Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Note to self: invest in a deadbolt.
August 15, 2011 10:15 PM   Subscribe

When Brandon left for camp, his last words were, "stay out of my room!" Unfortunately for Brandon, he has the meanest most awesome family in the entire world.

Of course, they posted the entire thing on facebook.

Here are some of the things they got up to while he was gone:

Dancing in lederhosen!
Christmas! With a puppy!
Epic lightsaber battles!
Classic Peanuts characters!
PacMan!
William Tell reenactments!
Girls have cooties, LOL!
Pie-eating contests!
Pillow forts!
Open mic night!
Senior shenanigans!
Dog grooming!
Dwight Schrute stopped by!
The 2011 Oscars!
Drive-thru window!
Thank goodness they upgraded from McDonalds!
Some guy with a plane!
This totally happened!
posted by phunniemee (577 comments total) 123 users marked this as a favorite

 
The link on "they posted the entire thing on facebook." seems to require login ("cannot be displayed right now").
posted by vidur at 10:19 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which is why I re-posted the images in their entirety. You're not missing anything, I promise.
posted by phunniemee at 10:20 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Okay then. Thanks.
posted by vidur at 10:20 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very cute pictures, but having to open them one at a time sucked. Like the family humor a lot. Grandparents are great.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:22 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's all fun and games until the analysis bills for boundary issues come due.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:25 PM on August 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


So now we know who listens to Foo Fighters. It's Brandon.
posted by Nomyte at 10:28 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Delightful!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:28 PM on August 15, 2011


So now we know who listens to Foo Fighters. It's Brandon.

Foo fighters rock, foo.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


I was prepared to grar this, but the Lady and the Tramp re-enactment won me over.
posted by benzenedream at 10:33 PM on August 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


I was going to post this, but I saw it on failblog. Which had them all on one page. Ah well.
posted by scalefree at 10:36 PM on August 15, 2011


His room is VERY CLEAN.
posted by skbw at 10:39 PM on August 15, 2011 [19 favorites]


Boy.. you really have to love growing up with the internet. Now this kid's call for privacy can be trampled upon in public for all to see! Oh look, our little kid wants some privacy! Let's make a mockery of it!

Fuck these people. I hate this aspect of the internet. The poor kid.

Sure, it's silly to think that his room won't be locked while he is away. But as a parent, how could you shit on your kid like this? You snoop his room, and then close the door. Why break a child's trust like this, and put it on Facebook?
posted by ReeMonster at 10:42 PM on August 15, 2011 [46 favorites]


Perhaps he's a proper little shit and deserves it?
posted by fullerine at 10:44 PM on August 15, 2011 [44 favorites]


Its turning into some kind of trend? I thought I saw an FPP that was similar- a series of photos of something 'hilarious' like this - oh yes, one legged dad in costume out to say bye to kid in school bus. Warhol would be proud.
posted by infini at 10:44 PM on August 15, 2011


I would be so angry if anyone did that.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:45 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]



posted by nervousfritz at 10:50 PM on August 15, 2011 [27 favorites]


reemonster... sheesh.. did you loose your sense of humor recently, or was it long ago?

This is great stuff... a family that would go to this extent to make a smile is the family that you want to grow up with with...
posted by tomswift at 10:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [43 favorites]


See, a lot of this depends on the context of the family in question. Like, I'm sure that if I had a particularly authoritarian family, I'd have found this appalling, but with a more easygoing family, my initial "stay out of my room!" would have been leavened with a dose of sarcastic "I'm not really being serious about this" tone that would have made it humorous, and would have made the ensuing response hilarious. So I don't immediately see this as malicious transgressive, no, which should tell you which direction my upbringing trended.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 11:02 PM on August 15, 2011 [51 favorites]


This is indeed awesome. It's a very lighthearted prank, and is nothing at all like humiliating your kid or making a mockery of them.
posted by polywomp at 11:03 PM on August 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Dude...is that your mom?

Just asking. For...no reason.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:07 PM on August 15, 2011 [22 favorites]


This is great stuff... a family that would go to this extent to make a smile is the family that you want to grow up with with...

Why would having my parents impose even more of their personality on me 'make me laugh'?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:10 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah.. I mean, without context, we can only assume that the kid was serious in not wanting his dorky family to raid his room.. or, that this is total bullshit like most stuff on the internet and so, even more pathetic than if it was real. I don't trust any of this crap.. like the father and the school bus and so on... so, I pretend it's real and take the offended party's side.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:13 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


but having to open them one at a time sucked

Give it a second! It's going to space!
posted by dhartung at 11:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


Wow. Pre-internet these people would have still been trolling their family members. Now everyone knows!

Trollsister is trolling hard.
posted by TheKM at 11:17 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I was Brandon - I would be so totally freaked about my family finding my gay porn stash.
posted by helmutdog at 11:19 PM on August 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


without context, we can only assume that the kid was serious in not wanting his dorky family to raid his room

Without context, we should assume that the family has a reasonably good idea that Brandon will not take this as a boundary-smashing cataclysm that sends him to therapy for years, but will instead be received in good humour.
posted by fatbird at 11:21 PM on August 15, 2011 [81 favorites]


I could imagine doing this to my son: he would find it pretty funny, I think. Sharing it with family and close friends on facebook, maybe (or not). Sharing it with the whole world? No.

In my family we had a tradition at Christmas where we kids would sneak out of bed on Christmas Eve to shake all the presents and guess what was in them while our parents slept, so in preparation every year they would spend the evening booby-trapping the living room so we couldn't break in there without sirens wailing or buckets of water falling on us or what-have-you. Abuse or hilarious? (Admittedly, it was in pre-internet days.)
posted by tracicle at 11:22 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


*Raises hand* Hilarious.
posted by maudlin at 11:27 PM on August 15, 2011 [26 favorites]


Boy.. you really have to love growing up with the internet. Now this kid's call for privacy can be trampled upon in public for all to see! Oh look, our little kid wants some privacy! Let's make a mockery of it!

Fuck these people. I hate this aspect of the internet. The poor kid.

Sure, it's silly to think that his room won't be locked while he is away. But as a parent, how could you shit on your kid like this? You snoop his room, and then close the door. Why break a child's trust like this, and put it on Facebook?


Oh, for crying out loud. How did this family invade this boy's privacy? Your reaction is more in line with what I'd say if they scanned the guy's journal and put it on line with annotations and photoshop effects, or set up a live streaming secret videocam and taped the kid while he thought he was in the privacy of his own room. These pictures are of this boy's family getting up to some silly shenanigans in his room, not of them going through his stuff or exposing or mocking him for his tastes or activities or anything else. It's a room, not some sacred shrine that is ruined forever by merely being photographed.

My guess is you have some boundary issues.

I love the "senior shenanigans" one and the drive through one, though so many of them are awesome.
posted by orange swan at 11:46 PM on August 15, 2011 [98 favorites]


Yeah I'm guessing one's reaction to this says a lot more about your relationship with your family, than it does about this kid and his.
posted by danny the boy at 11:50 PM on August 15, 2011 [58 favorites]


Pie-eating contests!

... and his new fetish is born, and takes him years to realize it. ;)
posted by usagizero at 11:52 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh and I saw all the pictures but then I thought I read "señor shenanigans" and was like wait, did I miss the one where the sister dresses up in a sombrero & fake mustache but NO, once again the internet is not as awesome as my assumptions.
posted by danny the boy at 11:55 PM on August 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Excellent use of the too-oft-ignored 'oldpeoplefucking' tag, incidentally.
posted by Rockear at 11:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


No... I don't have boundary issues. My stink with this has nothing to do with what the dorky family did... only that they thought well to post it on the internet. I'm really against families living out their kid's lives on the internet. I feel social media is a corruptive influence and I think silly pranks like this are really insidious in a 'big picture' sense.. as fun as it may seem on the surface. Because now it's not like this family has a special thing that exists only to them. Now it's like "Hey remember when we posted all those stupid fake photos on the internet? Boy that was funny for a hot minute.." My family has plenty of running gags but for the most part nobody knows about them and they haven't been transmitted to the masses for consumption and copying.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:03 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, come on. They were just praying to Warhol like most normals do. This is cute.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:15 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I'd say you're projecting, ReeMonster.

This has been a sponsored post by the armchair psychologist's board.

"Zo. Dell me about your muzzah."
posted by chimaera at 12:18 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh man, my family would totally do this. I'm 25, and we still play pranks on each other.

I think whenever you have any kind of intra-family dynamic displayed without the context, the natural response is to provide your own context from your own family. So I think this is awesome, because my family is extremely playful but also super respectful of my privacy (they would do something like this, but snooping in browsing history - never). Someone from a family where this would be a cruel trick, and where parents were ultra-intrusive would come to it with a very different contextual environment.
posted by atrazine at 12:19 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


yea, count me in the "it's hilarious" group. my family does wacky stuff sometimes and I *adore* them for it. I really wish I had pictures of some of the goofy shit we got up to. Ah, killer smurf and executioner hedgehog, you only live in our fond memories, if only we could have posted your pictures on the internet...
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:27 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


That is one clean room.


See, if I told you to stay out of my room, it would be because you might witness some weird proprietary iPod cable mating with a coaxial cable to create some unholy abomination that will devour every useful thing in its path.

There is no lighthearted family fun in my cave. When I say stay out, it is because that way lies madness. Madness! Also despair. And sentient dust bunnies.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:30 AM on August 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


Its turning into some kind of trend? I thought I saw an FPP that was similar

I seem to recall one where the roommates threw a big party and had a conga line go through the absent guy's room.
posted by homunculus at 12:33 AM on August 16, 2011


I can get past Pac Man shooting Inky, BUT Vader didn't stab Kenobi. He sliced!

Seriously though, you have to take a good minute to digest that whole Toy Story pic.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ha -- in the pillow fort one, they're reading my book!
posted by mothershock at 12:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [90 favorites]


So his Grandparents has sex in his bed?
posted by longsleeves at 12:48 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


That is hilarious, love it. What a great family to be that silly with one another and even the grandparents getting in on it.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:48 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


You mean getting it on in it.
posted by longsleeves at 12:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


mothershock: I just got off the couch to check the spine on my copy in case I misunderstood your comment -- we love that book at my house!
posted by tracicle at 12:58 AM on August 16, 2011


Fuck these people. I hate this aspect of the internet. The poor kid.

Lighten up.

Kid's gonna know what his family is like, and it's a fairly anonymous room, and in good fun... and no harm done.

If they were showing his porn collection or his poetry, that would be crossing the line.
posted by the noob at 1:27 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


> Why would having my parents impose even more of their personality on me 'make me laugh'?

Note: These parents aren't YOUR parents.

Stop.

Fucking.

Projecting.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:31 AM on August 16, 2011 [45 favorites]


I would be so happy, thrilled and feel so beloved if anyone did that.
posted by but no cigar at 1:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [33 favorites]


Fuck these people. I hate this aspect of the internet. The poor kid.

I think someone's diary got read when they were away at school camp! Sheesh, you remind me of my teenaged niece who is only now emerging from the trappist vows that seemingly required less than fifty words said in the space of a year.

Great prank, hilarious, so glad they shared it.
posted by smoke at 1:52 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm with ReMonster on this one, not because of some kind of internet sharing thing, that's just the world we live in now.

No, I am more of the mind that if:

1. Brandon has come into an informal agreement with his caregivers that he will maintain upkeep and "ownership" of the room

and

2. The caregivers agree to the autonomy of Brandon's desires within a reasonable bound

Then Brandon has exclusivity rights granted by the previously owned parties. As a result any conditions that he may set with them for it's use are part of the agreement. Since he made explicit the request to respect the agreement and his terms there are only a few situations in which it would appear to be appropriate to violate that.

1. If the request was made in jest without expectation of follow through.

Analysis: This does not seem to be likely, as the effort that went into the documentation and portrayal of the request breaking was to the extent that it would not be worth doing if Brandon would not find temporary umbrage with the violation.

2. The request was unreasonable in some bounded existential metric - eg a threat to the family or family cohesiveness which would be necessary to find out. For example if there was a dangerous drug abuse situation which would have been previously hidden but upon entering the room would be apparent

Analysis: Based on the apparent happy-go lucky nature of the family and the state of the room there is little evidence that this is the case - and the family did not enter the room in order to resolve potentially harmful issues which may have been obscured.

3. The request was unreasonable given the space allocation for the family as a whole. An example of this would be that granny is sleeping on the couch and there is a place which would allow for greater comfort for her in the absence of the usual tenant. There are others which could be equally valid which do not require such an extreme example but unreasonably restrict space allocation - for example temporary storage.

Those are the three I can think of which would be reasonable reasons to violate the request - in which case the appropriate action would have been to negotiate on the fair use of the area or it's use as a common area in the tenant's absence.

In reality what likely happened was that the family found Brandon's request socially inappropriate given that there was likely little significant reason to make the request in the first place and they wanted to mock his request and ignore his autonomy over that space.

This to me is significant because if the previous examples do not hold, then there is no reason to go against it other than being spiteful or contrarian in order to diminish the requests of the requestor. This is fairly common you will note in much of daily behavior for areas in which there is a portioned area that has definite boundaries.

I argue that Brandon's request was reasonable given the display shown on facebook. Nothing in the pictures indicated that they were utilizing the space for any purpose other than to flagrantly disregard and mock the request of Brandon for some purpose which I do not understand. That to me is a clear violation of trust and makes no sense whatsoever if we wish to treat all people as having legitimate claims to autonomy and that we respect their wishes, regardless of if we think the request is silly or not.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 2:01 AM on August 16, 2011 [34 favorites]


Wow, Andrew. I think I'd better stay away from my kids for a while. It looks like I've given way too little thought to the whole parenting thing.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:09 AM on August 16, 2011 [20 favorites]


Very cute pictures, but having to open them one at a time sucked. Like the family humor a lot. Grandparents are great.

Yeah, phunnieme! Next time can you just make them holograms rather than being 2D, also.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:24 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


As the "fun parent," I really need to up my game.
posted by kinetic at 2:30 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I glad my parents never did this, because their reenactments would be things like "Fiddler on the Roof!", "Perry Como Live in Your Bedroom!", "Buddy Hackett at The Sands!", "At the pool in Palm Springs!", and "Asking the store clerk if they can turn down the music!" Not cool.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:54 AM on August 16, 2011 [21 favorites]


le morte de bea arthur: "Wow, Andrew. I think I'd better stay away from my kids for a while. It looks like I've given way too little thought to the whole parenting thing."

The Bar was last month. Someone clearly forgot to stop studying.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 2:56 AM on August 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


Those are the three I can think of which would be reasonable reasons to violate the request - in which case the appropriate action would have been to negotiate on the fair use of the area or it's use as a common area in the tenant's absence.

I too, conduct discussions with my family only through the lawyers I retain for that purpose.
posted by atrazine at 2:56 AM on August 16, 2011 [32 favorites]


The Bar was last month. Someone clearly forgot to stop studying.

People, this is what happens when the legal job market is so shitty! Please remember to spay or neuter your counsel.
posted by atrazine at 2:57 AM on August 16, 2011 [76 favorites]


Put me in the camp of "would be completely freaked out if this happened to him". My room is my safe place. After a day spent being someone else for retail customers, and then more of the day spent being someone else for other people, my room is the one place I can go and just relax and "be myself".

Having someone else in there would bother me. Having lots of someone else's in there, in the form of internet strangers, would freak me out a hell of a lot more.

If that means an armchair psychologist thinks I have some kind of boundary issues, then so be it. Walk a mile in a man's shoes, etc. If "Brandon" is OK with it, then I guess there's not a problem. I'm just glad right now that my parents have a problem operating the microwave.
posted by Solomon at 2:59 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


1. Brandon has come into an informal agreement with his caregivers that he will maintain upkeep and "ownership" of the room

and

2. The caregivers agree to the autonomy of Brandon's desires within a reasonable bound

Then Brandon has exclusivity rights granted by the previously owned parties.


See, lemme stop you right there. We're talking about children and parents, not commercial transactions negotiated at arms' length, or f*cking civil rights. I shouldn't even need to say it, but Brandon does not have a landlord/tenant relationship with his parents. Holy hell, man, next you'll be saying that chores need to be subject to collective bargaining and that imposing bedtimes without the consent of all parties is grounds for a lawsuit.

Families are not governed by laws, they are governed by virtue and wisdom, and you can't substitute the former where the latter are lacking.
posted by valkyryn at 3:00 AM on August 16, 2011 [36 favorites]


This may be wacky fun and all, but I would definitely be a little hurt if my family decided to ignore my express wishes regarding my personal space just to get lulz from random people on the internet.
posted by fearthehat at 3:29 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "Why would having my parents impose even more of their personality on me 'make me laugh'"

Well, a little personality never hurt anyone. Try it sometime, even if imposed.
posted by barnacles at 3:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Fuck you, stepmom. It is one thing to clean, but I see that you have been everywhere. My hash pipe laid out neatly in the bottom drawer, my porn mags straightened and piled under the bed. Fuck you. You know damn well I don't want you going through my shit and it gives you perverse pleasure to do so.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:39 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


You guys know that AndrewKemendo is taking the piss, right?
posted by joannemullen at 3:41 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


valkyryn : Families are not governed by laws, they are governed by virtue and wisdom, and you can't substitute the former where the latter are lacking.

Very true.

But not merely ignoring him, posting not just one "gotcha" video, but making a whole series of videos mocking the kid's desire for a little privacy shows a pretty clear lacking of the latter.


barnacles : Well, a little personality never hurt anyone. Try it sometime, even if imposed.

Back in my school days, I had a friend with parents like Brandon's. They took great joy in not only not respecting his wishes (when perfectly reasonable), but outright flaunting how little regard they had for his "rights".

I don't think they've seen him since he graduated highschool.
posted by pla at 3:41 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


When Brandon came home from camp, his family's last words were, "But... but... but, Brandon, honey! We were only kidding around! Look, we didn't really paint it pink! Everything is exactly how you left it!" And now he's tracking down everyone who laughed at the pictures.
posted by pracowity at 3:43 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


There are families where this would be an awful thing to do. There are also families where it would be perfectly okay and a wonderful example of a family actually having fun and having -- ironically -- a much higher level of trust than exists in some families where you couldn't tease each other because somebody would get upset. There are families where parents tease kids and kids tease parents (my family was like that), not because the parents don't have authority but because that's just the kind of family it is.

There are also a lot of ways for a kid to say (to his sister, please note) "Stay outta my room." There is the "I'm just grumping, but I love you and I don't really worry about my room" kind of way, there's the "I feel afraid and alone and my room is the only safe place I have" kind of way, and somewhere in between, there's the "I feel like this is what I'm supposed to say, because it's what you tell your sister when you go to camp" kind of way.

Without knowing the family, I wouldn't say -- and I certainly think it's something other families should exercise ENORMOUS caution in emulating it, and that's probably the biggest concern I have with it. But as to this family, I have to admit that to me, it reads as entirely loving and fun and based on a genuine belief that he will think it's funny. It doesn't read as trampling on his privacy (it's not like they posted photos of the contents of his drawers and closet); it reads as affectionate to me, and I think it's pretty creative and funny.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 3:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [23 favorites]


All humans have boundary issues of one sort or another. Which ones count as pathological is a matter of cultural context. A lot of posters in this thread hail from cultures (subcultures?) where casually violating spatial boundaries is considered good fun as long as you don't cause any harm, the harm in question being determined by cultural standards as well (and not by the person who set the boundaries). For them, being sensitive to one's boundaries in any context where harm is not done is pathological.

I happen to come from a context where personal autonomy is considered fundamentally important, and violating a person's boundary is considered harm all on its own, regardless of what the consequences are. Sometimes that harm is worth doing, if e.g. there was a fire in his room, but an obviously frivolous violation like this just comes off as non-consensual sadism, even if it is frivolous.

I'd like to see this aspect of my cultural context dominate everywhere, but I'm jaded enough not to expect that. Failing that, I'd like it to be considered inappropriate to actively promote behavior like in the FPP. Failing that, I'd like not to be considered a basket case for my preferences.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


My sister moved all my stuff out of our shared bedroom and into the attic when I was away for two months in the summer. THAT's a boundary issue. Staging a prank and photographing it would have been hilarious.
posted by Peach at 4:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Of course, Brandon has the option of laughing it all off. That might be a good idea, if he accepts minor violations like this and doesn't consider them harmful.

If he doesn't laugh it off, that's legit as well. That might be a good idea, if he has specific ideas about how he wants his stuff to be treated, and how he wants to relate to people who have custody over his stuff.

The degree to which these pranks are hilarious doesn't have any bearing on this choice.

Or it shouldn't.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:16 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The tidiness of the room is a clue that this family sees one's bedroom as something semi-public, so maybe the boy's request was silly in that context.

