MomLogic Announces the Real Model of Fatherhood: Dad-Zero

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA—In a statement released yesterday, parenting website MomLogic announced that their team of scientists had created the world's first fully cloned father using DNA from Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, Al Bundy, Peter Griffin and that bald, pot-bellied guy on the cul-de-sac who wears deck shoes and dark socks when mowing the lawn. “We’re calling him Dad-Zero,” said MomLogic spokeswoman Katy Geiger. “Our staff found it too difficult to write about the new generation of fathers, so we pieced together a singular image the majority of our readership and advertisers could relate to,” Geiger went on to say that Dad-Zero would be a tremendous help in streamlining content and in cutting costs associated with the time needed to obtain what she referred to as “facts.”

However, yesterday’s news did not go without reactions from both advocates and opponents of Dad-Zero. Mindy Bateman who’s the president of Dad Bash, a New York City, PR firm dedicated to upholding the current image of how fathers are portrayed in the mainstream media, firmly supported it. “My grandfather was a drunk; my father was never around; and my husband can’t be left alone with our kids. Dad-Zero accurately depicts today’s men in their role as a parent.” Bateman added that she would be recommending Dad-Zero to all her clients which include Lifetime TV, Cosmopolitan magazine, and

Others, like People for the Ethical Treatment of Men (or PET-M) West Coast Coordinator Walter Goldman, disagree. “MomLogic is hell-bent on believing what they want to believe about fathers. It’s ludicrous!” Goldman also contended that MomLogic’s intent to streamline content with Dad-Zero was actually just a way to cut corners and mask it with some cheap laughs. He cited Sean Bean as Executive Editor at Baby Talk as a perfect example of a parenting publication in touch with today’s family.

When asked about this in a follow up interview, MomLogic’s Geiger dismissed the notion of being out of touch as simply not true. “We are continually looking to our readers—both moms and dads—for feedback,” she said, pointing to a May 2010, MomLogic survey asking participants to select what they thought dads ‘REALLY” wanted for Father’s Day. Choices included: “World’s Greatest” memorabilia, a bottle of booze, sex with mom, and a BJ. Geiger finished by calling into question PET-M’s own credibility in voicing their position.

Indeed, PET-M’s tactics have been deemed as radical, and their vehement opposition to the Dad-Zero project since its inception three years ago has gained them national attention. PET-M held a number of peaceful rallies outside MomLogic’s Burbank, California headquarters. In 2008 the protests turned violent, however, after one PET-M member tossed a bucket of fake dad’s blood on MomLogic’s Managing Editor, Gillian Sheldon as she walked out of the building. Five months later PET-M hailed five injured Greenpeace activists as heroes for their actions in ramming a MomLogic boat that was hunting Sperm Whales off the coast of Newfoundland. Stillmen downplayed these as minor compared to the bigger picture.

MomLogic, who is a part of the Warner Brothers Women’s Digital Network, has not been immune to its share of controversy too, most recently when someone uploaded footage on YouTube from a MomLogic company outing. In the video, employees can be seen beating a man-shaped piƱata until it falls on the ground; after which, an unidentified women sets the remnants on fire to the crowd’s chants of, “Who’s your daddy now!” Geiger would not comment on the video except to say the situation was still being reviewed.

Critics place the blame on Sheldon and her prior experience as the Supervising Producer for the celebrity gossip site, a media outlet known for poor taste and unsavory methods its news coverage. Lending to their contention is Sheldon’s official MomLogic profile which boasts that, “[h]er experience covering celebrity meltdowns translates well into the world of diapers, tantrums and teen sexting.” (Shortly after this post was published MomLogic removed Sheldon's profile from their staff page. She's now an independent creative consultant.)

Arguably, a TMZ-like vibe can be felt in much of MomLogic’s Fathers Day-related material. One posting, for example, offered gift suggestions for Deadbeat Dads, and while the despicableness of such men goes without doubt, the piece comes at a time when many previously paying fathers are now unable to meet their obligations due to job loss and the court’s reluctance to grant adjustments.

“If Dad-Zero were divorced he’d be a deadbeat for sure,” Geiger said with a chuckle. “Come on, people it’s meant to be funny.” Based on the reader comments, however, many failed to find humor in this and similar content like “10 Reasons Father Doesn’t Always Know Best,” where a wife uses derogatory examples of her husband’s parenting foibles in what appears to be a recognizable variation of Dad-Zero. But to MomLogic the punch line never gets old as they’ve run this same post every June for the past three years. (Several hours after this post went live, MomLogic ran a positive post on stay-at-home dads.)

Experts like Gregory Steinem, a professor at Northwestern University’s School of Communications, recognize these tactics as more than simple comedy, but rather a fundamental part of a MomLogic’s marketing strategy. “It’s a classic case of stirring up sh#t,” according to Professor Steinem who authored a book on the topic entitled, Stirring Up Sh#t: How Parenting Websites Seek Negative Attention for Fame and Profit.

“Basically, sites like this will say whatever's necessary to create controversy in order to bolster their traffic which they then use to show potential sponsors and advertisers to gain ad revenue.” Professor Steinem went on to mention that even publishing this article plays into their game, but then added it was a catch-22. “How are you going to show people an ugly dog if you can’t point the bitch out?”

When asked about this, MomLogic’s spokeswoman said she was not in a position to discuss the company’s business practices. Geiger was equally reticent in addressing questions about the initial prototype for Dad-Zero, but she did confirm that this early version known as F.I.L.T.H., or Father I’d Like To Hump, was based on the same criteria MomLogic used in naming David Beckham Father of the Year in 2008.

“That was a valuable trial-and-error period for us, and it proved there was no such thing as a perfect father, not one with a body like that anyway,” she said smiling. “F.I.L.T.H .was scrapped, and we shifted our focus to a more realistic goal using authentic features like emitting nasty odors and sitting on the couch all day.” Geiger was quick to dismiss rumors that the F.I.L.T.H. project was shut down because it tended to sleep other women and toss kittens into moving traffic.

Even so, MomLogic feels confident Dad-Zero will be a hit to the extent they have already drafted plans for two future models: Dad-Zero MF-R and Dad-Zero SOB. “The obective is to roll them out in conjunction with June 2011 reposting of “Father Doesn’t Know Best,” said Geiger.

For now, however, it’s too early to gauge the success of Dad-Zero. In the end what this will be predicated on is a fundamental question: Will our society accept Dad-Zero as an accurate representation of today’s father, or will MomLogic’s logic make the parenting site the butt of its own jokes?

Father and The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart seems to think the later based on his commentary from last night’s episode when he asked what MomLogic and British Petroleum had in common. “They’re both spewing toxic crap all over the place and need to cap it off.”

Clark Kent is a journalist for Metropolis's The Daily Planet.

NOTE 1: This post is meant to be satirical; however, the majority of the embedded links are tied to factual information.

NOTE 2: After this post went live, MomLogic's Julie Taylor quickly wrote a positive piece on SAHDs and removed Gillian Sheldon's profile from their staff page.

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