YouTube: Father shoots daughter's laptop -- and he'd do it again
Facebook made Tommy Jordan the Dad Who Knew Too Much. Now you could say something similar for the rest of us.
Five days ago, Jordan posted an epic — as many young YouTube followers might describe it — video rant of eight minutes and 23 seconds that starts in a lawn chair and ends with bullets. The North Carolinian’s 15-year-old daughter had posted a bratty Facebook update to her friends that she thought he wouldn’t see.
In short, she was tired of doing chores.
“I’m tired of picking up after you. You tell me at least once a day to get a job,” she wrote, as quoted by her father on YouTube. She then apparently ran through her daily responsibilities — doing dishes, wiping the countertops. “I have no idea how I have a life. I’m gonna hate to see the day when you get too old to wipe your (butt), and you call me asking for help. I won’t be there.”
Jordan videotaped his emotional response. “Are you out of your mind?” he replied after reading her post to the camera. He then put nine .45 rounds into her laptop, posted the video online and rode it to instant Internet stardom. The video had surpassed 21 million hits on YouTube as of Monday afternoon.
It’s the latest entry in the annals of public parenting and, as with most cases of Internet stardom, it says as much about the audience as it does about the star.
Jordan’s outburst is wound up with contradictions. His daughter’s Facebook post, intended to be private, has now been read to millions, and some of Jordan’s subsequent aw-shucks rejections of attention have not been overwhelmingly convincing.
“I just had a friend run Good Morning America off my lawn.. grr.,” he posted to Facebook on Saturday, also saying that CBS called to offer him a show. That could be called a textbook “humblebrag,” by the way; the comment was public and got more than 900 responses.
In fact, even though Jordan turned off his phone and hasn’t been responding to media requests for interviews, you can still learn a lot about him on Facebook, because he hasn’t made a big effort to keep things secret. He’ll vote for Ron Paul. He’s got a stake in an online auction startup he’d like you to know about. He likes coffee and Krispy Kreme.
He’s also talked to his attorneys, and he doesn’t want you to copy his video: “Otherwise, the lawsuits start tomorrow morning.”
Oh, and one more thing: He says on his Facebook page that the police came to visit him after the video went viral. “The police by the way said ‘Kudos, Sir’ and most of them made their kids watch it. I actually had a ‘thank you’ from an entire detectives squad.”
Child Protective Services also apparently paid a visit to interview him and the daughter separately, and Jordan writes that the visit went well. “At the end of the day, no I'm not losing my kids, no one's in danger of being ripped from our home that I know of, and I actually got to spend some time with the nice lady and learn some cool parenting tips that I didn't know.”
But whatever Jordan does with his new-found stardom — he claims to have raised more than $5,000 for an area Muscular Dystrophy Assn. drive after the video went viral — the video has clearly struck that not-going-to-take-it-anymore nerve that sometimes runs through many Americans. (A fed-up flight attendant who quit his job in 2010 was similarly idolized; you might recall that he bawled out his passengers, grabbed some beer and made an emergency-chute exit.)
In the case of Jordan’s video, it reveals some raw feelings by pre-Facebook-generation parents about their entitled, digital-native adolescents.
“It is both disturbing and so deeply satisfying that you can’t watch it without reliving every fantasy you’ve ever had about hurling one of your teen’s gadgets out a window or under a car after they’ve used it to ignore you or deceive you, or distract themselves from something they’re supposed to do,” wrote Susanna Schrobsdorff for Time.
But it wasn’t just parents who agreed with Jordan’s reaction; some teenagers were of like mind too.
“I have to say, as a girl who has been there before — in the land of you-get-everything-handed-to-you kind of thing — I completely agree with what you did, completely,” a young YouTube user named “hb4l1f3” commented in a popular response video.
Others were not so charmed by the use of the gun, but Jordan writes that he’d do it all over again -- except maybe without the cigarette. But he does wish he hadn’t called his daughter an “ass,” which he said was “rude and a bad example of a parent using the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ philosophy.”
“I'd have worn my Silverbelly Stetson, not my Tilley hat if I'd known that image was going to follow me the rest of my life and I'd probably have cleaned my boots,” he writes on Facebook. “That's it. I meant all the rest of it. My wife is OK with it. My daughter is OK with it. My Mother is OK with it. I'm OK with it. We're the only ones that matter.”
-- Matt Pearce in Kansas City, Mo.