But yeah I was definitely raised in a no-major-prank, privacy-is-sacrosanct culture. This thing really gets to me even though I can acknowledge that the family is from a very different culture than mine.
posted by gubo at 4:17 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hi, I'm on Metafilter and I could overthink a goofy family joke.
posted by cashman at 4:17 AM on August 16, 2011 [16 favorites]


it's overthinking because i'm thinking more than the people who made the joke amirite
posted by LogicalDash at 4:21 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The family is sending a message to Brandon. "We missed you so much that we spent all our time thinking up ways to make you laugh."
posted by Jode at 4:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [58 favorites]


You guys know that AndrewKemendo is taking the piss, right?

As much as it pains me deep within my soul to do so, I believe I must agree with joannemullen. Surely that comment of AK's was utterly delightful satire. Surely.
posted by elizardbits at 4:46 AM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Some of the reactions here remind me that some people had it much worse than I did in terms of how they got along with their families.

Try to imagine that this family is actually pretty happy together. There are lots of families like that. Maybe it's not heaven in their home, but they don't live like mutually unintelligible strangers staying at the same hostel. They don't want to kill each other over petty violations of personal space. If someone jokes around like this precisely because he demanded that his sister stay out of his room, the typical boy isn't then going to break contact with his family forever and ever and start making snuff films for crack money or crack films for snuff money. (Or maybe he will. Watch the news and keep us posted.)
posted by pracowity at 4:46 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


don't worry about it, bro
it was just a joke
Headlock. Noogie.
that means it's okay right
we cool
Victim nods, is released.
you're awesome
that was hilarious
Victim and bully share a hearty laugh.
yeah awesome
you are a true bro
thass right
hey
dude, can i borrow five bucks
posted by LogicalDash at 4:49 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Sure, it's silly to think that his room won't be locked while he is away. But as a parent, how could you shit on your kid like this? You snoop his room, and then close the door. Why break a child's trust like this, and put it on Facebook?"



HA HA HA HA HA AH HA HA HA



HA HA AA HA HA HA HA AH HA


That *was* satire right?

posted by oddman at 4:51 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


first they ignore you, then they laugh at you...
posted by LogicalDash at 4:53 AM on August 16, 2011


I did not grow up in a great family.

This prank is not the product of a not-great family.

The people who are up in arms about this make me sad for humanity. Humorless does not begin to describe it.
posted by OmieWise at 4:54 AM on August 16, 2011 [39 favorites]


I would definitely be a little hurt if my family decided to ignore my express wishes regarding my personal space just to get lulz from random people on the internet.

I actually don't get the sense that they were intentionally sharing it with "random people on the Internet" -- rather, I think they were sharing it with "our friends on Facebook." It's just that either a) they didn't get how Facebook works, or b) one of those friends on Facebook was a tool, and it got disseminated to random people on the Internet unintentionally.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:55 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know a family for whom this would actually be hilarious - they take funny (really, actually fairly funny) pictures for their annual Christmas card, which is sent far and wide. And they're all close even with the grown-up kids, though a bit eccentric. So I'm choosing to assume that this is a funny prank and that Brandon gets his room back exactly as he left it - part of the humor seems to be in the elaborate surface illusion that the room has been changed, like the way that the family has obviously thought up so many ways to cover large surfaces.

But I wouldn't put stuff about my kids on Facebook for the world to see, especially not if the kid hadn't given permission.

I kept thinking that those folks must be pretty well-off to have such a large, nice, heavily decorated room for a kid - that was what immediately struck me.
posted by Frowner at 4:56 AM on August 16, 2011


I think this is utterly sweet and hilarious. I would feel extra-loved by my family if they went to this extent to give me a laugh and wish that I had been a part of it! I'm going to give the family the benefit of the doubt and assume that their son will not be traumatised by all this happening.
posted by liquorice at 5:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Someone mentioned videos. I only see pictures.

And when were these posted? Brandon should have been back from camp in late July. If these just went up, there's a pretty good chance that he knows about it and is OK with it.
posted by maudlin at 5:11 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, this thread is basically everyone projecting how they would react to this. Me? I would have fucking loved this. I'm an only child with easy-going parents, and this is the kind of thing that would have made me laugh my ass off when I was around that age.

Assuming they didn't actually go through that bottom left drawer, or find the small box I'd stored right near the entrance to the crawlspace. Because then shit would have got real.
posted by SNWidget at 5:15 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


These are funny, but how did Brandon react to the prank? Does he know the world is looking at the prank pulled on him?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:16 AM on August 16, 2011


There's sort of a scale from "laugh along" to "arrest them" here, and some people have different reactions along the scale. It doesn't mean someone is humorless if they're more bothered by it than you are.
posted by gubo at 5:16 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


And we all know that if he'd really wanted to keep his sister out of his room, he would have created some "Clarissa Explain It All"-esque Rube Goldberg machine to cover her in honey and feathers the minute she walked in - well, several minutes, after the door opened, the ball rolled down the track, hitting toy soldiers, which talk into the cat, which runs, brushing the dominoes...
posted by SNWidget at 5:18 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why would having my parents impose even more of their personality on me 'make me laugh'?
Don't think of it as "imposing their personality on you", think of it as "helping you pull your head out of your arse".

Fuck me that room is clean.
posted by fullerine at 5:23 AM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't think they've seen him since he graduated highschool.

I didn't speak to my own parents for 17 years because of an issue comparable to this. Just because Brandon might laugh...

Victim and bully share a hearty laugh.

This.
posted by localroger at 5:24 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have no idea how to feel about this. My knee-jerk reaction was horror, but then I read the thread and deduced that I was probably projecting. So I went back and looked over it again and I still have no idea what to think about this. All I got is:

-they sure are wealthy
-his mom looks like she could be his sister
-his dad is a lot older than his mom
-they must have either just been insanely bored and wealthy with tons of leisure time or had some big motivation behind this. I mean, one, two or three pictures: cute, ha ha! After like picture 8 I was kind of thinking...really? Really? All that stamina? Are they really just trying to impress a little kid? What's the goal?

I still don't really get it.
posted by Nixy at 5:25 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I thought it was funny. When I was a young teen, sometimes my parents and I would have disputes about the amount of privacy I could expect. We often disagreed. Somehow I survived. I even still call them.
posted by mmmbacon at 5:34 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this is adorable. It's the sort of thing my family would talk about doing, but never get around to.

I was just having a conversation about hurtful/not hurtful pranks. I don't see how the photos are hurtful, and I don't see how posing for pictures = snooping or invasion of privacy.

Also, my family has always been very respectful of privacy issues (to kind of a ridiculous degree...my mom wouldn't open my mail when I was at school, even when I asked her to), but I'd never have told anyone to stay out of my room itself.
posted by JoanArkham at 5:39 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still don't really get it.

To me it's just an example of a jokey thing a family would do. I've had family members say "bring me a little bit of juice" and I took the cap off of the syrup container, put a drop of juice in it, and brought it over, sat down and waited for them to reach for it.

I asked for pancakes but said I wasn't that hungry (because these pancakes were buttermilk and really filling and always ended up huge) and my family member heated up the skillet, and a few minutes later brought me out a pancake the size of dime. I took a picture of me biting it.

It's just goofy shit families do to have fun.
posted by cashman at 5:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


It's just goofy shit families do to have fun.

Exactly. This is what healthy, strong, well-adjusted families do. The number of members around here who don't get that is unbelievably depressing.
posted by valkyryn at 5:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [25 favorites]


The only real problem here is that complete strangers from around the world are talking about how hot Brandon's mom is.

nice legs on that Jedi, amirite?
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:46 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's all fun and games until the analysis bills for boundary issues come due.

The bill will be 5 cents and the therapy will happen in his room.
posted by srboisvert at 5:46 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's just goofy shit families do to have fun.

Yeah. That makes sense, except for the part where it's a lot of effort and time and publicity. It looks like the mom might be a SAHM and the sister was taking the photos with the grandparents (?) so that might explain it. It seems like overkill to me, but that's probably because I'm poor and busy. I mean, go back and really look at the photos and think about it-they had to collect props, move around furniture, bring in a hose-pose the dogs! Not easy.
posted by Nixy at 5:46 AM on August 16, 2011


It seems like overkill to me

That's the point!
posted by cashman at 5:54 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's just that either a) they didn't get how Facebook works, or b) one of those friends on Facebook was a tool, and it got disseminated to random people on the Internet unintentionally.

I thought this was funny and a product of a good kind of family trust and love, but I really wonder about this part, because based on the fact that the mom's profile is locked down to the "Alissa only shares some profile information with everyone" level - the only thing that shows to anyone not on her contact list is her gender - and someone who comments says they think it's awesome and they're going to share it, well, I doubt they're clueless at fb or that the sharing was done without the family's consent. I think they intended for this to go far and wide, or at least wouldn't mind if it did (and I guess it has). That part, if true, is what squicks me out some about this.

Also, this thread makes me pretty happy that I grew up an only child in a single-parent family, since something about that apparently let me grow up without the assumption that anyone going into my room when I'm not there is some sort of horrible violation that means my family hates me.
posted by rtha at 6:03 AM on August 16, 2011


-they sure are wealthy

Yeah, because second hand furniture, a bedroom in a single-level ranch and overgrown flowerbeds with shrubs hacked half to death by a hedge trimmer are a clear indication of wealth.

No, once you head out of the cities and into the Burbs, everyone gets a room like that, even kids in working-class families. There is no ostentation there. At all.

The bar for "wealthy" has been seriously lowered as of late. The pics depict a pretty ordinary middle-class lifestyle. If you can't relate to it, you're probably not as middle-class as you think you are.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:03 AM on August 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


I think this post is the perfect Rorschach blot test for the way you grew up. Did you have a fun, happy time growing up? Lots of laughs and so on? Well then this is delightful?

On the other hand, if growing up for you was rough, your family was, well, not great, and your room was the only safety you had from the insanity and, possibly, abuse? Well, then, this is like watching fucking Saw. All those people you don't really like, but are forced to be around, in the only safe shelter you have from the world. And you can't do anything about it.

I, uh, think I you can tell how I grew up.
posted by griphus at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [29 favorites]


Well then this is delightful?.
posted by griphus at 6:05 AM on August 16, 2011


I know that I'm supposed to not "project" here, and this is all harmless fun because kids don't have real problems or emotions and the mom is hot (really guys?) but I grew up in a family of 7, and I wasn't allowed to have a lock on my door.

I think the pictures ARE funny (the 'Gypsy' one had me rolling) on the face of it, but I feel like more people here relate to the well-meaning-if-oblivious family over the potentially 'oversensitive' kid: I get that it's not meant in a mean way, and if it bothers him, when he grows up I'm sure he'll (if not begrudgingly) acknowledge the humor, but to a little kid coming home from camp? You're basically saying "Not only did we ignore your request, but we're throwing it in your face how powerless you really are in this house."

Sure, some people here may be 'projecting' (i love the subtle bully language of "come ON pussy, can't you take a JOKE?!" btw) but didn't we go over this in the thread about the little girl who ran away from home because she was accused of farting, how annoying it is to not be taken seriously by one's parents?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:07 AM on August 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


It seems like overkill to me, but that's probably because I'm poor and busy.

Yeah, it looks a bit obsessive gathered together, but this stuff wouldn't be hard for a SAHM without infants and toddlers to chase. She probably spent a few minutes a day setting up a little scene to amuse the family, took a picture, and posted it on Facebook.
posted by pracowity at 6:10 AM on August 16, 2011


This is what healthy, strong, well-adjusted families do. The number of members around here who don't get that didn't have healthy, strong well-adjusted families is unbelievably depressing an unfortunate fact of life.
posted by griphus at 6:10 AM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


I bet the parents had sex on his bed too.

And took photos.

And posted them on the internet, just not to Facebook.
posted by I am the Walrus at 6:13 AM on August 16, 2011


Ugh. I got in so many fights with my family because I couldn't go away without them going in my room. My mom would always clean it, and by clean i mean rearrange everything and throw stuff out she thought i didn't want/didn't approve of. I'm still upset she threw out the Doc Martens that took me months to break in.

One other time I went away for a few months my sister harboured her high school boyfriend in my room and left all kinds of yucky stuff in and around my bed. I found empty and half empty mickeys hidden in strange spots for months.

This might have enraged me as a kid but I probably would have preferred it to the above.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 6:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, that kid's room is... really clean.

Like... just... super clean.

Sigh.
posted by pts at 6:15 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


When my sister-in-law's husband was a boy, he wrote a note to his father. He wrote it on nice stationery and put it into a matching envelope and addressed it properly. When his father received it, he was touched to have gotten such a personal note from his only son. This was the note inside:
Dear Dad,

Stay out of my room.

Claude
posted by plinth at 6:20 AM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think this post is the perfect Rorschach blot test for the way you grew up.

I don’t think your characterization works. As I said above, I had a not-great childhood, and I know that there are far worse things one’s room can be than the place for a good natured family prank. The notion that people who grew up pressed all had a haven in their room is a bit farfetched.

This multi-generational family is displaying obvious joy playing together. None of the pictures look malicious, there’s no indication of any sort of power play at work (despite the nominal violation of the son’s boundaries). The fact that this is all at the slight expense of another family member highlights, rather than calls into question, the bonds the family has.
posted by OmieWise at 6:21 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


They forgot the Giant Metal Chicken!
posted by futz at 6:21 AM on August 16, 2011 [19 favorites]


Man, that kid's room is... really clean.

Whenever our kid was going out of town for a few weeks, we always made her clean her room.

They forgot the Giant Metal Chicken!

Or changing a diaper in his room.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is what healthy, strong, well-adjusted families do. The number of members around here who don't get that didn't have healthy, strong well-adjusted families is unbelievably depressing an unfortunate fact of life.

I stand by my original sentiment. Just because you grew up kinda rough is no justification for bringing down those of us who didn't. If you shouldn't have to apologize for your family situation, why should anyone else?

It's one thing to say "This would not have been a good thing in my family." That's entirely fair, doesn't impose any norms on others, and gives the family in question the benefit of the doubt by letting their situation be as valid as yours.

It's something else entirely to say "This was a bad thing to do." That turns your own experience into some kind of normative standard and completely ignores the fact that there are family dynamics different from yours.

I say again, this sort of thing is common in healthy, strong, well-adjusted families, and the fact that so many members can't appreciate that is disturbing.
posted by valkyryn at 6:23 AM on August 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


We are not this kid's parents.
This kid's parents most likely (almost assuredly) have a better idea than we do about what will make this kid lose his shit.
This prank is probably not one of those things. They seem cool like that.
posted by t_dubs at 6:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wait a minute, Alissa is the mom? I flipped through those pictures thinking that was the sister.
posted by COD at 6:32 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the comments that call the family a bunch of goofy dorks but don't consider the possibility that Brandon may be a goofy dork, too.

If only more families shit on their kids in such a clearly affectionate and funny way.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:33 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was about ten years old, my parents told us we were going on a trip to New Jersey to visit my aunt and uncle. I didn't think anything of it when my mother told me to pack a bathing suit and shorts, even though it was December ("The hotel has a heated indoor pool, you'll need them!"), and I didn't think anything of it when we were still driving after four hours ("Oh, they moved father north. Didn't we tell you?")

I did think it was a little odd when we stopped at JR's on the way, because JR's is a big discount store in North Carolina that we had been to on previous trips south. My dad told me that JR's was actually a chain, and has stores all up and down I-95. But the chain was based in North Carolina, which was why they sold NC-themed merchandise at the register. Oh, and a lot of people from North Carolina liked to visit it while they were on trips, which explained all the North Carolina tags on the cars in the parking lot.

Then we got back on the highway. I looked out the window and saw a huge sign saying SOUTH CAROLINA-- 40 MILES. "Dad," I cried, "We're in North Carolina!"

My parents pretended for a minute that they had accidentally driven the wrong way, but I was so aghast that they finally 'fessed up. "We're going to Disney World!" they announced.

I was delighted. My younger sister burst into tears-- she had really, really wanted to see out aunt and uncle in New Jersey. She was very upset, both about being lied to and about not going to New Jersey. Pranks really depend on the kid.

(Oh, and earlier this year, my youngest sister, who's 16 now and was a baby for that Disney World trip, was taken on a trip by our dad ostensibly to visit our middle sister in college. Naturally, they got to the airport and she found out it was actually a flight to Orlando.)
posted by nonasuch at 6:35 AM on August 16, 2011 [29 favorites]


I shared a room as a kid so this is pretty much what happened in my room any time I wasn't in it.
posted by padraigin at 6:35 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


That turns your own experience into some kind of normative standard and completely ignores the fact that there are family dynamics different from yours.

I was more calling attention to the lack of empathy in the "don't get that" part. I don't know how the people who had a problem with this grew up, nor what their current state of mind is. I know that I, who did not grow up great, had an immediate and visceral reaction of "oh god this is horrible get out get out" before all the recovery-methods kicked in and I realized I was observing things through a distorted lens of my own shitty experiences, and that this is probably a Fun Family Thing that I just have no personal experience with.

Now that I think about it, that reading of your comment was probably that same visceral reaction taking place. On the whole, yeah, I'll agree, it is rather depressing that a bunch of people can't get this. I can't say it is because they grew up shitty or because they were late for the bus this morning and are just in a bad mood. But if it is the former, there's a situation a lot worse going on than not being able to see why this is fun.
posted by griphus at 6:35 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Exhibit A. Notice in the background how orderly the buttons on his corkboard are neatly herded into one area. Clearly Brandon has some form of OCD. I would guess that Brandon's controlling nature has been a source of torture for his immediate family and what we are really seeing here is a family coming together and celebrating their freedom from Brandon's tyranny.
posted by cazoo at 6:40 AM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


Fake.
posted by koeselitz at 6:48 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The dog drive through? Come on... that's funny, and think about how much preparation that took.
posted by codacorolla at 6:49 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


...to a little kid coming home from camp? You're basically saying "Not only did we ignore your request, but we're throwing it in your face how powerless you really are in this house."

To all the folks going on about boundary issues:

My family of five lived in a two-bedroom shack. I had to share a room with my two brothers until I went to college.

"Stay out of my room" would not have worked on my working class parents for one simple reason: I was not contributing in any way, shape, form, or fashion to the mortgage. Until I did so, I had no say in what went on in the room of my house where my parents let the kids sleep. There were similar attitudes in the other parents I knew growing up. It wasn't until I went to college that I realized there were parents who would seriously stay out of their kids's rooms if asked--and twenty years later, I'm still not quite sure I believe it. (Perhaps there's some rental arrangement I'm not aware of? I just can't wrap my head around a child having that kind of authority in a space in a house).

Regardless, all of that was just fine. Because we loved each other very much, and pranked each other frequently. I could totally see my parents and brothers pulling off something like this.

It's not about power, for the love of Pete. There's not some sick dynamic represented here. It's called "a good-natured ribbing". They know their kid, and they know he'd see the humor in this, or they wouldn't have done it.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:49 AM on August 16, 2011 [24 favorites]


My family was way the hell more patient with me than I deserved. They let me live in a messy room and then helped me clean it up when I got fed up with it myself. They paid for my college and then took me back in when it didn't work out. I am very lucky to have them.

My brother tried messing with me at various points, but mostly backed off when I asked him to. When he didn't, I made it clear that I didn't appreciate that, and after a couple dramatic episodes he learned that he was hurting me by doing those things, even if he didn't understand why.

A valuable lesson, that. Different people have different boundaries, and you need to learn what they are and respect them.

I guess it's possible that this family did all that stuff, and knew from past experience that Brandon wouldn't actually care what was done in his room as long as it was clean when he got back to it. It's possible that saying "stay out of my room!" was itself a joke. Context can make that sort of thing make sense; in that case I would still be a little worried about the muddled communication channels in this family but I wouldn't consider this to be bullying.

In the post as presented, I can only take "stay out of my room!" at face value.

The fact that the pictures are funny doesn't tell me anything about the context this occurred in. A lot of internet trolls are genuinely funny, but we still don't allow them around here, because their fun ruins other people's fun. (Goonswarm.)

I hope he can at least get an apology out of his family for posting these pictures where they did, even if he doesn't care about the pictures as such.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh look, another internet Rorschach test. Let's all project our own feelings about privacy onto this family.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:57 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had an awful childhood that I would prefer not to think about but I thought this was charming. I especially loved the polka dance with the grandparents-- that says to me that they are all fun loving and joyous and don't mind making spectacles of themselves. I saw this last night and shared it with my husband and it didn't occur to either one of us that there was anything evil about it.

The fact is I'm quite jealous. It looks like a lovely home and a lovely family. Everyone seems to be healthy and have plenty of energy for hijinks. And somebody has a creative imagination.

Single link.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:57 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Count me in the more or less delighted camp. I grew up in a loud, boisterous family that mostly got along (my parents eventually divorced, my oldest brother sent each one of us to the hospital with ill-considered japery/bullying, my dad and younger brother had some serious issues). We would have never been organized enough to pull off this sort of prank, but I did own lederhosen growing up, and I would have loved a chance to use them. For any reason at all. Dude, lederhosen!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Brandon's last words before leaving had not been "Stay out of my room!" then I wouldn't really care about this.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:05 AM on August 16, 2011


They know their kid, and they know he'd see the humor in this, or they wouldn't have done it.

