long car trip, the Bean started asking a few questions and WonderWife™ attempted to answer. It was a valiant effort, but I needed to jump in and correct her on a few important details—namely that Spider-Man does in fact wear a costume. 

“So Dad,” the Bean asked me the next morning, “Who is the person under Spider-Man’s costume?”

“That’s a really good question. I’m glad you asked. His name is Peter Parker…”

I laid it all out for him—the radioactive spider, the wall crawling, the web-slinging, the crime fighting. I taught him, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

As he absorbed all of this, his eyes got really big.  More questions soon followed.


Eric said...

Yes. Spider Man does not ride on a motor cycle. He does not snorkle, hang glide, or wear snow shoes. The same for Batman and all his variant costume changes as well.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

But Batman does ride a motorcycle. A sweet, bad ass motorcycle.

SciFi Dad said...

Spider-man is a good gateway hero... no guns, no weapons, no explosions. My son has an affinity for him as well.

ZenMom said...

It's hard to explain to people how thrilling it is as a parent when you can start to share your hobbies and interests with your own kids. :D

Daddy Geek Boy said...

SciFi...Yeah, he's a good one. Now if I could only get that 70's animated series on DVD, I'd have something good to show him.

Zen...Not to a fellow geek, it's not!

FilmFather said...

When I was a kid, watching Looney Tunes was my only cartoon connection with my dad, but it's one I hear him laugh hysterically at the antics of Bugs & Co. was always a treat.

And awesome is it when you can educate your young boy on the intricacies of superheroes -- not to mention Star Wars, classic cartoons, etc.?

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Film...Oh, there's a whole geeky world out there and I'm the ambassador.