In case you were offline yesterday, enjoying the last few hours of vacation before coming back to work in the morning hours of January 4, you might have missed the first big “viral” moment on the internet of 2021.
Frankly, you might be glad you did. In the late evening hours of January 2nd, only in the wee hours of the new year, John Roderick (co-host of the Omnibus podcast with Ken Jennings, occasional song-writer, etc) posted a tweet about being a good dad that turned him into what the internet now calls “Bean Dad.”
The now-viral tweet series says: “Yesterday my daughter (9) was hungry and I was doing a jigsaw puzzle so I said over my shoulder “make some baked beans.” She said, “How?” like all kids do when they want YOU to do it, so I said, “Open a can and put it in [sic] pot.” She brought me the can and said “Open it how?”
He then realized she didn’t know how to use a can-opener — and instead of simply showing her how to open it and then letting her cook the beans on the stove herself, he decided to teach her the hard and hungry way: by forcing her to figure out how to use a can opener herself.
In one tweet, he said, “The little device is designed to do one thing: open cans. Study the parts, study the can, figure out what the can-opener inventor was thinking when they tried to solve this problem… I went back to my jigsaw puzzle. She was next to me grunting and groaning trying to get the thing [open].”
In case you missed Bean Dad aka john roderick before he deleted his Twitter account, this is what started it all. pic.twitter.com/KCKRP3099c
— ManiacalV (ColinT) (@ManiacalV) January 3, 2021
He then goes on to insult her, for some reason? “I should say that spatial orientation, process visualization and order of operation are not things she… intuits.” Uh, Bean Dad? She’s a kid. A nine-year-old child. Teach her how to open the can of beans and she’ll never ask you for anything again.
At some point in the tweet thread, which was very, very long, he noted that it had taken his daughter SIX HOURS (emphasis mine) to figure out how to open the can of beans. His poor, nine-year-old daughter, who was surely extremely hungry by this point, figured out how to open the can, to be sure, but in the process went hungry for six hours without even a snack from dad in the meantime.
Roderick shared the viral tweet thread most likely thinking that he was doing so as a good and accomplished parent. The internet, however, had… other ideas. They dug up some old, extremely offensive, racist, and anti-semitic tweets he had posted in the past and made fun of him for being a bad dad. Roderick deleted his Twitter in response. A popular podcast, My Brother, My Brother And Me announced they would no longer use his song as their intro to their show. People are now concerned about Ken Jennings losing his presumed-ascension to the Jeopardy! throne due to the meltdown of Roderick. Tweets dunking on the dad abounded on the website for days and we’ve rounded up the 10 best reactions to the Great Bean Debacle of 2021. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, of course.
This Dad Took Notes
Inspired, I have dropped my five year old off in the woods with flint, steel, some scraps of Gore-Tex, and an antique foot powered Singer sewing machine.
— Bob Proehl (@bobproehl) January 3, 2021
This Self-Indulgent Take
Bean Dad, after watching his daughter struggle for six hours trying to open a can of beans, and then patting himself on the back for it: pic.twitter.com/XBfrwGMzf4
— Tomokocchi (@itsTomokocchi) January 3, 2021
This Ambitious BUSH’s Beans, WW84, Bean Dad Cross-Over
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 4, 2021
Dionne Warwick Doesn’t Have Thoughts
Thanks for sending. I am not reading all of that (Bean Dad). However, it looks like nonsense.
— Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) January 3, 2021
Will Bean Dad Ever Live This Down?
Bean dad: this will all blow over, i'm just gonna lay low
NY Times 2043: Bean Dad died peacefully today in his home
— maple cocaine (@maplecocaine) January 4, 2021
Bean Dad’s Got Some Cans To Deal With
Bean Dad's daughter is now about 6 hours into watching her dad try to learn how to close a can of worms.
— Syama Mishra (@SyamaMishra) January 4, 2021
A Meditation On How Things Spiral Out of Control
bean dad pic.twitter.com/IwFVQGdacF
— madeline (@dramaddy) January 4, 2021
This Guy Doesn’t Know What’s Going On
didn't really go online today, seeing a lot of posts about "bean dad," and choosing not to learn more. not to brag but i have surpassed buddha
— phil (@PhilJamesson) January 4, 2021
We’re Focused On What’s Really Important
My last bean dad post I swear pic.twitter.com/tWFQEwOWlh
— DeCoster Makes Dating Sims (@DeCoster_Chris) January 4, 2021
The Curse of Knowledge
I’m sitting 3 feet from someone who has never seen the phrase “bean dad” and my jealousy is palpable
— alex goldman (@AGoldmund) January 4, 2021
Listen, at the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with teaching your kid self-sufficiency. But teaching requires teaching — not just giving them a sharp tool and telling them to figure it out themselves. After an hour of struggle, he could have shown his presumably very hungry daughter how to open the can of beans and trusted her to cook them on the stove herself. She’s not a toddler, after all. But letting a kid go hungry to prove a point is not a good look for many reasons. And although the dunking on the internet is thorough, everyone will move on eventually, and hopefully, Roderick will have learned an important lesson: feeding your kid is more important than teaching them a lesson (especially if it’s hard to tell what the lesson really was about in the first place).