Does your personal code of ethics include a postscript that says "unless it's really funny"?
posted by LogicalDash at 7:11 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I grew up with a set of parents with MAJOR FREAKING BOUNDARY ISSUES (yes, I am screaming, thank you.)

Having said that, I assumed immediately that was one of those well adjusted families I hear so much about and was totally amused and like, "why couldn't I have grown up in a family like that?"

So there's my anecdata point.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think my family in NEPA would be a lot happier if they spent some time doing things like this.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Brandon's last words before leaving had not been "Stay out of my room!" then I wouldn't really care about this.

Considering the source, we don't even know that.
posted by valkyryn at 7:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your position is that it's silly to presume anything about the context of this family, given the unreliability of our only source of information about them; yet you assume that this is all in good fun, and have said as much.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:21 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


A lot of internet trolls are genuinely funny, but we still don't allow them around here, because their fun ruins other people's fun.

While it's impossible to know how seriously the family members take stuff like this, the family themselves made a point that Brandon's last words were "Stay out of my room." It's obvious that he had an expectation that this was possible, it was not five kids in a three room house and it was not so unthinkable that the request would go unsaid.

What the family did was extremely funny. It was also, the more I think about it, extremely deeply fucked up. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

The most direct message the family is sending Brandon is this: Your wishes do not matter. Not only are we going to violate your trust, we are going to pour a ridiculous amount of energy into violating your trust in such a way that anyone who sees it (and that being the whole world thanks to the Internet) will think it's hilarious and that you're the jerk if you get upset at us.

It is possible to love someone but to have contempt for them at the same time. The parents who do this universally believe their contempt will fade as the child matures, but very often, particularly for the child, it is the contempt which outlives the love.
posted by localroger at 7:21 AM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


The fact that the pictures are funny doesn't tell me anything about the context this occurred in.

Well, yeah. But you still seem to insist that he'll need an apology, or be pissed off about this, or had no idea that this would happen. For all we know, he helped his family do the same thing to his sister last summer when she went to camp, and to the grandparents the year before when they took a cruise.

We don't know the context. Some of us think it's funny; some don't think it's so great. Projecting one's own feelings about this to frame it as How Brandon Would Think About This is pointless and pretty much guaranteed to be wrong because we don't know anything about the context this occurred in.
posted by rtha at 7:23 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I hope he can at least get an apology out of his family for posting these pictures where they did

There's no reason to believe he cares. It's not as if they revealed his dirty underwear or porn stash. All the potentially embarrassing goofiness in the pictures is displayed by willing family members. The whole point of this is that he was at camp and had nothing to do with it.

Christ, it's like Dad pushed Junior into the pool -- in front of strangers! -- and people are worried that Junior could have drowned or developed a lifelong fear of water or been so mortified that he joins a brotherhood of desert-dwelling monks who shun the sight of water. Yes, people generally have a right to stand on dry land without being subjected to being pushed into the pool, but come on.

If Brandon's last words before leaving had not been "Stay out of my room!" then I wouldn't really care about this.

Last words to his sister. Said in a voice and context you know nothing about. Brothers and sisters make a lot of crazy demands of one another. He was also heard to say "Mom! Sis is looking at me again! Make her stop looking at me!" There's no need to assume he's some sort of pathetic victim.
posted by pracowity at 7:24 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Projecting one's own feelings about this to frame it as How Brandon Would Think About This is pointless and pretty much guaranteed to be wrong because we don't know anything about the context this occurred in.

I have a little bit of context. I have the words, "Stay out of my room!" Those have a conventional meaning. I tend to assume that words are being used in conventional ways until I see something to indicate otherwise.

He was also heard to say "Mom! Sis is looking at me again! Make her stop looking at me!" There's no need to assume he's some sort of pathetic victim.

Classy.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:29 AM on August 16, 2011


Personally, I thought it was pretty funny. Friendly family teasing.

If anything, and if the kid is anything like me, he's not so much oppressed by the 'invasion of privacy', but by the continual need of his family to involve him in their hijinks.

Close the door on your way out.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:30 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look at me being serious. We all learned as kids that playing tricks on people is wrong. A prank is a mischievous trick played on a person, especially one that causes the victim to experience embarrassment, indignity, or discomfort. The whole point is to do something to someone malicious enough affect their emotions while being mild enough to retain the utility of the "Awwe, jeeze, I was just joking around. Why you gotta take everything so serious?" defense.

Pranks exploit a relationship or a position of power to extract malicious humor at someone's expense. It's not specifically that you did exactly what I asked you not to do / fucked on my bed / jumped out and shouted "Boo" / put a thumbtack in my seat. It's that you've done anything to me at all. To prank me is to tell me you value your own amusement over my feelings, period. That the pranker so often dismisses the victim's protestations as evidence of having no sense of humor just underscores the maliciouness of the act.

We have senses of humor, but why would you want me to experience embarrassment, indignity, or discomfort unless you just don't like me? What makes it fun for you to hurt others?
posted by BeerFilter at 7:31 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Clearly, what someone needs to do to rescue this poor boy from his family is to hack into their Facebook account and replace the pictures with, say, a dozen photos of plates of beans.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:31 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Brandon's last words...

Mr and Mrs Brandonparents, we're sorry to inform you that due to a tragic accident in the camp's basket tying class, Brandon has passed away. He was a vibrant child, and constantly made mention of how much he loved and cherished his parents, and was happy that he knew his wish that his room be left the fuck alone would be respected by all his beloved family members. We wish you courage and strength in these trying times.

The staff and counselors of Camp Wenatcheeoogabooga
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:35 AM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think that, in light of not knowing this family or their "deal", we can assume that they set upon Brandon when he arrived home and then cooked and ate him.
posted by everichon at 7:36 AM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


I have the words, "Stay out of my room!" Those have a conventional meaning. I tend to assume that words are being used in conventional ways until I see something to indicate otherwise.

That is a bad assumption about a family you admit you know nothing about.

I thought this was funny and charming. And I am completely willing to admit that I have no idea how Brandon felt or will feel about this. I'm puzzled why you think you do.
posted by rtha at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh Metafilter, never change!
posted by odinsdream at 7:38 AM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


As far as sharing this with the world, the mom says in one of her facebook comments (re: sharing) "go ahead...i even asked bran and he gave me the ok. ".
posted by waterlily at 7:39 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


First World Problems...
posted by Dr.Enormous at 7:41 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Obviously, we are all going to view this through the lens of our experiences growing up. Which is fine until we all try to assume how Brandon feels and what his life is like.

In my family, you had a room, but were expected to keep it clean enough that other famliy members could walk in occasionally (after knocking if your door was closed and asking "are you decent?") and, you know, interact. You were expected to keep at least enough space clean for this to happen (and your bed made). But no one would go through stuff on your desk, or in your dresser, or bookcase, at least not once you were doing your own laundry. Privacy was not absolute, though you still had plenty of it, because a house is not a panopticon and there was plenty of time in the day when no one was watching you.

All the stuff that took place in Brandon's room was like that; just in the middle of the floor, not going through his books/clothes, or making any permanent changes to his room.

I don't know if he was horrified or just rolled his eyes, but there's no reason to assume the worst.
posted by emjaybee at 7:41 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ha -- in the pillow fort one, they're reading my book!

That was the first thing I noticed actually.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Stay out of my room" would not have worked on my working class parents for one simple reason: I was not contributing in any way, shape, form, or fashion to the mortgage. Until I did so, I had no say in what went on in the room of my house where my parents let the kids sleep. There were similar attitudes in the other parents I knew growing up. It wasn't until I went to college that I realized there were parents who would seriously stay out of their kids's rooms if asked--and twenty years later, I'm still not quite sure I believe it. (Perhaps there's some rental arrangement I'm not aware of? I just can't wrap my head around a child having that kind of authority in a space in a house).

Seriously, I'm baffled by the idea that a minor child should have such dominion over a place in the family home. It gets the Bill Cosby lobe of my brain all in a tizzy. "Your room? Son, that is a room that your mother and father allow you to sleep in so you don't have to sleep in the rain. You don't have a room. You are a child."

I mean, with all respect--I love my girls, I respect their privacy to an appropriate degree and I am trying to teach them to respect the privacy of others in the family, but the idea that their room is "theirs" to the extent that they can expect a blanket demand of "stay out" to be honored? Absolutely ridiculous in every way. That room is no more "theirs" than the kitchen is "mine". This is our family's house, not a loose confederation of rooms with individual sovereign status.
posted by padraigin at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [46 favorites]


I loathed my obnoxious dysfunctional family and kept as much space between them and me as possible but find these pics hilarious since these people actually have some joy and humor. There's a big difference between standing in someone's room and going through their stuff. The whole thing is a send-up of the silly idea that any of them would actually give a shit about his room.

Also, kids don't seem to mind parents going in their rooms to, say, vacuum, drop off clean laundry, or give them lunch money, so the boundary issues are somewhat flexible. Do we even have any idea how old Brandon is?
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, this entire, "But his right to privacy! Think of the teenagers!" crap is really irksome to me. You know what I didn't have as a teenager? Privacy.

I shared a room with one or both of my sisters for pretty much my entire childhood. I had my own room from about one year old until we moved out of the apartment and into a house when I was about three or four, and then after about three more years, the number of siblings I had increased by two. After the age of three, I didn't have my own room until my sophomore year of college. And the only reason I had my own room from age 1 - 3 is because I happened to have been the oldest.

I think all this argument for privacy bullshit comes from some really weird modern idea that everyone should have their own room every step of the way in life until marriage.

If Brandon were sharing a room with another sibling, telling anyone in his family to stay out of his room while he were at camp would be absolutely absurd if the other sibling were still home --- but because he happens to be in a position to have his own room, it's not? What? I can't wrap my head around how not sharing a room happens to make this any different.
posted by zizzle at 7:46 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


And I am completely willing to admit that I have no idea how Brandon felt or will feel about this. I'm puzzled why you think you do.

Because I take people at their word.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:46 AM on August 16, 2011


I'm puzzled why you think you do.

Because I take people at their word.


That's not what you're doing. We do not have sufficient information about what Brandon does or does not think about what's going on here to even formulate an opinion about that. So given the fact that this is, in fact, presented by the people involved as a light and silly thing done by a family that loves each other, your insistence that this constitutes some kind of serious, grievous personal injury seems to have one hell of a lot more to do with your own issues than it does with Brandon's.

Again, it's entirely fine to say that you wouldn't appreciate it. But there's no cause to make some kind of moral issue out of this.
posted by valkyryn at 7:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


As I went through these, I pictured Brandon getting each of these in the mail, one a day, through his camp stay, a care-package without crumbs kind of thing, and thought it touching. I assume the whole "Brandon said" bit is purely made up. A room that clean gets and stays that way with adult help, his mom goes into that room all the time.
posted by nomisxid at 7:52 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, so... I didn't log into Facebook for this, and waterlily says there's some stuff in there that makes it look like Brandon was okay with this, in which case my arguments are moot.

You know, this entire, "But his right to privacy! Think of the teenagers!" crap is really irksome to me.

FWIW, I was never concerned about his privacy, but rather about 1. violating a boundary that 2. they didn't need to violate, 3. not apologizing, 4. making fun of it, and 5. in a way that makes the internet hivemind minimize and ignore any problems Brandon might have with this.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I love the idea of this, but there's something about this that just doesn't ring authentic to me. Maybe it's just my envy of the extreme cleanliness of the kid's room. Maybe it's just my inability to wrap my head around how old this kid is. Supposedly this is a kid who would apparently be old enough to play Grand Theft Auto 4, Dead Rising 2, etc., appreciate having cool Rolling Stones and Foo Fighters posters on the wall and, and is a fan of "The Office" (hence the Froggy 101 bumper sticker and Office homage photo) which tells me this kid is probably an older teen with mature tastes. But the well-organized collection of stuffed penguins and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (check the lower left hand shelf in the Christmas photo and compare to this; the first of those books, targeted at grades 5-8, came out four years ago, in 2007) seem to indicate a younger kid, or at least, stuff acquired by a younger kid that his older self isn't quite ready to part with. He's only got the first three books of the series, which tells me he outgrew them around 2009, when book three came out. GTA 4 came out in 2008, which probably puts the kid at about high school age then. Dead Rising 2 came out in 2010; can't tell if that's Infamous 1 or 2 (the first was released 2009, the second a couple of months ago). Bran is also apparently mature enough that his family isn't concerned about him seeing photos of his Toy Story figures next to an empty beer, an empty bottle of $20+ tequila, and a lighter (though I didn't see a bong anywhere in sight).

My bet is that "Bran" is a college bound kid who's going to be coming home to this room in the Fall on weekends and holidays to hang with his family and do his laundry, which sort of changes the tenor of the whole bit
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


That's not what you're doing. We do not have sufficient information about what Brandon does or does not think about what's going on here to even formulate an opinion about that.

Even faced with the likelihood that Brandon didn't really care, I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room, for the same reason that "No!" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker does not like what you're doing and wants you to stop.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:54 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess we can see who in this thread had bitter, broken childhoods, can't we?
posted by mecran01 at 7:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, I guess we can see who in this thread had bitter, broken childhoods, can't we?

Nope. I had what you describe and still think the prank was meant in good fun, while realizing the kid may not think so.

I dropped a FB note to a friend of the family (since there was no way to message the mom) that the link was available on the net. They may or may not be aware that anyone can see it or that people are posting opinions about the family.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 AM on August 16, 2011


I was an only child raised by distant, angry alcoholics, and I thought this was heartwarming and hilarious. It's so over-the-top with its supposed boundary crossing that it's beyond obvious that the laughs would be mutual. The genuine love and affection on display there just makes me a tad wistful and jealous.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here is another sad case of this on the internet. Just look at how crushed she appears after her trust is violated.
posted by cashman at 8:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, I guess we can see who in this thread had bitter, broken childhoods, can't we?

Or were just caught wanking to the underwear section of the Sears catalog?
"Mom! Can't a guy have a little privacy around here!?"
"I just want to check the price of one sweater, dear. You can have it back in a minute."
posted by pracowity at 8:08 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The post was mildly humorous, but the thread was fascinating.
posted by patrick rhett at 8:10 AM on August 16, 2011 [22 favorites]


...after her trust is violated.

Okay, can we please, please, please start tastelessly photoshopping that dude into Horrible Events in History?
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


valkyryn: Families are not governed by laws, they are governed by virtue and wisdom, and you can't substitute the former where the latter are lacking.

Oh, that's just all kinds of horseshit. Families are governed by anomie, fear, anxiety, and despair.

That makes as much conclusive, generalizable sense as what you're asserting, anyway.

mecran01: Well, I guess we can see who in this thread had bitter, broken childhoods, can't we?

I liked the whole enchilada, authentic, privacy-violating, or not, grinning dogs, prancing grandparents, lederhosen, prankishness, Foo Fighters poster, and all. And -- I had a miserable childhood! So sue me.
posted by blucevalo at 8:12 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room,

And I maintain that refusing to permit ambiguity to be resolved by discernment, replacing it with a set of rules and "defaults," is antithetical to human thriving.
posted by valkyryn at 8:25 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's a fun photo-essay. I suspect it's a put-on, not least because the circumstantial requirements for "let's do this fun photo-essay we've been thinking up ideas for" are a lot lower than those for "let's seize this on-the-nose statement by our kid/brother to spontaneously execute this photo-essay". But who knows, maybe it'll come clear decisively one way or the other.

And while I think it's a fun piece of work, I agree on a gut level with a lot of the objections too. I think it works better as a fictional premise than as an actual-thing-that-happened specifically because as an actual-thing-that-happened it introduces the question of how the real kid involved feels about being pranked, regardless of the quality of the pranking. It's possible for a nice family with good intentions to still end up fucking with a kid's head, because kids are kind of constantly fucked in the head anyway and there's rarely the kind of straightforward, flat playing field adult communication going on that lets unintentional mindfucking get worked out after the fact in a good way. Wishing away the possibility that this fucked with this kid's head in a shitty way doesn't actually eliminate that possibility.

As a real thing, this would have bothered me as a kid not because my family were awful horrible people but because, yeah, my stuff, my room, that was about as close to autonomy as I could really hope for at that age, even if at that it was mostly just the illusion thereof. To know that, even with whatever else was confusing or shitty about being a kid, I could at least have a place to go to that was mine, that had some fundamental sense of security about it: that was kind of a big thing for me.

I didn't have anything like the worst childhood. It was, I figure, middlingly good, crippling shyness and all that included. But I totally, totally understand why people would have overtly negative reactions to the premise here that might seem to those not having that reaction to be out of proportion with what is nominally just a silly photo-essay.
posted by cortex at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dr. Zira: But the well-organized collection of stuffed penguins and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (check the lower left hand shelf in the Christmas photo and compare to this; the first of those books, targeted at grades 5-8, came out four years ago, in 2007) seem to indicate a younger kid, or at least, stuff acquired by a younger kid that his older self isn't quite ready to part with.

This was pretty much me. I think I finally threw out my stash of Electric Company and Dynamite magazines the year after I graduated from college, when I moved to NYC and wouldn't have room to store stuff like magazines or the scrapbook with the candy-bar cutouts I wore as a costume in the third-grade play. And I held onto my thermal yellow baby blanket* until it finally fell apart when I was around 15.

I'm with you: I agree that Bran is probably an "old teenager," possibly headed for college, who feels sentimental about some of his little-kid stuff.

*Not literally "held onto it." I wasn't freakin' Linus Van Pelt or anything. I used it as a throw. It was a decorative accessory. Yeah, that's it.
posted by bakerina at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


My room was never mine. I mean, it was mine, but I knew full well that it wasn't MINE. Likewise, the things that were in it had been bought for me and could be taken away at any time.

Was this frustrating at times? Of course. But I would have been happy if someone had cared about me enough to make fun of me in such a silly, harmless way.

Painting this with the NO MEANS NO brush just reduces every human interaction to a "single inviolable self against the whole world" scenario, and I can't see how that is somehow healthier than teaching someone to have a sense of humor about themself.
posted by hermitosis at 8:32 AM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sometimes I worry that we all take things too seriously.

Cute photos. Very professional looking, which probably means this wasn't spontaneous or legit - but why do we care about that? It hits me in the same squishy white-washed childhood nostalgia spot that Calvin and Hobbes does.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:33 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


To answer a few questions for those of you who didn't/can't click through to the facebook album:

-The album was posted July 23.

-Both of the parents have completely locked down profiles, the only thing public is this album. One of the commenters asks for permission to share, and the mom replys, "go ahead...I even asked Bran and he gave me the ok." (She got permission, guys! See that!?)

-The only people who can like/comment on the album are facebook friends of the mom.

-The only things the internet knows about this kid are that 1) he has a jokey family, 2) he likes the Foo Fighters, 3) he appears to collect penguins. Pretty generic/harmless. It's not like they opened up his computer files and sent those around, or took pictures of his underwear for all to see.

his dad is a lot older than his mom
-His dad is only pictured in the Christmas picture. Airplane guy is a grandfather. Dad appears to be roughly the same age as mom. But, you know, keep on judgin'.

-There's a comment on one of the photos from the mom's aunt, saying that the mom's sister did something very similar to her daughter's room (that the mom apparently didn't know about). This suggests that their family ethos is lighthearted and fun. This was a cute prank, not a "let's stick it to our son, whom we clearly hate!" thing.

-There's a comment on the album that says "you do realize that at the first opportunity when you and [the dad] go somewhere he will get even!" and the mom replies, "hahaha...I'd love that!" So if Brandon really does feel violated, he's got a clear ticket to declare open season on their asses.


Also, if you'll actually read the first picture, you'll see that he told his sister to stay out of his room. Not his parents. For all we know, he has a second sister [not pictured] and his parents have been completely compliant with his wishes.


I, for one, think this is really cute. What it says to me is, "we missed you and thought of you every day." Most kids should be so lucky. Even if he's mad about it now, I'm sure he'll look back fondly on the pictures in a few years. Because that's what kids do.

And I have to add: that Christmas picture might just be the most hilarious thing I've ever seen.

Also, for those who want to hear me project a bit: I grew up in a family that wouldn't even stay out of the bathroom even if you were actively pooping in it and had the door locked. On the other hand, if mail for me arrives at their house--even junk mail--they save it for me or mail it to me and don't open it. Families have different expectations of privacy; sometimes even different expectations of different kinds of privacy. When I see something like this, I have to think the charitable thing, which is that this family knows and understands which requests for privacy are "serious" and which requests for privacy are "haha, hey guys don't," and that no one's toes got stepped on in the making of this prank. Frankly, I would have loved for my family to do something like this when I went away for camp. Instead, whenever I came back from camp, my room was filled with boxes of my parents' crap that no longer fit in the storage spaces. But hey, the loved me enough to send me to expensive camps every summer to enrich my education, so I made do.
posted by phunniemee at 8:35 AM on August 16, 2011 [39 favorites]


valkyryn: “Families are not governed by laws, they are governed by virtue and wisdom, and you can't substitute the former where the latter are lacking.”

I think it's interesting to claim, or even imply, that "virtue and wisdom" don't concern themselves with laws or rules. One would think that the family would be the first place people should learn this – that virtue and wisdom demand that there be rules and laws by which we govern the way we treat each other.

Some people don't think that's very important, I grant; some people think it's unimportant enough that they believe virtue and wisdom might be contrary to rules or laws, and that it's sometimes appropriate to teach young people that these rules and laws should be violated in the interest of lightheartedness and fun.

I accept that some people don't think these things – justice, and the education to justice that happens in the family – are important enough to take seriously. I just didn't think you would have been one of those people, so I'm a little surprised to find you arguing the side of lightheartedness against the education to justice.
posted by koeselitz at 8:35 AM on August 16, 2011


My my, the gulf between families where teasing and pranks were good-natured fun and those for whom it was a source of bullying is mighty wide.
posted by melissam at 8:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Five years back one of my nieces was getting married, and my nephew, then aged 18, had such a pigsty of a room that it was smelling up the house. In an effort to help my brother's family get the house ready for the wedding, my mother went over to their place and cleaned his room. She didn't rearrange or reorganize it, didn't throw anything out unless it was clearly garbage, and didn't go through anything more than strictly necessary — she merely tidied and cleaned it.

Luke came home that night and his mother heard some door slamming and a bellowed, "WHO'S BEEN IN MY ROOM?!?!?!?!?!" My sister-in-law said, "Grandma cleaned it for you today." "WELL SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE."

This is to say that not all demands for "privacy" by the immature members of a family need to be or should be respected. Some are simply ridiculous, and an 18-year-old boy who can't keep his room clean enough to not inconvenience others needs to mend his ways rather than try to enforce some silly territorial rules about who gets to set foot in his precious "space".
posted by orange swan at 8:39 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I do wonder if this will turn out to be a viral marketing campaign...
posted by melissam at 8:40 AM on August 16, 2011


"go ahead...I even asked Bran and he gave me the ok."

But how do we know that for sure? HOW DO WE KNOOOOOWWWW?!?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the blonde woman is his sister. It appears he has two. His mom is probably the woman on the bed in the Open mic night photo.
posted by audacity at 8:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room, for the same reason that "No!" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker does not like what you're doing and wants you to stop.

I really do not even want to think about what my kids would be like if I took everything they said literally and honored it. Children have unreasonable desires and demands and this family chose to poke fun at that fact.
posted by padraigin at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room, for the same reason that "No!" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker does not like what you're doing and wants you to stop.

That's not a very rational stance to take, and shows a profound lack of empathy for family dynamic. The problem isn't the family intruding on Brandon's personal space (when he isn't even there), the problem is now you ascribing all manner of imaginary, trumped-up evil to something that is almost certainly harmless and loving. It's bizarre and unsettling and I'd wish you'd stop it. You don't know them, and have no right to assign evil or cruel intent to their actions.

Stop and fucking think for a moment - what would they feel if this was innocent, and they read your ravings? These aren't TV characters, they're real people who have internet access. Show some consideration.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


To me, this is like when you go away on vacation, and some coworker decides to tin foil everything in your cube. "It's a fun prank! hahahahha LOL" I mean, to YOU it is, Douchey Coworker. To other people, it's just lame. Leave my shit alone, even if all you did to it was pick it up, and cover it in tin foil.

If I'm a kid going away to camp, and I say "Stay out of my room!" and the first thing that you think as my parents is "I'm totally going in your room! It's a fun prank! hahahahahLOL", I'll start seeing you as my douchey coworkers instead of my parents.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:45 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


To me, this is like when you go away on vacation, and some coworker decides to tin foil everything in your cube. "It's a fun prank! hahahahha LOL" I mean, to YOU it is, Douchey Coworker. To other people, it's just lame. Leave my shit alone, even if all you did to it was pick it up, and cover it in tin foil.

If I'm a kid going away to camp, and I say "Stay out of my room!" and the first thing that you think as my parents is "I'm totally going in your room! It's a fun prank! hahahahahLOL", I'll start seeing you as my douchey coworkers instead of my parents.


No, it's more like you go away on vacation, your coworkers tin foil everything in your cube, take pictures of it, then un-tinfoil it and put it all back exactly as you left it, except for a picture of the tin-foil party left on your desk.
posted by padraigin at 8:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


I had a pretty decent home life, and awesome parents. But I was also extremely shy, and protective of my privacy. I know it was a privilege to have my own room, and occasional weeks at camp, and a family I could trust to leave my room be, unless the cat puked in it or something. So I'm on the fence here. I'm not sure if I would have found this hilarious or humiliating, if it had happened to me.

Outside of my family, though: I was bullied for years. If certain classmates were to see my bedroom, I'd probably have heard about it weekly if not daily for years.

It's a pet peeve of mine when people think "no" means "yes, if it's funny." It makes me really uncomfortable. But I recognize that other people are fine with it. I'm hoping either Brandon is one of those people, or this is totally fake.

And I am so, so, so glad I grew up pre-Facebook.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]




I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room, for the same reason that "No!" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker does not like what you're doing and wants you to stop.


If you empower that kind of hard nosed, humorless entitlement your kids might grow up to be meta-filter posters.

[Please read in a dry, yet good-natured tone. Thanks.]
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:52 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


//Even faced with the likelihood that Brandon didn't really care, I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room, for the same reason that "No!" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker does not like what you're doing and wants you to stop.//

You don't actually have kids do you?
posted by COD at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, it's more like you go away on vacation, your coworkers tin foil everything in your cube, take pictures of it, then un-tinfoil it and put it all back exactly as you left it, except for a picture of the tin-foil party left on your desk.

Hooray for me not having to untinfoil everything, but I'd still put those coworkers in the Douchey Office Pranksters category. Same thing with the parents.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2011


Hooray for me not having to untinfoil everything, but I'd still put those coworkers in the Douchey Office Pranksters category. Same thing with the parents.

Maybe, for an even better analogy, you should assume that the tinfoil bandits are your closest friends, people you know really care about you and with whom you share an important bond.
posted by padraigin at 8:55 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


it's overthinking because i'm thinking more than the people who made the joke amirite

It's underthinking because you don't seem to realize you have no idea whether or not that's true.
posted by straight at 8:56 AM on August 16, 2011


Okay, after reading the facebook comments, I was totally wrong. The blonde woman (Alissa) is just a seriously young-looking mom.
posted by audacity at 8:57 AM on August 16, 2011


I actually feel like "humorless" is not nearly as strong an adjective as is called for to describe those of us calling foul on this.

Dollars to donuts says this kid laughed his ass off about this, and now knows--even more than before--how much his family loves him. If he didn't laugh about it, he will later, which is one of the benefits of having the good fortune to grow up in a family like the one in these pictures.

I've really never seen such whiney and blinkered bean plating in my life, even here on The Blue.
posted by broadway bill at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Maybe, for an even better analogy, you should assume that the tinfoil bandits are your closest friends, people you know really care about you and with whom you share an important bond.

Maybe you should assume that I know what I'm talking about when I state my personal opinion on the matter. If by closest friends in the world, people who I know really care about me and with whom I share an important bond tinfoiled my cube, or LOLpranked me when I was out of town, I would think what they did was douchey.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:01 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room, for the same reason that "No!" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker does not like what you're doing and wants you to stop.

So when you give someone a gift, and they say, "You shouldn't have!", do you snatch the gift away from them and take it back to the store?
posted by orange swan at 9:01 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Even if he's mad about it now, I'm sure he'll look back fondly on the pictures in a few years. Because that's what kids do.

Probably so, yeah, but (in the abstract "how this stuff can work out in a generic family dynamic" sense since I'm really not trying to comment on this actual family or this actual kid about whom I know nothing), even the coercive aspect of that notion is problematic. Especially when there's sort of a natural pressure to Look Back Fondly sooner rather than later if other people have already emotionally invested themselves in the idea that you will be okay with it.

There's that sense of someone having what they think is a great idea, and they do it, and they're sure you'll think it's great; and so when you react badly, their investment in the idea itself and in the presumption that you'll like it means there's pressure for you to stop reacting badly lest you hurt their feelings. I Thought You'd Be Okay With This, So You Need To Start Being Okay With This, that sort of thing.

Which is a horribly complicated dilemma for all involved. In the long run, if it's not a serious nuke-from-orbit sort of dealbreaker then, yeah, the tendency for the human mind to accommodate and recontextualize stuff will probably make it an "oh shit, I can't believe that happened" story ten years down the line, not a matter of bitter recrimination or whatever.

But kids don't have the same kind of bargaining power as adults do in those weird complicated situations, and to some extent don't even have a choice about whether it's a "this is not okay" thing or not. So, that coercive element is there even, again, with the best of intentions from loving family members.

Again: there is nothing to say that any of this plays into what actually happened in the case of these funny photos. But as far as how people are reacting to the premise, that's part of my read on it.
posted by cortex at 9:02 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


padraigin: “I really do not even want to think about what my kids would be like if I took everything they said literally and honored it.”

It would be terrible. They might get the insane idea that people are worthy of respect and decency even when they're wrong. What nonsense.

“Children have unreasonable desires and demands and this family chose to poke fun at that fact.”

The thing about parenting is that even "harmless jokes" are lessons that stay with kids.

These parents chose to teach an important lesson here: they chose to teach that personal requests people make of us should be violated and trampled on whenever we think they're silly.

phunniemee: “Even if he's mad about it now, I'm sure he'll look back fondly on the pictures in a few years. Because that's what kids do.”

I had a very good childhood. I was lucky enough to have parents I care about dearly, parents I love very much. My parents are thoughtful, good people.

But something like this happened to me once, and I can say that it bothered me immensely. It still makes me angry thinking back on it. It was, in fact, the moment when I realized that my parents, though good people, were capable of making really tremendous mistakes that hurt people without even meaning to.
posted by koeselitz at 9:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


I maintain that "Stay out of my room!" should by default be interpreted to indicate a desire of the speaker that you should stay out of their room

Absolutely. If it's said to you by a complete stranger.

Reading that it was said by a complete stranger to someone in his family and assuming you understand what it means in that context better than the family member? That's completely ridiculous.
posted by straight at 9:28 AM on August 16, 2011


-Both of the parents have completely locked down profiles, the only thing public is this album. One of the commenters asks for permission to share, and the mom replys, "go ahead...I even asked Bran and he gave me the ok."

I wonder if sharing meant sharing with the entire internet, because the photos were only available to those on Facebook. That fact they were taken from Facebook, posted to Failbook and then linked to on MetaFilter might raise a few eyebrows.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2011


But something like this happened to me once, and I can say that it never bothered me at all. It still makes me smile thinking back on it. It was, in fact, the moment when I realized that my parents, who are good people, were capable of having an immense sense of humor that taught me not to take everything seriously.

That was my experience, so you know, people differ. Experiences differ. We can't extrapolate our own experiences to this kid's experience. We're all looking at this with filters, and unless/until Brandon comes along and states how he felt about it, we can either assume the best or the worst of his family. I'm going to assume the best until I have evidence to assume otherwise.

And kids just don't get the same amount of privacy they think they deserve for a lot of reasons. This is a bit of a jokey reason, but the principles apply and affording kids privacy at all costs is probably a lot more harmful in the long run than a gag perpetuated by people who love you.
posted by zizzle at 9:31 AM on August 16, 2011


For all we know, he has a second sister [not pictured] and his parents have been completely compliant with his wishes.

Exactly. That's one of a thousand details we don't know and without which it's just silly to take offense on behalf of imaginary Brandons.
posted by straight at 9:32 AM on August 16, 2011


His mouth was saying no, but his body was saying yes.
posted by darksasami at 9:32 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's that sense of someone having what they think is a great idea, and they do it, and they're sure you'll think it's great; and so when you react badly, their investment in the idea itself and in the presumption that you'll like it means there's pressure for you to stop reacting badly lest you hurt their feelings. I Thought You'd Be Okay With This, So You Need To Start Being Okay With This, that sort of thing.

This is a very important point: If Brandon isn't cool with this we're not likely to hear about it. The deed is done, and there is no endgame for Brandon in which he can regain his dignity if he took this as a slap in the face. Sure, share the pix, whatever, this probably isn't the first thing that's been done to him, he knows it won't be the last, and he just doesn't want to look like the jerk for complaining about it. Again.

Which is why the way this ends so often is the way it did for me, and for the characters in the first act of the movie Big Fish (which i found so painful I could not watch it all the way through): The prankster believes there is nothing wrong with what they are doing and so the pranks escalate, until something happens which the victim truly cannot forgive. And what happens then is the victim generally leaves, and the prankster is all hurt and upset because you won't return their calls, and it's not that you want to hurt them but that you have finally figured out you have to choose between having them in your life and having peace.
posted by localroger at 9:34 AM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


His mouth was saying no, but his body was saying yes.

What the fuck, did you just equate this room decorating prank with rape?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:35 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


I do wonder if this will turn out to be a viral marketing campaign...
posted by melissam


Well I did just order a Foo Fighters poster, so it's working.
posted by The Deej at 9:39 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I should also mention that I don't think "authentic" was the right word to use in my above comment. For some reason, when I first saw this, I assumed for whatever reason that Bran was a younger kid. Since there's nothing in the postings indicating or representing the kid's age, I don't know why I made that assumption, but I find it interesting that I did jump to that conclusion (as did many others, I would guess) and I'm curious why. It wasn't until I looked more closely at the photos that I realized my assumption about Bran's age was incorrect.

But if, as I suspect, everyone in the family is cool with posting these on Teh Facebooks, I salute them as they seem like a really nice folks who share an awesome sense of humor.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:43 AM on August 16, 2011


This whole thread reminds me of a discussion of Namahage I saw on a Western site. Namehage is teasing as Japanese art form. The Westerners were horrified by this and thought it was traumatizing to the children. Life carries on in Japan, as it does in numerous other cultures where teasing children is a common practice. I'd rather be around Japanese children than the thin-skinned children we've raised in the US.
posted by melissam at 9:46 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


valkyryn: “Families are not governed by laws, they are governed by virtue and wisdom, and you can't substitute the former where the latter are lacking.”

I think it's interesting to claim, or even imply, that "virtue and wisdom" don't concern themselves with laws or rules. One would think that the family would be the first place people should learn this – that virtue and wisdom demand that there be rules and laws by which we govern the way we treat each other.

That's a misunderstanding. Valkyryn is saying that "laws," particularly within a family, only make sense within a context of virtue and wisdom. No matter how careful and explicit your "laws," family members can easily hurt each other while staying within the letter of those laws if there is not the virtue and wisdom to keep the spirit of those laws.

We don't have enough information about this family to know whether this prank is within the spirit of any "law" Brandon was appealing to with his "Stay out of my room" comment. (As others have pointed out, in many families such a request would actually be in direct violation of the existing family "laws.")

Without that information, it is extremely unkind and uncharitable to these people to assume the prank represents a violation of the spirit of their family's "laws." Keep your unfounded accusations to yourself.
posted by straight at 9:46 AM on August 16, 2011


What can you really learn about Brandon from these pictures? He likes Foo Fighters and Green day, and he's pretty orderly. Perhaps you could really peer at the pictures and find out some hidden truths, but most of those pictures are of people doing something in the space. I could imagine that after all these staged photos, they could be out of his room and he wouldn't realize it, unless he saw the pictures.

Except everyone has seen the pictures. Anyone who doesn't know Brandon will focus on the family (and possibly notice his clean room and his few posters). Anyone who knows Brandon might see something else, but we can only guess what that might be.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 AM on August 16, 2011


I disagree, I think we have learned a very important thing about Brandon today: Given his FPS experience, I'm pretty sure I'd want Brandon on my team when the zombie apocalypse comes.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:53 AM on August 16, 2011


What the fuck, did you just equate this room decorating prank with rape?

Yes, I did. And I'm sorry I did, because in my anger I remembered too late the problem with it--that the equation goes both ways, and seems to belittle the seriousness of rape, which is not at all what I meant to do. But I do want to express that while the magnitude differs, the mechanism is the same. And it's pretty clear to me that if the justification seems to work in one case, then it's easy to get it to work in the other.

That's why I get furious when I see things like:

..."No!" should be interpreted to mean that the speaker does not like what you're doing and wants you to stop.

That's not a very rational stance to take...


Everyone in this thread who likes this prank must either assume that this stranger is ok with having his boundaries violated, or else just enjoy other people's humiliation. Even if the assumption is that he is ok with it, does no one see a problem with having a default stance that assumes that people are ok with having their boundaries violated?
posted by darksasami at 9:54 AM on August 16, 2011


Maybe you should assume that I know what I'm talking about when I state my personal opinion on the matter. If by closest friends in the world, people who I know really care about me and with whom I share an important bond tinfoiled my cube, or LOLpranked me when I was out of town, I would think what they did was douchey.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:01 PM on August 16 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


A few years back my car was stolen from my home. Amid the "what the fuck am I going to do / get to work / holy crap did I lock it / is this my fault / I have insurance, but what if they steal that one too?" I called the police and the officer came over and took my statement.

After everything, he gave me his card and told me "Give us a call if anything changes; If it turns up, or if you recover it, or if it turns out your pals were playing a prank on you".

I told him "if this turns out to be someone I know, I want you to use your gun."

I was only half joking.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:56 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone in this thread who likes this prank must either assume that this stranger is ok with having his boundaries violated, or else just enjoy other people's humiliation.

It is maliciously self-centered to not realize that you don't know this family well enough to know if a boundary violation has actually occurred and to just dish out the unwarranted slander anyway.
posted by straight at 10:02 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't understand where humiliation comes into it. They were taking photos in a room. It could have been any room in the house but the joke was that it was Brandon's room.

Humiliation would have been taking pictures of Brandon passed out in his room with a peacock feather sticking out of his ass...
posted by smcniven at 10:03 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I told him "if this turns out to be someone I know, I want you to use your gun."

Wait, so was it someone you knew? Did you shoot them? I'm on the edge of my seat, here!


Actually, that reminds me of a story of some family friends of ours. The son (who I think was still living at home while going to school) had just turned 21, and the parents knew he was planning to go out with friends that night. This was a really nice, mild-mannered guy, so no one really expected him to get up too many shenanigans.

So his dad comes driving home from work late that day, and drives past the strip club on the road he always takes. And there was his son's car, right there, in the strip club parking lot. The dad was furious (mostly for being so brazen about going to the strip club his dad drives by, on this heavily trafficked road in a small town), and drove the rest of the way home trying to figure out the exact wording he'd use when he yelled at his son the next day. Dad gets home, walks in the door--and there is his son, sitting at the table, with his mom and a police officer, taking down information.

His car had been stolen. He had no intention of going to a strip club that night--whatever person stole his car did that all by himself. (Happily, dad knew exactly where the car was and they recovered it that night. Hooray!)
posted by phunniemee at 10:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is maliciously self-centered to not realize that you don't know this family well enough to know if a boundary violation has actually occurred and to just dish out the unwarranted slander anyway.

There is no slander. If there had been no boundary violation, there would have been no humor. That's how humor works.
posted by darksasami at 10:09 AM on August 16, 2011


I got two things out of this series of photos (which I like, btw):
1. I LOVE the floors and wish to have them in my house.
2. Is Darth Vader wearing a yarmulke? Who knew?
posted by onhazier at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2011


valkyryn: “Families are not governed by laws, they are governed by virtue and wisdom, and you can't substitute the former where the latter are lacking.”

me: “I think it's interesting to claim, or even imply, that ‘virtue and wisdom’ don't concern themselves with laws or rules. One would think that the family would be the first place people should learn this – that virtue and wisdom demand that there be rules and laws by which we govern the way we treat each other.”

straight: “That's a misunderstanding. Valkyryn is saying that ‘laws,’ particularly within a family, only make sense within a context of virtue and wisdom. No matter how careful and explicit your ‘laws,’ family members can easily hurt each other while staying within the letter of those laws if there is not the virtue and wisdom to keep the spirit of those laws.”

I agree with that. But my meaning was that the contrary is not true; family members cannot treat each other well while still breaking the spirit of certain laws of the family. One of those laws ought to be: "when someone makes a request, take her or him at her or his word, and respect it." That doesn't mean "you must do everything they tell you to do;" but it does mean that one ought to deal honestly and directly with these things.

“We don't have enough information about this family to know whether this prank is within the spirit of any ‘law’ Brandon was appealing to with his ‘Stay out of my room’ comment.”

Yes, we do. Every time someone makes a request, it should be treated with respect and as an honest expression. That's a "law" that should exist in every family. Every family.

“As others have pointed out, in many families such a request would actually be in direct violation of the existing family ‘laws.’”

So you would be okay with this if it were intended as a punishment of Brandon's rule-breaking request? Really?

straight: “It is maliciously self-centered to not realize that you don't know this family well enough to know if a boundary violation has actually occurred and to just dish out the unwarranted slander anyway.”

A personal request is a boundary. Decency and respect is a boundary. These boundaries were violated, no matter what, even if Brandon seems fine with it. These are absolute boundaries that exist in all times and places.
posted by koeselitz at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is maliciously self-centered to not realize that you don't know this family well enough to know if a boundary violation has actually occurred and to just dish out the unwarranted slander anyway.

So, we're in this thread, right? And this thread is about a subject. We want to form and express some opinions about the subject, so we look at the content of the FPP. We react to that content, however thin it may be, and we express our reactions.

Those reactions are always and necessarily predicated on the assumptions we make about the context that the FPP's content exists in. If this is a context we all share, then the thread will be limited to arguing over interpretations of the content. I'm using "argument" in the philosophical sense, here; all opinions are arguments.

In the case of this FPP, the context is ambiguous, so everyone makes the most reasonable assumption from their perspective. Some people assumed that "stay out of my room!" didn't express a firm personal boundary, or if it did, then it was only made with the intention of getting his sister to leave his stuff alone. Likewise, some people (not always the same people) assumed that it wasn't really a boundary per se, just an expression of a preference.

Other people assumed that "stay out of my room!" was meant to indicate that he didn't want anyone in his room for any reason, and would therefore take it as an offense to find the photos that documented the violation of that boundary, and made fun of it. I still think this is the appropriate way to take those words by default, but the contents of the Facebook page suggest that the default didn't really apply here.

So, I'm no longer terribly committed to the idea that these photos constitute a violation of trust, but I'm still a bit put out that people are calling my initial position "maliciously self-centered".
posted by LogicalDash at 10:15 AM on August 16, 2011


Here's my story of being pranked:

I was finishing off a training course at CFB Gagetown and had managed to stumble back to my barracks room after the end-of-course party. Sometime in the middle of the night the Military Police pounded on my door and requested that I come with them. Into the squad car we pile and they started driving off the base.

We eventually came to scene where there were several other cop cars, lights flashing etc... Spread out on the hood of one of the cars were 2 of my roomates/coursemates. They had thought it would be funny to steal the license plate from my car which I had left parked at the bar we had been at that night. Obviously the MPs had not thought it as funny.

They then proceeded to question my roomates, confirm that I knew them etc... until they were sastified that all 3 of us would not get up to such shenanigans again.

I could have been outrages, humiliated etc... but I laughed it off as a stupid stunt by a couple of goof off. They did, of course, owe me a few rounds the next time we went out.
posted by smcniven at 10:17 AM on August 16, 2011


In the facebook comments, the mom says that she didn't go buy anything to do the photos, and all the scenes were constructed from stuff they already had around the house.

So this is a family that has:

-lightsabers
-a Darth Vader mask
-a Dwight Schrute bobblehead
-an awesome remote controlled plane
-an Oscar trophy
-doggies!
-a PacMan hat
-lederhosen
-an accordion
-all the Toy Story characters
-pie

THESE PEOPLE ARE AWESOME.
posted by phunniemee at 10:20 AM on August 16, 2011 [31 favorites]


Yes, we do. Every time someone makes a request, it should be treated with respect and as an honest expression. That's a "law" that should exist in every family. Every family.

No. You have no idea in what spirit Brandon said "Stay out of my room," or what exactly he meant by those words in that family context. It's truly scary to me that you believe that you do.

So you would be okay with this if it were intended as a punishment of Brandon's rule-breaking request? Really?

If he lives in a home where the rules are that it's ridiculous to say, "Stay out of my room" because the house boundaries don't work that way for anyone, then yes, this would be a great way of gently reminding him that his request to "Stay out of 'my' room" ("Your room? What?") was out of bounds.
posted by straight at 10:21 AM on August 16, 2011


2. Is Darth Vader wearing a yarmulke? Who knew?

In order to create a better opportunity for herself and her son, Shmi changed his name when they moved to Tattooine. Originally, he was Avram Skywitz.
posted by griphus at 10:22 AM on August 16, 2011 [18 favorites]


This whole thread reminds me of a discussion of Namahage I saw on a Western site. Namehage is teasing as Japanese art form. The Westerners were horrified by this and thought it was traumatizing to the children. Life carries on in Japan, as it does in numerous other cultures where teasing children is a common practice.

Considering that the incidence of teen suicide in Japan is double that of the US for boys and triple for girls, this might not be such a good example.
posted by localroger at 10:23 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


In the case of this FPP, the context is ambiguous,

And because the context is ambiguous, justice requires that you not make unfounded, uncharitable assumptions that the family is doing something hurtful.
posted by straight at 10:24 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


... and instead we should make unfounded, uncharitable assumptions that Brandon is either a spoiled brat or a liar?
posted by koeselitz at 10:25 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]



So, I'm no longer terribly committed to the idea that these photos constitute a violation of trust, but I'm still a bit put out that people are calling my initial position "maliciously self-centered".


That's why we need to move away from that kind of language. All it does is entrench positions and exacerbate conflict. (Here I'm assuming that the goal is to communicate and to avoid fights.)
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:25 AM on August 16, 2011


Do people really think that a family would go to the effort of arranging and photographing almost twenty different elaborate scenarios if they didn't think Brandon would laugh at it?

I mean, I guess it's possible that the family has both a healthy enough sense of humor to dance around in lederhosen and a profound misunderstanding of how disaffected their son truly is, but I'm thinking toxic family dynamics don't normally lead to this.
posted by turaho at 10:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I come from a family in which pranking and teasing were widespread. It didn't help that my birthday was April 1. We all had to learn to roll with it. It's hard to set boundaries. If Brandon truly is upset, he must make that fact absolutely clear to his family, and take whatever steps he needs to protect himself in future.
posted by No Robots at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2011


You haven't met some of the toxic families I've met, turaho.
posted by darksasami at 10:29 AM on August 16, 2011


straight: “Keep your unfounded accusations to yourself... It is maliciously self-centered to not realize that you don't know this family well enough to know if a boundary violation has actually occurred and to just dish out the unwarranted slander anyway... And because the context is ambiguous, justice requires that you not make unfounded, uncharitable assumptions that the family is doing something hurtful.”

If the family turns out hurt that people on the internet think they're crap at parenting, here's my suggestion:

Brandon learned a little lesson about how he shouldn't trust his parents. His parents learned a big lesson about how plastering photos of family pranks all over the internet is a really, really bad idea.

This was just a learning experience. Someday, Brandon's family will look back on this and laugh. That's how it is. It hurts now, but they'll get over it. Maybe they'll understand when they're older.
posted by koeselitz at 10:30 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


... and instead we should make unfounded, uncharitable assumptions that Brandon is either a spoiled brat or a liar?

You asked if I'd be OK if this was "punishment," I said I'd be OK if it was a response to Brandon making presumptuous demands. I didn't mean to actually accuse him of anything. I apologize for being unclear about that.
posted by straight at 10:30 AM on August 16, 2011


Wait, so was it someone you knew? Did you shoot them? I'm on the edge of my seat, here!

Well um, to answer your question, no, I didn't shoot anyone (which would make no sense, since my request was for the COP to shoot said person) and if it was someone I knew, I never found out, as my car was found a few days later, wrecked in north-east DC, relieved of its belongings.

But I'm guessing you didn't actually read or process what I said, or were trying to be snarky and dismissive, so here you go! A for Effort champ!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:32 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The assumption that a person's words mean what they say is neither unfounded nor uncharitable. It might be wrong, though. That seems to have happened here.
posted by LogicalDash at 10:32 AM on August 16, 2011


But I'm guessing you didn't actually read or process what I said

Oops, you're totally right. I missed the "you" in your sentence. I'm sorry I misinterpreted what you said.
Still, though, threatening gun violence? Not cool, dude! Far more people have been injured (emotionally or physically) by guns than by stupid pranks.
posted by phunniemee at 10:37 AM on August 16, 2011


Dear god, I hope Brandon shows up in this thread soon.
posted by likeso at 10:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


It is always the threads about the most lighthearted subjects wherein we become the most vicious and condescending towards one another, stupid n00bs.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:38 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


But I'm guessing you didn't actually read or process what I said

Or maybe they did and were just half joking. And perhaps bringing to attention your desire to have someone killed over a prank because they made off with your luxury item.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2011


Metafilter:Still a bit put out that people are calling my initial position "maliciously self-centered".
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:40 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we get back to talking about those nice Jedi legs now?
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or maybe they did and were just half joking. And perhaps bringing to attention your desire to have someone killed over a prank because they made off with your luxury item.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:39 PM on August 16 [+] [!]


You're probably right, I should really lighten up. You guys leave me your keys, and one random morning you can show me how.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:46 AM on August 16, 2011


I am hard pressed to believe that this seemingly goofy family did all this intending to HURT or PUNISH their son. It "seems" that the whole family is pretty silly and I am betting Brandon is too. I don't know that, of course, just my gut. I hope Brandon expresses his opinion so that we know how he took this. I'll have to ask my 12-yr-old how she would feel. I'm curious.

Yeah, and it does seem that everyone here is projecting their own feelings and experiences. But that's what we do.
posted by cherrybounce at 10:49 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


My friends and I used to watch Whose Line Is It Anyway? (British and American versions) and there was this woman who would come on who was just terrible. She had no talent for improv and not only personally screwed up, but pretty much ruined whatever sketch she was in. So whenver she would come on the show we would groan and say, "Oh no! It's Suck-the-Fun-Lady!"

This thread is like that.
posted by Kimberly at 10:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Nearly 250 comments on this. Go team.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:51 AM on August 16, 2011


My mom would always clean it, and by clean i mean rearrange everything and throw stuff out she thought i didn't want/didn't approve of.

I am always impressed with moms who have this sort of energy. Where do they find the time? Looking back on my childhood, my mom seemed perpetually exhausted just by working and doing the household basics. Dad didn't pitch in all that much, as far as I can remember. Maybe that's the secret.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2011


Metafilter: "Oh no! It's Suck-the-Fun-Lady!"
posted by benzenedream at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread is certainly a Rorschach test of some kind, like who I’d want to hang out with. Yikes.

I’m offended by Facebook even existing, and this doesn’t bother me. I am in the group that thinks this seems a little unreal though. Just the execution seems a little fake. Maybe it’s just a very different family than mine.
posted by bongo_x at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only on metafilter could prank photos of someone's mom dressed as Darth Vader be compared to rape.

christ on a fucking cracker.
posted by elizardbits at 10:55 AM on August 16, 2011 [42 favorites]


You're probably right, I should really lighten up. You guys leave me your keys, and one random morning you can show me how.

So even after reflection, you think that your desire to have someone you know (which I parsed as friend, given the officer's statement) killed because they pulled a prank on you is a reasonable attitude? Holy shitballs, you REALLY do need to lighten up. And your friends should be scared of you.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:55 AM on August 16, 2011


I mean, I guess it's possible that the family has both a healthy enough sense of humor to dance around in lederhosen and a profound misunderstanding of how disaffected their son truly is, but I'm thinking toxic family dynamics don't normally lead to this.

I hate to even post an example in this thread, because it's totally going to come out as if I've sat in my darkened cellar for seventeen years dwelling on this while sobbing and rocking back and forth*, but Ima give an example.

When I went away to band camp when I was fifteen, my mother completely redecorated my room while I was gone. Floor to ceiling new everything. So I came back to a whole new room, which really was something that I can, as an adult, appreciate was intended to be a thoughtful and touching gesture.

However, since my mother re-decorated in what she thought I should want (all pepto pink and unicorns) and clearly didn't spend an instant thinking about I would actually want (earth tones and blue with some funky owls if animals had to enter into it at all), it came across as a way for my mother to again as always make my life all about her and again make me feel bad for not being what she wanted as a daughter (I was never and will never be committed to Sparkle Motion).

So that incident, trivial as it is, shines a light on a repeated pattern in our interaction that illustrates how even nice things people do for you can be kind of crappy if they do them in the wrong way.

*I'm down to only doing it on alternate Tuesdays, but I still go into the vapors when confronted by a mono-horned horse.
posted by winna at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


I LOLed. My family would LOL.
posted by schyler523 at 11:01 AM on August 16, 2011


I dunno, if I were 10, or 16...I would have thought this hysterical. If I were 13, I would have been furious, and humiliated and all " I hate you people, why can't you leave me alone! Gaaaawd!" But ya know, everything got that reaction when I was 13. So, there's that.

I showed the pictures to my 8 yr old, to get his feel for it, and he said that if we did that to him; "he would laugh his heart out"...so there's one kid's reaction.
posted by dejah420 at 11:01 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I sent a facebook message to the dad (mom has it locked down so much that you can't even send her a message) so the family can make a formal statement if they want. I included a link to this thread. If they want to ignore us weird internet folk and keep on doing their fun little family things without us, that's cool, too. We'll see.
posted by phunniemee at 11:02 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I included a link to this thread.

You told them where we live? Oh god, now if we all ever go on vacation at the same time, we're going to come back to a bunch of screenshots of these people posting links to Tumblr blogs called "fuck yeah cherry pie," asking questions about which bear is best and whether their very-low-fee psychiatrist is actually licensed, and making MeTas about how Darth Vader totally never did a touchdown dance in A New Hope.

What hast thou wrought?
posted by griphus at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Me to husband: "While our daughter is away at camp, I wanted to change her bed, put up the shoes she left downstairs and make sure she turned her lights off." Husband to me: "My God, woman, you can't do that! She said to stay out of her room. It's like SHITTING on her privacy, or something like that."
posted by cherrybounce at 11:16 AM on August 16, 2011


I included a link to this thread.

Great.

Note to the parents: We're not all this mean! Even some of us with messed up childhoods thought it was funny and think you are good parents for teaching humor in your household.
posted by Big_B at 11:23 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sent a facebook message to the dad (mom has it locked down so much that you can't even send her a message) so the family can make a formal statement if they want. I included a link to this thread.

If Brandon shows up and says some something like "Hi, I'm 15 years old and I thought this was the funniest shit ever," it will make my day.

I hope you linked to them to the contact form so that they know they can get a free account.
posted by cashman at 11:25 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Only on metafilter could prank photos of someone's mom dressed as Darth Vader be compared to rape.

for your sake i pray you never mistakenly click on a link to a fark thread
posted by LogicalDash at 11:32 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, if growing up for you was rough, your family was, well, not great, and your room was the only safety you had from the insanity and, possibly, abuse? Well, then, this is like watching fucking Saw. All those people you don't really like, but are forced to be around, in the only safe shelter you have from the world. And you can't do anything about it.

If we had a "crappy upbringing" contest, I doubt I'd win, but I'd sure be in the running. I came close to killing my father to put an end to the torment. And if this had happened in my room, it wouldn't have been fun for me to know that my room had been entered while I was away (although it would be a hell of a lot better than another night of bleeding on the floor).

But I love pictures like this, because I have friends from incredible, supportive families that do funny, good-natured stuff like this to each other all of the time and everyone has a blast. And I always wanted to be in a family like that. I have never seen anyone having the kind of fun you see in this pictures in a dysfunctional family. This is not what anxiety-producing violations look like. This is "awesome sister loves Brandon like crazy and he's one lucky guy."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:36 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


I learned that lesson a looong time ago, yep.
posted by elizardbits at 11:36 AM on August 16, 2011


When I went away to band camp when I was fifteen, my mother completely redecorated my room while I was gone. Floor to ceiling new everything.

Now this is what I expect in families with strained parent-child relationships. Passive-aggressive attempts by parents to impose their will onto their children with total disregard for what their child actually wants. I assume your mother did not redecorate your room in an attempt to make you laugh.

Contrast this with Brandon's family, who took goofy pictures in their son's room to make him laugh but also took the effort to clean up their mess and leave the room as they found it.
posted by turaho at 11:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


cashman: “If Brandon shows up and says some something like ‘Hi, I'm 15 years old and I thought this was the funniest shit ever,’ it will make my day.”

The lesson his parents taught here was "it's funny to ignore what people say for the purpose of childish mockery." I hardly see why it's all okay if Brandon has actually already learned that lesson.
posted by koeselitz at 11:40 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


winna: "When I went away to band camp when I was fifteen, my mother completely redecorated my room while I was gone. Floor to ceiling new everything. So I came back to a whole new room, which really was something that I can, as an adult, appreciate was intended to be a thoughtful and touching gesture."

Oh man, I thought it was just my mom who did that! Except I didn't come back to pink and unicorns, but vivid, bright, sunshine yellow. (This was during the beginning of my all-black, neo-existentialist phase.) She got rid of all my Pink Floyd, all the punk stuff (posters, tapes, etc.) that I'd brought back from boarding school in England, my steel toed 12 holed docs...it was carnage. Everything that didn't fit her idea of what a 16yr old girl *should* be...gone. Everything was "be happy!" Smiley faces, and yellow shag carpet, and my grandmother's four poster bed replaced with a wooden daybed covered in yellow formica. Dear gods, it was horrid. I had to leave and go to university in another state, just so I could get away from the yellow.

I know, I really do know, that she was trying to help. That she was worried that I might end up a poet or some other sort of riff-raff..but good god...yellow. *shudder* To this day, I despise the color yellow.
posted by dejah420 at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hardly see why it's all okay if Brandon has actually already learned that lesson.

Okay, wait. Are you saying that if he does truly and honestly think it's funny, that he only thinks so because his parents have brainwashed him into thinking this? Because, dude, seriously. That's kind of unnecessarily intense.
posted by elizardbits at 11:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: "Oh no! It's Suck, The Fun-Lady!"

someone had to
posted by fullerine at 11:44 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you, MetaFilter. This thread was the absolute funniest thing I have EVER read on here.
posted by Kokopuff at 11:47 AM on August 16, 2011


it came across as a way for my mother to again as always make my life all about her and again make me feel bad for not being what she wanted as a daughter

This is exactly the bad vibe I get from the OP. It's not that so much that privacy was violated or even that his expressed will was defied, so much as it's all about me where me is whoever had this bright idea, most likely based on what little we know Mom.

This is what killed my relationship with my parents; they weren't at all pranksters, but they were absolutely convinced that they knew what was best for me and they were intent that I would have all the opportunities they lacked. And for a long time this was OK with me even though the occasional acquaintance observed that it was not OK. I never wanted for anything, I was even better at my studies than they generally expected, and I had absorbed their tastes to the point that we seldom disagreed. The fact that they would go ballistic if I showed up with the occasional B on a report card when our neighbors were grateful that their same-age kid could manage a C struck me as odd but it didn't often cause a problem.

Then I graduated from high school.

It gradually became obvious that they had planned out my entire life and the more my actual life departed from their cool plan, the more pressure they applied to correct the discrepancy. I don't think there was anything intentionally malicious in their actions, but they became increasingly cruel and invasive, until it became almost impossible to have a conversation with them. The day I suggested I might change my major from engineering to physics they reacted as if I'd stolen a car, kidnapped a stripper, and got her pregnant. There was no proportionality to their reactions to anything. And God help me, then I actually met a girl.

The only thing to do for it was leave. Thinking it was all for my own good they continued to stalk me, offering "help" whether I wanted it or not. They tried to block access to my childhood savings by locking away the physical CD, and when I found I could withdraw the principal anyway without it and did so they had a lawyer call me. Whereupon I told the lawyer I was an orphan, and I guess he told them that meant I had formally emancipated myself and they no longer had any rights over me.

That was a fortunate thing, because it also developed they had been fishing around my friends for evidence that might be used to have me involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. Because obviously if I didn't want to become an engineer something must be wrong with me.

So anyway 17 years after that incident I ran into them and it was obvious they no longer had the power to do anything harmful to me, so I occasionally visit them now. My wife still will not talk to them. To this day they think it was a horrible misunderstanding and cannot acknowledge that they did anything bad to me. (As if flushing my girlfriend's birth controls is just normal parental control.) And to this day their alarm code is the date that I announced I was leaving, packed the car, and drove off.

Anyway, the amount of energy put into the OP prank is very unpleasantly familiar; Brandon's personality might not be what Mom wants and they're just showing him how much fun it would be if he loosens up! It's for his own good! And the escalation from that to something much more comparable to rape is much less crazy than it might sound.

On preview ... dejah420, I feel your pain.
posted by localroger at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


OK, my story of being pranked by family.

When I was eleven, for reasons that I won't go into right now, I was placed with a foster family. Great people--much better than the situation that I'd previously been in--but as my twelfth birthday approached, I was starting to worry, because when you're a kid, you don't have to tell anyone about your birthday, it just sort of happens, and... and what if I made a point of telling them, and they kind of shrugged and said, "So what?" (It didn't help that, in the situation that I'd been in before, asking for anything was the sort of thing that not only got you shot down, but humiliated.)

So, being a big nerd and all, I somehow found out that my birthday, May 10th, was also the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, you know, when they hammered in the golden spike, and I get this brilliant idea, that I'm going to make a point of bringing this up at supper, how it's such a significant date in history and all, just to see if my foster parents respond with something like, "Well, it's your birthday, too, isn't it?" So, I bring it up at suppersometime in late April, I think... and get nothing but these blank, faintly puzzled looks from them. I start to get depressed.

May 10 dawns. No mention of birthday. None during the day. None at supper. After we're done eating, my foster father brings a hammer and a piece of wood with a nail in it to the table. He taps the nail a few times with the hammer, hands it to my foster mother, who does the same, and she hands it to me; I tap the nail a few times, no doubt with a blank, faintly puzzled look on my face.

They start singing "I've Been Working On The Railroad."

It was the best birthday surprise ever.

My cake even had a train on it. How cool is that?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [32 favorites]


So even after reflection, you think that your desire to have someone you know (which I parsed as friend, given the officer's statement) killed because they pulled a prank on you is a reasonable attitude? Holy shitballs, you REALLY do need to lighten up. And your friends should be scared of you.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:55 PM on August 16 [+] [!]


And I'M saying that if you really want me to lighten up, you should give me your keys so I can steal your car (y'know, as a harmless "prank" !) and then you can demonstrate by example what feelings I should have had in such a situation. If you don't do this, I can only surmise that you are an sociopath who doesn't care about the feelings of others, and your friends should be terrified of you, especially when you get bored.

Hey, speaking in baseless hyperbole is fun!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2011


We secretly switched Mick's regular MetaFilter with EmoFilter, let's see if he notices...
posted by Mick at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [27 favorites]


The lesson his parents taught here was "it's funny to ignore what people say for the purpose of childish mockery."

No, it's not - it's "We love and missed you so much that we spent hours directing our creative energies into staging ridiculous tableaux to fill the empty space you left in the house when you went to camp". And, as someone said earlier, "we thought of you every day"

It is a sad, dreary world that some of you live in :(
posted by Zippity Goombah at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Oh man, I thought it was just my mom who did that!

I could have hung with the yellow, dejah, but that formica would have had to go.

I am also sad that your boots were reaved away. Today when I do my biweekly sobbing while playing The Smiths in a darkened room over the sorrow and the pity that was my childhood, I will devote a few black lace-trimmed hankies of woe to your boots and their dreadful fate!
posted by winna at 11:56 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Oh no! It's Suck-the-Fun-Lady!"

Oh, Jesus. Look, not everyone who dislikes this is disliking it because they're joyless blowhards who can't take a joke. It's not that I have no sense of humor, it's that I think this is about as funny as a Ziggy cartoon, or that one joke my step-dad can sort of remember how to tell.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:56 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


what feelings I should have had in such a situation

You're still defending your feelings that shooting a friend over a prank is appropriate. Think about this. I don't care how irrationally upset you are over the temporary loss of a physical object, you are still talking about killing a friend. If it'll help you stop having these thoughts, here's my keys, be my guest. It's a small price to pay.

Moving on now.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:59 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This post wins the award for most thorough tag list.
posted by chinston at 12:00 PM on August 16, 2011


The lesson his parents taught here was "it's funny to ignore what people say for the purpose of childish mockery."

No, it's not - it's "We love and missed you so much that we spent hours directing our creative energies into staging ridiculous tableaux to fill the empty space you left in the house when you went to camp". And, as someone said earlier, "we thought of you every day"



Completely agree -- the "we miss you" is what I got from this.
posted by sweetkid at 12:01 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


The lesson his parents taught here was "it's funny to ignore what people say for the purpose of childish mockery.

Uh, yeahhhh.
posted by cashman at 12:02 PM on August 16, 2011


This post wins the award for most thorough tag list.

technically it is more of a blanket fort than a pillow fort.
posted by elizardbits at 12:02 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


localroger, I am sorry you had such a shitty childhood, but this:

Brandon's personality might not be what Mom wants and they're just showing him how much fun it would be if he loosens up!

is pure projection. Why would you assume that was Brandon's mother's (and Brandon's father's and Brandon's sisters' and Brandon's grandparents') motivation?
posted by turaho at 12:03 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


turaho: “Why would you assume that was Brandon's mother's (and Brandon's father's and Brandon's sisters' and Brandon's grandparents') motivation?”

Because that's what we're given indication of; he made a request, and they thought it'd be funny to violate it in the most flamboyant way possible. Why is it projection to judge this situation based on the only context they gave us?
posted by koeselitz at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is so full of win it's ridiculous. What I would have given to grow up in a family like this. This is what real love looks like. I'm really jealous of Brandon.

Some of you people need therapy. Badly.
posted by perilous at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is it projection to judge this situation based on the only context they gave us?

because we don't know the spirit in which the request was made.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:07 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: governed by anomie, fear, anxiety, and despair
posted by Chipmazing at 12:07 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to hear about how that joke my dad tells is a coded message about how I'm too stupid and stuck up to screw in a lightbulb. I already said I don't know, Dad. Why are you taunting me?!
posted by shakespeherian at 12:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


me: “Why is it projection to judge this situation based on the only context they gave us?”

FAMOUS MONSTER: “because we don't know the spirit in which the request was made.”

Okay. So why is it projection to assume that a request was honest?
posted by koeselitz at 12:08 PM on August 16, 2011


Why would you assume that was Brandon's mother's (and Brandon's father's and Brandon's sisters' and Brandon's grandparents') motivation?

I didn't actually have a shitty childhood; I had a shitty transition to adulthood. And it was shitty because I didn't realize what my parents' unstated motivations were.

We are here discussing this because, whether you think it's bad or good, what Brandon's family did is certainly unusual. We will all look at a thing like this from the perspective of our own experience, and all of my experience is that this indicates at best a degree of attachment that might manifest later in much less healthy ways. You ask why I'd make an assumption about motivations; I ask what other motivations are likely. The ones I am assuming are the only ones I've ever known.
posted by localroger at 12:10 PM on August 16, 2011


Assuming the worst of a situation is depressing and leads to a shitty day, JFC lighten up!
posted by Mick at 12:11 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Moving on now.

Oh thank God.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:12 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


And by the way, where most of us come from, "Stay out of my room" is an outright invitation to go into that person's room, mostly as way to teach them not to be so fucking uptight. You want privacy? Pay rent.
posted by eoden at 12:18 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Okay. So why is it projection to assume that a request was honest?

Because there are different ways a person could mean it and we have no information about it at all aside from what got said in the first image. We don't know anything about Brandon, we don't know anything about the way he said "Stay out of my room," we really don't know anything at all. If you want to assume that some terrible slight was done to him based on what you assume he meant and what you assume his family meant by putting up these images, okay fine, but since there's nothing to actually base those assumptions on, I guess I'm having a hard time seeing it as anything but projection.

From everything I can gather in the images and comments, this seems to be a lighthearted thing, not even something I'd qualify as a prank really, that was done by a family where this sort of thing doesn't appear to be off the table. I don't know, it all seems pretty fun.

I guess what I'm saying is that there's a difference between the certainty that it would be shitty and malicious if your own parents or friends did this to you (which, yeah, some people have had lives like that) and the possibility that this was all in fun for everyone, including Brandon.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:20 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


eoden: “And by the way, where most of us come from, ‘Stay out of my room’ is an outright invitation to go into that person's room, mostly as way to teach them not to be so fucking uptight. You want privacy? Pay rent.”

Yep. Sure taught that spoiled little brat, didn't we? Respect and dignity cost money, boy. Humiliation is the cost of being somebody's kid.
posted by koeselitz at 12:20 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is great, because now the world knows that Brandon's family are the kind of smirking, self-satisfied dickweasels who think it's hi-larious not only to disrespect their kin's stated wish for privacy within the family but also to demonstrate that fact for the world to see, and to act as if it were just the cutest thing evar.

Seriously: these people are utter, utter bastards for doing this.

You want privacy? Pay rent.

Are you serious? You have no right to privacy unless you're paying rent? Jesus God, that's chilling.
posted by Decani at 12:22 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, I guess we can see who in this thread had bitter, broken childhoods, can't we?

Yeah, fuck those losers, huh? Jesus.
posted by malocchio at 12:23 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Because that's what we're given indication of; he made a request, and they thought it'd be funny to violate it in the most flamboyant way possible.

DUDE, Toddler Zizzle makes requests for blueberries everyday. I often violate this request in a flamboyant and funny way because, you know what, he can't live off of blueberries alone! So I make a big fucking show about other food with song and dance numbers. And when he gets all uppity about, say, peas in his bowl instead of blueberries, I cry out, "Waily, waily, waily!" ala Nac mac feegles.

It doesn't mean I don't respect Toddler Zizzle's love for blueberries, and believe me, he gets plenty of blueberries. It just means I care enough about him to kinda force other things on him.
posted by zizzle at 12:24 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sure taught that spoiled little brat, didn't we?

What the fuck is your problem? Part of what parents do is teach lessons. And part of what families do is goof around with each other. This looks like a little of both. Stop acting butt-hurt on behalf of Brandon when you don't know shit about him.
posted by eoden at 12:25 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stop acting butt-hurt on behalf of Brandon when you don't know shit about him.

Stop saying this ought to be okay with Brandon when you don't know shit about him.
posted by Decani at 12:27 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


smirking, self-satisfied dickweasels

I feel my humanity diminished just by reading something this foul, and contemplating the misanthropy behind it.
posted by Zippity Goombah at 12:27 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


You have no right to privacy unless you're paying rent? Jesus God, that's chilling.

No, you have no right to expect perfect privacy in which your room is utterly off-limits to everyone in the house unless you pay part of the bills. This expectation of 'privacy' sounds like you have no children of your own.
posted by eoden at 12:27 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stop saying this ought to be okay with Brandon

I never said it would be. Not once. And learn to understand that "not okay" isn't the same as "horribly violated".
posted by eoden at 12:28 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fuck this thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


We don't know anything about Brandon, we don't know anything about the way he said "Stay out of my room," we really don't know anything at all.

I'm going to try one more goddamned time to nip this argument in the bud.

If personal familiarity with the people under discussion were required before one's opinion were considered legitimate, not a single comment in this thread would be taken seriously. All we can do is take what we're given in the FPP and make the assumptions we consider reasonable, then give an opinion. The only case where this isn't true is when the topic of the thread participates in it, which happens more often than usual around MetaFilter, but somehow we manage to have threads where this doesn't happen, and usually people's individual interpretations aren't so casually dismissed.

Given that all we know about Brandon is the words he said and the pictures he posted, we gave our opinions. If these opinions, to your standards, are insufficiently informed, there is nothing of value for you here. The thread is null. Any opinion you might have is null, because you don't know this family either.

On the other hand, I think it's perfectly fine to give opinions based on whatever tiny sliver of information one has, provided that one is ready and willing to change that opinion as new information presents itself. I have done this. I no longer think of this as a cruel prank. I still think the presentation made it out as one, and I'd like the OP to think a little harder about the framing in the future.

Forming opinions about people based on the literal dictionary definitions of the words that they said is the default way of forming opinions on people you don't know. It's happening in this thread. People assumed I had a bad childhood because of the stance I took. That's not altogether unreasonable, just wrong, so I corrected them. It is likewise reasonable given the scant evidence in the FPP to assume that the kid's family was bullying him stylishly.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:31 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, you have no right to expect perfect privacy in which your room is utterly off-limits to everyone in the house unless you pay part of the bills. This expectation of 'privacy' sounds like you have no children of your own.
posted by eoden at 8:27 PM on August 16


Nice move of the goalposts, there. Why, it's almost like you thought sneaking in that word "perfect" would go unnoticed, and, having done that, "non-perfect priviacy" could readily be equated with "total disregard for an expressed wish for privacy coupled with mockery/humiliation instead."

Smooth.
posted by Decani at 12:31 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


(ok brandon didn't post these pictures i wrote that wrong)
posted by LogicalDash at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2011


Yep, definitely not a parent. Daren't vacuum that room! Johnny might wet his pants when he finds out!!
posted by eoden at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2011


koeselitz, localroger, et al: Your reading of these pictures is possibly the least charitable take you could have on them. There are plenty of people who have offered a positive (and what I assume is the most likely) reading--these pictures are playful and were done out of love in a way that Brandon would appreciate.

I think it is offensive that you would ascribe horrible motivations on people you don't know solely because their family dynamic differs from the situation you were exposed to.

I think it is sad (not in the pathetic sense, but in the I wish it wasn't that way sense) that you cannot accept that the positive reading is even possible.
posted by turaho at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


koeselitz, I'm really baffled by your inability to imagine all kinds of different spirits in which someone might say, "Stay outta my room" to a family member, many of which would leave no doubt in the mind of anyone in the family that a prank like this would be welcome and enjoyed by Brandon.

When my family gets into tickle fights, I put on a frowny face and say things like, "Better not try that with me!" "It's a good thing I'm not ticklish!" Believe me, it's not Stockholm Syndrome that makes me laugh when they all gang up and start tickling me.
posted by straight at 12:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Count me among those who thought this was awesome and done in a spirit of loving family fun. I think this thread could use more hilarious anecdotes and less vicious interpersonal sniping so....we once did something mildly similar in university. My boyfriend at the time had a housemate with this set of olde schoole blue pyjamas (the "blue suit") that he wore to sleep. Said housemate was a wonderful and much-liked guy, but very quiet, studious and usually uninvolved in the regular household shenanigans and drunken revelry. A group of us managed to steal the blue suit and proceeded to stage photos of it in unnatural habitats. The suit went to the movies, the clubs, to class, and starred in some very mildly naughty dress-up tableaux involving garter belts, exercise bicycles, and bananas. The look on the housemate's face when we gave him back the suit and accompanying photo album was priceless. He was pretty flattered that we'd gone to so much trouble (this was pre-digital camera). Great bonding experience for all involved, and lots of fun.
posted by Go Banana at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


So much baggage on display here.

None of you have any insider knowledge to whether he would be amused or traumatized by this prank. You don't have all the facts, and as such all of your accusations and assertions are merely assumptions, no matter how strongly or angrily you word them or how staunchly you defend them.

None of you have the right to claim the moral high ground here.
posted by zarq at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yep, definitely not a parent. Daren't vacuum that room! Johnny might wet his pants when he finds out!!
posted by eoden at 8:32 PM on August 16


Okay, let's pursue this. No, I am not a biological parent. I am a step-parent. When I became a step-parent, the youngest of the three step-children was seven years old. If you believe that this situation invalidates my opinion on this matter in some way I'm going to request you spell out exactly how, rather than imagining that cheap sarcasm will do the job for you. Because it won't.
posted by Decani at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011


Why, I remember the time my mother put a fresh load of socks in my dresser drawer while I was in another room. She didn't ask my permission, and THAT'S why she ended up buried in the crawlspace.

Privacy violation!
posted by eoden at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stop saying this ought to be okay with Brandon when you don't know shit about him.

The burden of proof would be on the people claiming his family did something wrong, if this were a situation where the whole idea of passing judgment on them based on so little data wasn't completely ridiculous.
posted by straight at 12:36 PM on August 16, 2011


Hey, zarq, show me exactly where I claimed how Brandon felt.

Go on; I'll wait.
posted by eoden at 12:36 PM on August 16, 2011


I think it is offensive that you would ascribe horrible motivations on people you don't know solely because their family dynamic differs from the situation you were exposed to.

I maintain that violating a person's explicitly stated boundaries is still bad when you do it with the best of motivations. Perhaps these pictures were funny enough that Brandon forgave that transgression; circumstantial evidence suggests this.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:37 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why, I remember the time my mother put a fresh load of socks in my dresser drawer while I was in another room. She didn't ask my permission, and THAT'S why she ended up buried in the crawlspace.

Privacy violation!
posted by eoden at 8:35 PM on August 16


Reductio ad absurdum isn't going to cut it either. Are you going to try to address this seriously or am I going to have to start assuming you're just trolling?
posted by Decani at 12:37 PM on August 16, 2011


No, Decani, here's my problem with your concept of 'privacy': when that seven-year-old said not to go in his/her room at that age, did you listen? Did you honor the wishes of the sovereign entity that is a seven-year-old?

If not, why not? If so, from where did you get the idea that children are 100% in charge of their lives?
posted by eoden at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2011


eoden: "Hey, zarq, show me exactly where I claimed how Brandon felt.

Go on; I'll wait.


Keep waiting.

Hey, did I quote you directly? Refer to you by name? Did I mention you personally in any way?

Go ahead and reread my comment.

No, I didn't.

I made a comment which was directed to the thread in general.

Stop being so defensive.
posted by zarq at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Believe me, it's not Stockholm Syndrome that makes me laugh when they all gang up and start tickling me.

When I got tickled, it wasn't enjoyment or Stockholm syndrome that made me laugh, it was a very unpleasant physical reaction. I trained myself to automatically kick anyone who tickled me -- "Did I hurt you? Sorry! Can't help it! Don't tickle me next time!" -- and it worked over time (though I still kick people who tickle me, because I cannot get rid of this reaction), but it is hard to convince people that you despise being tickled because, hey, you're laughing.
posted by jeather at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


am I going to have to start assuming you're just trolling?

Says the fellow who shit in the thread about a harmless prank. Hm.
posted by eoden at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2011


...that the kid's family was bullying him stylishly

Truly, le mot juste. This is exactly what I think this is, and the reason I think that is that based on my own experience it is the most believable explanation for why they went to all the trouble to do it at all.
posted by localroger at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The burden of proof would be on the people claiming his family did something wrong,
posted by straight at 8:36 PM on


I think the burden of proof is on those claiming that ignoring a person's stated wish and then mocking them for it publicly is okay. The reason I think that is I generally feel that behaving in that way is not moral. I think that society's mores and laws tend to reflect that position too.
posted by Decani at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


straight: “koeselitz, I'm really baffled by your inability to imagine all kinds of different spirits in which someone might say, "Stay outta my room" to a family member, many of which would leave no doubt in the mind of anyone in the family that a prank like this would be welcome and enjoyed by Brandon.”

I can think of a lot of situations in which people might say "no" and mean "yes."

I still tend to believe that it's natural for people to assume that "no" means "no."
posted by koeselitz at 12:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


LogicalDash: "I maintain that violating a person's explicitly stated boundaries is still bad when you do it with the best of motivations. Perhaps these pictures were funny enough that Brandon forgave that transgression; circumstantial evidence suggests this."

Dude, the point people are trying to make to you is that you don't know if Brandon was stating an explicit boundary or making a "Why I Oughta...." jokey threat. You have absolutely nothing to lose by making a charitable assumption that it was the second one and the his family were jokingly replying in kind.

Seriously, why do you have to assume the worst of these smiling internet strangers?
posted by minifigs at 12:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is only one thing that can be said about this family that is absolutely, without a doubt, factual

They have awesome dogs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on August 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


I can think of a lot of situations in which people might say "no" and mean "yes."

I still tend to believe that it's natural for people to assume that "no" means "no."


Can you think of a situation in which a child does not have the right to dictate the rules of the house?
posted by eoden at 12:43 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "There is only one thing that can be said about this family that is absolutely, without a doubt, factual

They have awesome dogs.
"

This is true.
posted by zarq at 12:44 PM on August 16, 2011


Localroger, that is entirely the problem, you are limited by your own experiences. Good grief people, this is awesome.

Let's review the evidence:

1. These people are cool enough to be reading mefi's own mothershock's book.

2. Brandon has approved the dissemination of the pictures.

3. Lying around in their house they have; lightsabers, toy story characters, remote control planes, tequila, Grand Theft Auto, and lederhosen...

This is clearly a great family and extended family. Sure it is possible to imagine contexts in which this would be a bad idea, but everything points to this being wonderful. Happy families do exist, and this one is not only happy but hilarious.
posted by pseudonick at 12:44 PM on August 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


Unless the dogs are putting on an act for the camera.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still tend to believe that it's natural for people to assume that "no" means "no."

If they're talking to you, yes. If they're talking to members of their family, you need a little more info and context before you burst in the door yelling, "I'LL SAVE YOU! HANDS OFF THAT LAD'S ROOM YOU RUFFIANS!"
posted by straight at 12:44 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


They have awesome dogs.

They can't be truly awesome, or they wouldn't have been complicit in this hideous betrayal of Brandon's trust.
posted by Zippity Goombah at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [28 favorites]


They have awesome dogs.

Indeed. One of them can even drive you to McDonald's when you're hammered on Patron
posted by IanMorr at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, Decani, here's my problem with your concept of 'privacy': when that seven-year-old said not to go in his/her room at that age, did you listen? Did you honor the wishes of the sovereign entity that is a seven-year-old?

If not, why not? If so, from where did you get the idea that children are 100% in charge of their lives?
posted by eoden at 8:39 PM on August 16


Did I listen? Yes, if there was no good reason not to. Now you tell me this. Let's say there is a good reason to ignore that seven-year-old child's wish and enter the room. Would you say that doing what these people did constituted a good reason?

Now, where did you get the idea that I said that children are "100% in charge of their lives"? Because that looks like the fattest, rottenest straw man I've seen in quite a while, and if you want this exchange to stay respectful that sort of crap does not help. Okay?
posted by Decani at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2011


I mean seriously, there's no dog hair visible in the photos! You KNOW how dogs are. If the family lied about that, then dammit, what else are they hiding?!

I bet there's a cat involved in this somehow too. Smells like cat antics.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:47 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who do you think took the photos?
posted by minifigs at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


.

[That's for this thread]
posted by ob at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


eoden: “Can you think of a situation in which a child does not have the right to dictate the rules of the house?”

Since you've made accusations about who has and who has not been a parent here, I'll say this: you're speaking from the perspective of someone who's only parented very young children.

Yes, when a three-year-old demands candy, you can't just always give them candy.

But as kids grow older, they get to the point where they can make their own requests. And they get to the point where it's worth teaching them about dignity, about respect, about privacy, by affording them these things and demanding that they have respect for others as well. As I said above, respect does not mean doing everything they ask you to do. Respect means hearing their requests out and saying yes or no in a clear way, and giving them reasons, even if those reasons are firm and set in stone.

Do you really believe that these aren't lessons kids should learn? Seriously?
posted by koeselitz at 12:49 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is like seeing pictures of a Marty, Ann, and little Joey at the zoo, with Marty holding little Joey up to look at the monkeys, and assuming that Joey (whose face is toward the monkeys) is screaming in terror.
posted by pseudonick at 12:49 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Repeating how above it all you really are doesn't make you sound more respectful, so stop with the posturing.

Children are not in charge of the house. They don't set the rules; they don't set the boundaries. if you operate as if they are, then good for you. If I tell my children what to do or how to act or to clean their rooms or if I dare walk into their rooms, that doesn't make me a bully or a dictator; it makes me a parent. Therefore, NO, the child does not have the right to dictate whether anyone stays out of their room unless the parents agree otherwise. In this particular case (which you see as a violation) the parents exercised their rights as parents and played a little goofy joke on their kid. I'm sorry you don't understand the nature of their relationship or the attitudes or personalities involved (certainly not that I do), because then you might find out other people do things differently from the way you do them... and given your reaction, you might be forced to agree there's nothing to get up in arms about.
posted by eoden at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a broad spectrum from absolute privacy to absolute invasiveness. Kids expecting absolute privacy have unrealistic expectations, absolutely. Kids expecting a degree of privacy, not so much. "Never enter my room, under any conditions" is an unrealistic request; "stay out of my room while I'm gone" is more in the realm of the reasonable, assuming the kid doesn't have a recent history of leaving smoldering fires in his bin.

On the flip side, going into a kid's room to check for dirty dishes bucking for a molding, or to feed their fish, or to vacuum their floor or grab their laundry because they didn't clean up? This is normal, unindictable parent stuff. Making a point of being in and messing around in a kid's room just to prove that they have no right to privacy is a lot more complicated.

And that's kind of the key thing that makes "how dare you vacuum my room" not make much sense as a counterpoint to the idea that kids might expect some amount of privacy. Unrealistic absolute dictums aren't the same thing as realistic bids for a modicum of control over one's living environment.

That's generally speaking; I don't know what Brandon and his family's situation is and I'm fine assuming, if only for my own good mood and in the absence of evidence, that this was harmless in his eyes and something everybody was on board with.
posted by cortex at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who do you think took the photos?

I wish Michael Bay had. Nothing says love like an exploding blanket fort.

You're speaking from the perspective of someone who's only parented very young children.

*whips out parenting badge*

What seems to be the problem here son?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2011


you're speaking from the perspective of someone who's only parented very young children.

I have two teenaged boys.

they get to the point where they can make their own requests.

Which I listen to, but do not always grant.

Respect means hearing their requests out and saying yes or no in a clear way, and giving them reasons, even if those reasons are firm and set in stone.

As reasonable as you think that sounds, you're forgetting one fact: as the parent, you don't have to give them a reason. And they have to adjust. You don't need to be a dick about it; but if you're honestly telling me I have to provide a finely-outlined justification for my every decision when I have a track record of being a fair parent already... then, PUH-LEASE. You're grumping just to grump at this point.
posted by eoden at 12:54 PM on August 16, 2011


This would have been so much more intense if it had been just photo after photo of the family grimly standing in a messy dark lower class room with wood paneling, staring spitefully and deadeyed at the camera as if to say: Fuck you Brandon. We all hate you and your life will never amount to anything and your intentions are as the ice on the edge of the roof...always sliding into the abyss. See you next week!

I guess we can tell who grew up in a Dostoevsky novel huh?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:54 PM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm just stunned at how negative this has all become. I really, really don't see anything humiliating in those pictures-- no snooping or irreversible damage. No waving of pee stained underpants or other embarrassing personal items. All the "humiliation" and "bullying" comes down to being in his room when he asked them not to.

So I am curious. Out of all of you who were kids and/or have kids now, how many of you think that a kid's bedroom is strictly out of bounds during the two weeks he was away at camp?

I ask because it never would have crossed my mind that my childhood bedroom was off limits. My mother never even bothered knocking before she barged in. That irritated me to no end, not because I was ever doing anything embarrassing but because I was usually deep into reading a book and I startle easily. So when I had a daughter I always knocked. However I never considered for a moment that her room was "off-limits" while she was gone. If she had gone away to camp, at the very least her room would have been aired out, dusted, and the sheets changed. But then again my bedroom was never off limits to her.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:54 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, but Secret Life of Gravy, that makes you a monster! You've scarred the child! SCARRED.
posted by eoden at 12:56 PM on August 16, 2011


So I am curious. Out of all of you who were kids and/or have kids now, how many of you think that a kid's bedroom is strictly out of bounds during the two weeks he was away at camp?

It totally is unless you're doing something as funny as this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 PM on August 16, 2011


I guess we can tell who grew up in a Dostoevsky novel huh?

Oh, Potomac Avenue. Don't you never go changin'.
posted by eoden at 12:56 PM on August 16, 2011


Look: if they ain't cryin', you ain't parentin'.
posted by eoden at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2011


eoden, your last post didn't address the substance of either my or koeselitz's recent posts.

We are not disagreeing that kids do not have absolute rights to privacy. Koeselitz is saying (amongst other good things) that you grant kids increasing rights as they get older, as part of the parenting/nurturing process. I am saying that there is a very, very big difference between ignoring your seven-year old kid's request that you stay out of her room in order to re-stock her laundry drawer and not only ignoring a much older kid's request that you stay out of his room just while he's on holiday but taking it as an opportunity to royally fuck around with him and post it on the internet.

Okay?
posted by Decani at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2011


That was a joke.
posted by eoden at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2011


It doesn't matter whether Brandon said he's OK with this; as I pointed out upthread he really has no choice even if he's not OK with it. And that's part of my problem with it. This very much is about issues of power and control, and the fact that it's done so stylishly and cleverly is simply part of the handle that makes it so powerful.

Look, I have seen my own parents morph from my best friends to alien monsters willing to destroy me if I didn't bend to their will in a couple of years. It took me by surprise because, as I finally realized, there were hidden motivations that I had taken for granted. I don't take hidden motivations for granted any more and that has saved my ass several times in the intervening years.
posted by localroger at 12:58 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Decani: read my post here again. You seem to be missing it.
posted by eoden at 12:58 PM on August 16, 2011


no snooping or irreversible damage.

Does the damage have to be irreversible before public humiliation becomes not okay?
posted by Decani at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2011


Secret Life of Gravy: “So I am curious. Out of all of you who were kids and/or have kids now, how many of you think that a kid's bedroom is strictly out of bounds during the two weeks he was away at camp?”

Going into a kid's bedroom? Yeah, maybe not a big deal.

Going into a kid's bedroom, taking pictures of the kid's bedroom, and then plastering them all over the internet?

That's where it gets questionable.
posted by koeselitz at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jokes are for the dead...and the damned.
At night the ice weasels come...
*hides in closet*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


address the substance of either my or koeselitz's recent posts

There was nothing to address.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


At what point does "It's okay to tell everyone" become "public humiliation"?
posted by eoden at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Decani: "Does the damage have to be irreversible before public humiliation becomes not okay?"

I'm having trouble seeing what, exactly, is supposed to be humiliating about this.
posted by minifigs at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Decani: read my post here again. You seem to be missing it.
posted by eoden at 8:58 PM on August 16 [+] [!]


I read everything you posted here, eoden. Including that one. It in no way deals with the issues I have with your stance.
posted by Decani at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011


At night the ice weasels come...

WELL THANKS FOR THE NIGHTMARES, POTOMAC AVENUE.

Jeez!
posted by eoden at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011


youre all going to feel weird when this turns out to be viral marketing for Barack Obama.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It in no way deals with the issues I have with your stance.

Your issues with my stance? My stance is: privacy isn't perfect, not when you are the child. Your stance is: YEAH-HUH IT IS.
posted by eoden at 1:01 PM on August 16, 2011


youre all going to feel weird when this turns out to be viral marketing for Barack Obama.

You're a viral marketing for Barack Obama.

In your FACE.
posted by eoden at 1:02 PM on August 16, 2011


I said "stay out of my room" plenty of times as a teenager, but I always meant it as "don't go snooping through my stuff in an attempt to find my old Playboys and horrible poetry" and not "don't call Grandma and Grandpa over to dance around my room in lederhosen for some goofy pictures".

Actually, for as many times as I said "stay out of my room" as a teenager, I would have been thrilled if my family had done something like this. Because that would mean they could relate to me on a loving, humorous level instead of treating me like some alien from outer space that they couldn't figure out how to communicate with.

The fact that Brandon's family would do something like this tells you everything you need to know about them as a family.
posted by turaho at 1:03 PM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm having trouble seeing what, exactly, is supposed to be humiliating about this.
posted by minifigs at 9:00 PM on August 16


You're having trouble seeing what could be humiliating - for a young person - about haveing the following made public on the internet?

1. The fact that you said "Stay out of my room while I'm on holiday" to your family.

2. The fact that your family not only chose to ignore this, but made an extended series of visual "jokes" about the fact that they ignored it, and then published them where anyone in the world with internet access might see them, and basically said "Look how we ignored him and took the piss out of his pathetic request for privacy, LOL".

You don't see how a young person might find that humiliating? At all?

Okay. I don't really know what else I could say to you about that.
posted by Decani at 1:03 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


 _      ____  _         ____  __  __  _____ 
| |    / __ \| |       / __ \|  \/  |/ ____|
| |   | |  | | |      | |  | | \  / | |  __ 
| |   | |  | | |      | |  | | |\/| | | |_ |
| |___| |__| | |____  | |__| | |  | | |__| |
|______\____/|______|  \____/|_|  |_|\_____|
 

posted by everichon at 1:03 PM on August 16, 2011


Does the damage have to be irreversible before public humiliation becomes not
okay?


I meant irreversible damage to the contents of the room or the room itself.

I guess there is just going to be a vast divide between those of us who look on these pictures and see joyous hijinks and those of us who look at them and see bullying. I don't think we will be able to agree with each other's point of view-- it's just too vast a divide.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:04 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that Brandon's family would do something like this tells you everything you need to know about them as a family.
posted by turaho at 9:03 PM on August 16


It sure does.
posted by Decani at 1:04 PM on August 16, 2011


Your issues with my stance? My stance is: privacy isn't perfect, not when you are the child. Your stance is: YEAH-HUH IT IS.
posted by eoden at 9:01 PM on August 16


Okay, I'm done with you and your blatant straw men. Life's too short.
posted by Decani at 1:06 PM on August 16, 2011


I said "stay out of my room" plenty of times as a teenager, but I always meant it as "don't go snooping through my stuff in an attempt to find my old Playboys and horrible poetry" and not "don't call Grandma and Grandpa over to dance around my room in lederhosen for some goofy pictures".

I'd LOVE to see the family in which "stay out my room" specifically meant "don't call Grandma and Grandpa over to dance around my room in lederhosen for some goofy pictures".

But then again, i'm a rotten parent.
posted by eoden at 1:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


your blatant straw men

Accusing Brandon's parents of bullying him is both blatant and more than a little straw mannish. Sooo... y'okay.
posted by eoden at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're having trouble seeing what could be humiliating - for a young person - about haveing the following made public on the internet?

It's not clear that his family did that. The photos are available to be seen only by FaceBook users. Someone else copied the photos from there, posted them to Failbook, where they were linked on MetaFilter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2011


Decani: " 1. The fact that you said "Stay out of my room while I'm on holiday" to your family.

You're assuming that he meant it seriously and that his parents the chose to ignore this. Why are you the assuming the worst of these people?

2. The fact that your family not only chose to ignore this, but made an extended series of visual "jokes" about the fact that they ignored it, and then published them where anyone in the world with internet access might see them, and basically said "Look how we ignored him and took the piss out of his pathetic request for privacy, LOL".

You don't see how a young person might find that humiliating? At all?
"

Why are you assuming the worst of these people?

I would have thought it was awesome, honestly.
posted by minifigs at 1:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It doesn't matter whether Brandon said he's OK with this

So, when he says "don't go in my room," that's totally honest and serious and A THING WE SHOULD RESPECT AT ALL COSTS, but if he says he's OK with it, suddenly his feelings are invalid and wrong? And that clearly he must be lying just to save face?

That is the most unrealistic and ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Make up your mind.

This thread is like the part in Old Yeller when the kid has to go out back and shoot his dog. They lure you in with the "YAY PUPPIES ARE AWESOME EVERYONE LIKES PUPPIES" and before you know it it's "I AM TAKING A DUMP ON YOUR CHILDHOOD."
posted by phunniemee at 1:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


"Look how we ignored him and took the piss out of his pathetic request for privacy, LOL".

Again, I'm amazed that people think the humor comes from ridiculing and demeaning their son. It's not and the fact that you would ascribe that motivation to someone is seriously fucked up.
posted by turaho at 1:09 PM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


oh my god you guys

this thread
posted by elizardbits at 1:10 PM on August 16, 2011 [17 favorites]


Please don't make jokes about people pooping on kids-- as a child I once fell into a portapottie hole when my favorite movie star was in town and I crawled out and saved his picture and then he signed it and later I won a million dollars even though the talk show host was bullying me.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:11 PM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


You're having trouble seeing what could be humiliating - for a young person - about haveing the following made public on the internet?

1. The fact that you said "Stay out of my room while I'm on holiday" to your family.

2. The fact that your family not only chose to ignore this, but made an extended series of visual "jokes" about the fact that they ignored it, and then published them where anyone in the world with internet access might see them, and basically said "Look how we ignored him and took the piss out of his pathetic request for privacy, LOL".

You don't see how a young person might find that humiliating? At all?

Okay. I don't really know what else I could say to you about that.


Did you miss the part about him giving permission to share all of this?
posted by Big_B at 1:13 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed that people think the humor comes from ridiculing and demeaning their son.

As darksasami posted upthread, "If there had been no boundary violation, there would have been no humor. That's how humor works." Consider this post with the first slide about Brandon's request removed. Would these photos still be funny? Would they make any sense? We are only talking about this at all because they decided to not do what Brandon asked in the most flamboyant way possible.

I have experienced the velvet covered iron fist of "love" so total that it cares more about something other than my stated desire, and I am not cool with it.
posted by localroger at 1:13 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Big_B: " Did you miss the part about him giving permission to share all of this?"

Um... I did. Where/When was that?
posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on August 16, 2011


minifigs: “You're assuming that he meant it seriously and that his parents the chose to ignore this. Why are you the assuming the worst of these people?... Why are you assuming the worst of these people?”

I have never met a teenager who said "please stay out of my room" and didn't mean it. eoden's whole "he meant it, and they did the right thing by teaching him a lesson about not being uptight" argument makes more sense than assuming that Brandon said the exact opposite of what he actually meant.
posted by koeselitz at 1:15 PM on August 16, 2011


phunniemee: "So, when he says "don't go in my room," that's totally honest and serious and A THING WE SHOULD RESPECT AT ALL COSTS, but if he says he's OK with it, suddenly his feelings are invalid and wrong? And that clearly he must be lying just to save face?

That is the most unrealistic and ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Make up your mind.


My family had its moments of awfulness, but this was an awesome series and I loved it. I thought it showed a group of folks who care about each other but also know how to have a lot of fun with each other.

But because people are projecting so damned hard, even if Brandon himself were to come in here and say "My family is crazy, I loved it and laughed my pants off!", they'd probably dismiss him and keep on ranting. They don't want to use this thread to discuss this family and these photos, but rather to discuss their own families and histories. A shame: hilarious photos!
posted by barnacles at 1:15 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Would these photos still be funny?

Yes actually.

Would they make any sense?

Not really but yes they still would have been funny. They are funny because they are well composed and overthetop and OMG NOW IM SERIOUSLY DISCUSSING THIS MADE UP ISSUE TOO DAMMIT
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:16 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


"If there had been no boundary violation, there would have been no humor. That's how humor works."

If you don't think the Lady and the Tramp photo or the McDonald's one wouldn't be funny without boundary crossing, I'll thank you not to try to explain to me how humor works.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:16 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: "I have never met a teenager who said "please stay out of my room" and didn't mean it. "

You've never met a well-adjusted teenager who was aware of the stereotypes about teenagers and made jokes about it? Really?
posted by minifigs at 1:18 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


" Did you miss the part about him giving permission to share all of this?"

zarq: "Um... I did. Where/When was that?"

One of the commenters asks for permission to share, and the mom replys, "go ahead...I even asked Bran and he gave me the ok."
posted by Big_B at 1:19 PM on August 16, 2011


But clearly the "I even asked Bran" implies she had no intention to get his approval and is an evil mother.

/hamburger
posted by Big_B at 1:20 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of the commenters asks for permission to share, and the mom replys, "go ahead...I even asked Bran and he gave me the ok."

Nooo! Now my horrible verb conjugation is being replicated for all the world to see. TWICE. The shame, the shame.
posted by phunniemee at 1:21 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, I guess now it's three times. Damn.
posted by phunniemee at 1:22 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's ok this thread is so full of replys nobody will notice.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:22 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


And as I posted upthread, even if Brandon was not cool with the gag by the time he was asked about sharing there was no upside for him to complain about it; the pictures have been taken, the violation has been done, and making his family sad over it just drags the whole thing out.

So yes, I think it is very reasonable that he meant it when he said stay out, and he didn't mean it when he said he was OK with this. This feels right according to all of my experience, and the reverse feels like a lost episode of Pleasantville.
posted by localroger at 1:24 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Big_B: "One of the commenters asks for permission to share, and the mom replys, "go ahead...I even asked Bran and he gave me the ok.""

Seriously?

Seriously?

THAT WAS LIKE 200+ COMMENTS AGO.

Did no one notice?
posted by zarq at 1:24 PM on August 16, 2011


Wait. She calls him Bran!?!?!?
Gawd what a horrible mother.
posted by Floydd at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2011


localroger: "And as I posted upthread, even if Brandon was not cool with the gag by the time he was asked about sharing there was no upside for him to complain about it; the pictures have been taken, the violation has been done, and making his family sad over it just drags the whole thing out."

I'd pound my head against the desk but I already have a concussion. So I suggest you just imagine me doing so.
posted by zarq at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, this thread went a direction I didn't expect. I kinda wish someone upstream hadn't pinged the parents to the thread.
posted by dejah420 at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm really baffled by how many people think "stay out of my room" literally means, "do not step foot in my room for any reason whatsoever, or else it's a gross violation of my privacy and autonomy." I always took it as a given that if me or my brother said "stay out of my room," we meant, "don't snoop around in my stuff, redecorate, or borrow/take something without asking."

In general, it's kind of impractical to ask everyone in the household to stay out of your room when you're a kid/teenager. You know your parents are going to be in and out vacuuming, cleaning, putting clothes/toys/books away, changing sheets, opening/closing windows, etc.
posted by yasaman at 1:26 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyone who seriously refers to this incident as a "violation" seems to have sort of issues they need to work out on their own, not here in the Blue.
posted by eoden at 1:26 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


In general, it's kind of impractical to ask everyone in the household to stay out of your room when you're a kid/teenager. You know your parents are going to be in and out vacuuming, cleaning, putting clothes/toys/books away, changing sheets, opening/closing windows, etc.

also, didn't we get the clarification that the "stay out of my room" was only directed at THE SISTER, which meant that it was okay for the parents and other people?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:28 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


eoden's whole "he meant it, and they did the right thing by teaching him a lesson about not being uptight"

No, my argument is It doesn't matter if he meant it.

Also, since we're saying things about me that aren't true, let's add I advocate beating children, giving drugs to children, and OOH ALMOST FORGOT selling children so one can get that PS3 they've been eyeing.
posted by eoden at 1:30 PM on August 16, 2011


Brandon probably doesn't want any people from MetaFilter going in his room now, that's for sure.
posted by chinston at 1:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


THAT WAS LIKE 200+ COMMENTS AGO.

Did no one notice?


Yes, and it was suggested that he only thinks it's funny because his parents have programmed him to believe that such terrible things are amusing.
posted by elizardbits at 1:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


zarq: “Did no one notice?”

I think we all did. Startlingly, we seem to still stand by our positions. It's almost as though we've thought this out.
posted by koeselitz at 1:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think we will be able to agree with each other's point of view-- it's just too vast

Touched
You say that I am too
So much of what you say is true

I'll never find someone
Quite like you
Again
I'll never find someone
Quite like you

The razors and the dying roses
Plead I don't leave you alone
The demi-gods and
Hungry ghosts
God, god knows I'm not at home

I looked into your eyes and
Saw a world that does not exist
I looked into your eyes and
Saw a world I wish I was in

I'll never find someone
Quite as touched as you
I'll never love someone
Quite the way
That I loved you
posted by cashman at 1:32 PM on August 16, 2011


How do babbys not get jokes?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:32 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: " I think we all did. Startlingly, we seem to still stand by our positions. It's almost as though we've thought this out."

I beg to differ.
posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]



Wait. She calls him Bran!?!?!?

HODOR?
posted by futz at 1:37 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


In the group home I spent high school at, one of my roommates kept trying to run away, so they took the door off the bathroom, so they could watch him 24x7. I would have killed for this kind of 'violation' instead.
posted by No1UKnow at 1:37 PM on August 16, 2011


I beg to differ.

No, I think everyone has thought about it. Oddly enough no one here is Brandon, or even knows him, so really their thoughts on it mean all of jack and shit. Because, really, they have no idea what goes through other peoples minds.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:38 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


They changed nothing.

They moved nothing.

They broke nothing.

He wasn't in any of the photos.

But it's... a violation. Yeah-huh.
posted by eoden at 1:39 PM on August 16, 2011


I was going to skip this thread because the pics speak for themselves and I THOUGHT there was nothing really to say other than "lol". But, to quote:

oh my god you guys

this thread

posted by GuyZero at 1:40 PM on August 16, 2011


Do you know who else disobeyed the edict: "Stay our of my room"?
posted by ob at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's almost as though we've thought this out

What, how to take an innocuous, heartwarming thread and turn it into a 400-comment trollfest?

Advice to the family, if you're reading this mess -- close the browser, back away from the computer, forget you turned over this maggoty log and go back to doing what you do. You've got it right.
posted by Zippity Goombah at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


elizardbits: " Yes, and it was suggested that he only thinks it's funny because his parents have programmed him to believe that such terrible things are amusing."

Have we checked the photos for pods yet? We should check for pods.
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Note: These parents aren't YOUR parents.

How do you know? Maybe the reason he told them to stay out of his room was because things like this make him very uncomfortable.

Stop.

Fucking.

Projecting.


You're both projecting.
posted by atbash at 1:42 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do you know who else disobeyed the edict: "Stay our of my room"?

Yeah, but he was told to stay out of the lebensraum.
posted by eoden at 1:42 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This would have been so much more intense if it had been just photo after photo of the family grimly standing in a messy dark lower class room with wood paneling, staring spitefully and deadeyed at the camera as if to say: Fuck you Brandon. We all hate you and your life will never amount to anything and your intentions are as the ice on the edge of the roof...always sliding into the abyss. See you next week!

I guess we can tell who grew up in a Dostoevsky novel huh?


Paradoxically, I would have found this way more funny. Bonus points if they had that "artistic grime" look that indicates the poor folk in Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals!

Poor Uncle Vanya.
posted by winna at 1:42 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


So let me get this straight --

There's an FPP about four Guatemalan kids deliberately infected with syphillis, and only 20 people weigh in about that.

Then there's an FPP about an American kid whose family danced in his room, and over four hundred people weigh in about that.

I wonder what that says about all of our priorities.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on August 16, 2011 [18 favorites]


I saw this last night on reddit, so I checked out the comments to see how their discussion went. 1500 comments basically boil down to:

What a nice room
Ugh. Facebook
My parents read my diary/ took my door off/ had me arrested
The mom is sexy
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:43 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


And what about YOUR childhood, SECRET LIFE of Gravy?

Don't think I didn't notice.
posted by eoden at 1:46 PM on August 16, 2011


I wonder what that says about all of our priorities.

It says we find empathizing with first world problems we've had experience with to be way easier?
posted by atbash at 1:47 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder what that says about all of our priorities.

You figure deliberatly infecting kids with syphillis is something metafilter should argue over? I would hope we're mostly on the same page about that sort of thing.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Considering that the incidence of teen suicide in Japan is double that of the US for boys and triple for girls, this might not be such a good example.

Too bad that's not true:

Japan teen suicide rates: 8.8 for males, 3.8 for females

USA teen suicide rates: 13.0 for males, 2.7 for females
posted by melissam at 1:54 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


You figure deliberatly infecting kids with syphillis is something metafilter should argue over?

no, and that's why I didn't say "only 20 people argued over that". I said "weight in about".

I also assume we're on the same page about that sort of thing, but I did hope that more than only 20 people gave enough of a shit to comment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:54 PM on August 16, 2011


I'm projecting.

You're projecting.

Everyone's projecting!

It's like a crazy new dance move all the kids are doing these days.

Except Brandon, he obviously doesn't like dancing. Or anybody who dances near him. Or in his space, vis-a-vis his bedroom. AMIRITE?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:55 PM on August 16, 2011


I also assume we're on the same page about that sort of thing, but I did hope that more than only 20 people gave enough of a shit to comment.

Honestly, that's not an argument to have in this thread. Odd as it seems to be trying to keep this thread from going off the rails, I suppose. What it means when a post does or doesn't get a lot of comments is complicated, but vaguely condemnatory commentary about people's failure to comment in a different thread than this one aren't going to improve this thread or that one.
posted by cortex at 1:57 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I also assume we're on the same page about that sort of thing, but I did hope that more than only 20 people gave enough of a shit to comment.

The difference between the two threads is that while there are plenty of differing opinions in this thread, one would hope that this level of "is it right or wrong" debate would not happen in the syphilis one.
posted by elizardbits at 1:57 PM on August 16, 2011


It just needed to be done
posted by Theodore Sign at 2:02 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if that joint in slinky dog's mouth was smoked up by one or both of the parents prior to that photograph.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:06 PM on August 16, 2011


Too bad that's not true:

That's from 1995. Suicide rates jumped tremendously in Japan between 1995 and 2000, and remained steadily high, while they declined slightly in males in the US. WHO suicide rates by country, 1950-present.

WHO, and I, offer no explanations for these changes.
posted by darksasami at 2:07 PM on August 16, 2011


I'M IN UR ROOM IGNORING UR BOUNDAREEEZ

sorry
posted by Zippity Goombah at 2:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oops, forgot the relevant numbers. Unfortunately the years in the report don't quite match up. USA, ages 15-24, 2005: M, 16.1; F, 3.5. Japan, ages 15-24, 2008: M, 20.2; F, 10.4. So not double for males, but close to triple for females.
posted by darksasami at 2:15 PM on August 16, 2011


I like to think(project) the conversation before he left went something like:

*Brandon with a smile on his face*

"Alright sis you rascal you, I love you and if you love me and all that's holy you will 'stay out of my room'" *wink, wink*

"Did you just wink at me?"

"Look all I'm saying is 'Stay. Out. Of. My. Room'. *Nods approvinglly*

"Wait, what? I don't get it."

"Look, I know whatever I say isn't going to matter, because at some point you'll probably go into my room because I can't stop you and heck you might even have a conga line go through there like they did to that one guy on the internet. But please don't mess with my stuff and try to keep it clean and to simplify things the last thing I'm going to tell you is please don't go in my room." *Touches nose conspiratorially*

"Okay, love you too." *Winks back*
posted by P.o.B. at 2:20 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I wonder what that says about all of our priorities.

I speak for nobody else, but I'm here primarily to be entertained.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:28 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The kid said no and they did it anyway, but it's okay; they were just joking around.

That's some message they're sending.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on August 16, 2011


Anyone who seriously refers to this incident as a "violation" seems to have sort of issues they need to work out on their own, not here in the Blue.

Oh, Jesus. Not everyone thinks this is great. Anyone who can't understand why someone might think this sucks has issues they need to work out on their own (namely issues involving empathy, self-centeredness, and reading comprehension).

People who think this sucks don't have any more issues than people who think this rules.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:43 PM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


People who think this sucks don't have any more issues than people who think this rules.

You poor soul.
posted by hermitosis at 2:49 PM on August 16, 2011


People who think this sucks don't have any more issues than people who think this rules.

It's the people who cannot possibly imagine a scenario in which the parents weren't being malicious and Brandon did not feel violated by their actions who worry me. There have been plenty of people upthread who appear to hold this position. I'm completely gobsmacked by the direction this thread has gone. I had no idea it would turn out like this.
posted by phunniemee at 2:52 PM on August 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


I vacillate between "I should not steer my real-world acquaintances to MeFi because of threads like this" and "This must be seen to be believed and I am totally steering all of my friends toward this, just like I subjected them to 'Turkish Wizard of Oz'".
posted by everichon at 2:52 PM on August 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


Just read through this truly amazing thread, I happen to love this, and don't see the bullying aspect to it AT ALL.

Control-F'd the word "photoshop" and was surprised to see only two instances of the word's use, and neither implying this series is photoshopped. Indeed, it's the only thing I DON'T like about all of this, is that the pictures don't look real. The dogs in the Lady and the Tramp scene seem clearly photoshopped. Am I the only one that sees this?
posted by msali at 2:53 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one that sees this?

No, there's at least three 'shopped pics: the dogs, the pink room, and open mic nite. There may be others but I didn't notice them.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:58 PM on August 16, 2011


Are they shopped to look better or are they complete fabrications?
posted by msali at 3:00 PM on August 16, 2011


It's the people who cannot possibly imagine a scenario in which the parents weren't being malicious and Brandon did not feel violated by their actions who worry me.

Conversely, it's the people who cannot possibly imagine a scenario in which Brandon could be hurt by this who worry me. And look, they exist:

I happen to love this, and don't see the bullying aspect to it AT ALL.

Both sides are projecting, yes, because humans interact by relating things to their own experiences. Is it impossible that there is something to learn from a naysayer's perspective? Or should they be disregarded and derided because they have "issues"?
posted by darksasami at 3:04 PM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I can't believe they didn't do a Dexter's Lab; the recurring premise of that show is a sister who refuses to stay out of her brother's room.

Conversely, it's the people who cannot possibly imagine a scenario in which Brandon could be hurt by this who worry me. And look, they exist:

I don't think anything thinks it Couldn't happen, I think most of us 'positive' viewers think it's just not the likeliest version.
posted by nomisxid at 3:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


or anyone

not thing-ist
posted by nomisxid at 3:07 PM on August 16, 2011



Are they shopped to look better or are they complete fabrications?


The paint on the wall of the room was originally construction paper, blurred in photoshop, so they didn't have to actually paint his wall pink. The dogs are supposedly actually there with the food, watching a meatball in her hand, so I think she's just being artistic with that one.
posted by waterlily at 3:07 PM on August 16, 2011


If I may make a step back from the obviously emotionally charged OP to make a more generic comment about the whole dark worldview vs. fun and games thing,
Timothy Treadwell: "Grizzly bears are just big party animals!"

Werner Herzog: "I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder."
I will let you guess which one of these men made the movie about the other being eaten by a bear.
posted by localroger at 3:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


You're going to scar your kid one way or another, no matter what you do. Even if you are intensely diligent to keep him/her from being hurt at all costs, then the intensity of your diligence will be the thing that gnaws at him/her. Mistakes will be made. People will learn lessons. Or not.

So, you might as well have a little fun.
posted by hermitosis at 3:09 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Geez. I can see how this whole thing is probably demonstrative of a loving, adjusted and whimsical family, but for many that framework feels miles away and very theoretical.

Thinking about this link I was reminded of the Tibetan sky burial, of all things - clearly the procedure is performed with reverence and respect, but from outside-looking-in there's a bump one has to overcome in instinctual feelings about the handling of corpses before the ritual can be parsed and appreciated. For me, the same goes for this photoshoot and what it says about parents' observation of the boundaries their children set.

I wonder why the same concessions that are made to accommodating and celebrating the variety in perspectives on the day-to-day that result from cultural upbringing aren't being as readily applied to the familial. It can't be denied that that colours one's vantage point, for better or for worse or for neither of the above. I can't be the only one who reacted at first to the very idea of this project with autonomic fight-or-flight tension but there but for the grace of god, you know?
posted by metaman livingblog at 3:11 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's the people who cannot possibly imagine a scenario in which the parents weren't being malicious and Brandon did not feel violated by their actions who worry me. There have been plenty of people upthread who appear to hold this position. I'm completely gobsmacked by the direction this thread has gone. I had no idea it would turn out like this.

It's probably just sensitivity to the current political climate for warrant-less surveillance and social media crackdown and snooping in Britain. I completely understand that, sometimes it feels like people are less respectful of privacy nowadays, and for people who are really passionate about that value, you can get defensive.

But this.. this is totally awesome. I assume they didn't go through any personal journals or anything. This was the proper response to a typical brotherly "Stay out! Get Rid Of Slimy girlS (G.R.O.S.S) Club."

And if the NSA was building pillow forts out of all the spam messages in my inbox and inserting fake skits in my browsing history. That would be awesome too.
posted by formless at 3:12 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's probably just sensitivity to the current political climate for warrant-less surveillance and social media crackdown and snooping in Britain.

Huh? For me, no, the emotional response is all about public mockery. The first shot reads exactly like bullying to me. They lay it right out in the open: here's the kid's wishes, here's how much respect we have for that wish, and the next dozen or so images are us demonstrating how we laugh at his lack of power to stop us.
posted by darksasami at 3:24 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


OR it's a joke and if he doesn't get it then it's an exercise in character building.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:26 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let me rephrase "it's a *harmless* joke"
posted by P.o.B. at 3:27 PM on August 16, 2011


I hate pranks. I have never really been a fan of the kind of thing that boils down to "oh LIGHTEN UP it was just a JOKE". And I loved this and honestly believe that if my family had done this in my room when I'd been away, I would have been deeply touched and incredibly amused. Of course, that reaction just means I'm more likely to think that the kid involved here probably got a kick out of it, rather than jumping to the conclusion that he found it horribly oppressive and mean. Oh well. One more to add to the pile of people who smiled, until reading some of the sad stuff in the thread.
posted by lriG rorriM at 3:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is seriously making me wonder if I could charge my parents with abuse because I had to share a room with my sister (who always touched my stuff, no matter what I said), not to mention the bimonthly cleaning woman who came in and did whatever she wanted in the name of tidiness. WHERE WAS MY CHILDHOOD PRIVACY?!

Not trying to belittle those people who had awful childhoods or parents who violated their trust. But when lederhosen and toys drinking patron come into play, I have a hard time seeing this as anything other than a family having fun.
posted by Mchelly at 3:36 PM on August 16, 2011


...and there's the "bullying builds character" myth.
posted by darksasami at 3:37 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


... and there's the "I see bully's" twist when in reality it isn't there.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:38 PM on August 16, 2011


Or to look at it in a different way, "it's a joke and if he doesn't get it then it's an exercise in character building" is the same as "I'm going to do a thing that might hurt you, and if it does hurt you, then that's your problem."
posted by darksasami at 3:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have never really been a fan of the kind of thing that boils down to "oh LIGHTEN UP it was just a JOKE".

Neither am I, and that's not what I'm trying to suggest, but as I grow older I more often 'lighten up' and magically I have less problems. I've also realized as i grow older I'm more able to take a bit of revisionist view upon things in the past and I have better insight into whether people really were being malicious or not.

The real dividing factor here is whether people are giving the benefit of the doubt, or not. I prefer to see this in a good light rather than bad, and nobody can fault me or others for that without more info. Besides the fact Brandon gave the go ahead to let it be published on the net, I rather think the good hearted reading is actually a little more accurate here.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:43 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I sincerely hope that Brandon got these photos while he was at camp, and when the day came for him to come home there was no sign of him, only a series of photographs, each arriving every two or three days, starting with him sleeping in a bus station and pretty quickly getting to shooting up heroin and earning money as a rent-boy.
posted by Hogshead at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hi everyone, this is Brandon. That's my room in the photos. It's interesting to read all your comments. The truth is that
posted by brain_drain at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Or to look at it another way "here's the kid's wishes, here's how much respect we have for that wish, and the next dozen or so images are us demonstrating how we laugh at his lack of power to stop us" is the same as "I have no idea what I'm talking about because I wasn't there, I'm not a part of the family, and I'm projecting."
posted by P.o.B. at 3:47 PM on August 16, 2011


Only on metafilter could prank photos of someone's mom dressed as Darth Vader be compared to rape.

Actually mom was Obiwan.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:53 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


'Does your personal code of ethics include a postscript that says "unless it's really funny"?'

Mine does.

I find a lot of things funny that no one else does.
posted by Eideteker at 3:58 PM on August 16, 2011


darksasami, maybe think about whether crying wolf over "bullying" situations like this one hurt the general overall cause of bullying awareness.
posted by hermitosis at 4:06 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually mom was Obiwan.

I can't believe it took someone 200 comments to correct me. Y'all are slackers.
posted by elizardbits at 4:15 PM on August 16, 2011


Heh. Some of the responses here remind me of the shitstorm that broke out when Elder Monster turned 18. I very quietly uploaded some of his baby pictures to Facebook on his birthday. I said nothing about them. His girlfriend found them a couple hours later and squealed and cooed and thought it was the best thing EVAR. Elder Monster grinned at me and threatened to "get even" and cheerfully told all of his friends how embarrassing I am.

I related the story later to friends and some acquaintances, and even showed them the pictures. The people who had never met Elder Monster? Freaked the fuck OUT. Told me that if they were Elder Monster, they would move out immediately and never speak to me again, and OMG HOW DARE U! The righteous outrage and indignation on behalf of my son - who, incidentally, was quite amused with my stunt - was astonishing. It was pretty obvious that they had no clue what my relationship with Elder Monster is like. We do shit like that to each other all the time. It amuses us and harms no one.

The point of my rambling is that we don't have any idea how Brandon reacted. He might have rolled his eyes and sighed about his embarrassing family. He may have snarked "I can't leave you guys without supervision for five minutes, can I?" He may well have pissed himself laughing. Maybe even some combination of the three. His parents may well be gigantic assholes...but I suspect that Brandon finding it mildly exasperating and rather amusing is actually closer to the truth.
posted by MissySedai at 4:22 PM on August 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


Maybe Matt should close down shop for a couple of weeks.
posted by geckoinpdx at 4:31 PM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Good lord. Even if this awesome prank was meant in a mean-spirited mocking way (which I really, really doubt), whoever says children should be 100% taken seriously by their parents is misguided.

Look, I was bullied horribly as a child. I too feel all cringey inside when I see someone getting mocked (it's why I never get Candid Camera-type comedy). But I believe my mom's best parenting move was to tease me and teach me not to take myself so seriously.

The fact I was bullied horribly is why this was so important. By laughing at me when I deserved it, my mom helped me understand the difference between bullying, loving teasing, and calling someone on their shit. There are times where it's appropriate to feel victimized, and other times where it's just self-pity or humorlessness, and it's crucial to happiness to be able to tell the difference.
posted by Freyja at 4:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [26 favorites]


Oh, sweet blistering Jesus, some people need to get a life and pull the stick out.
posted by 1000monkeys at 5:39 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Humorless people with issues are humorless. And have issues.
posted by falameufilho at 5:46 PM on August 16, 2011


"In my family, you had a room, but were expected to keep it clean enough that other famliy members could walk in occasionally (after knocking if your door was closed and asking "are you decent?") and, you know, interact."

No, I don't know. Could you condescend a little further? I can't understand you all the way down here.
posted by Eideteker at 6:33 PM on August 16, 2011


People who think this sucks don't have any more issues than people who think this rules.

You poor soul.


Awwww, bless your heart.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:04 PM on August 16, 2011


This is a pretty textbook case of mass hysteria... the Mad Gasser of Matoon or the Battle of Los Angeles, right here on the blue. An echo chamber of people with outlandish ideas that are mutually reinforced, and made into small-scale tribal markers - if you believe bizzarre thing A, you are fighting against evil/standing up to bullies/breaking free of your parents/standing with people who are against bullying. Some choice examples of cognitive dissonance in there, too - my fave was the part where they must take what Brandon says at face value - right up until the point he says something against the memetic tide, in which case they daren't take what he says at face value, for his sake.

It will make an interesting media study subject for some grad student somewhere down the line, how it evolved and perpetuated. Fascinating to watch a malicious self-perpetuating meme unfold.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:14 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


If they had found his diary and posted it, or posted pictures of his porn collection, or whatever, that would be mean. Making a huge, funny production of it is funny, to me. and I try not be a jerk on purpose. but accidents happen. I truly don't like mean-spirited pranks, and I didn't think this was mean-spirited. I wish we could ask the kid.

I didn't have my own room until enough older kids went to college to make room. My room was never genuinely private. From my perspective, a child can't demand that his bedroom be off-limits. So, it's kind of a 1st-world-problem thing to me.
posted by theora55 at 7:17 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a pretty textbook case of mass hysteria... the Mad Gasser of Matoon or the Battle of Los Angeles, right here on the blue. An echo chamber of people with outlandish ideas that are mutually reinforced, and made into small-scale tribal markers - if you believe bizzarre thing A, you are fighting against evil/standing up to bullies/breaking free of your parents/standing with people who are against bullying. Some choice examples of cognitive dissonance in there, too - my fave was the part where they must take what Brandon says at face value - right up until the point he says something against the memetic tide, in which case they daren't take what he says at face value, for his sake.

Mass hysteria? That's beyond hyberbole. And what ideas did you find "outlandish?"
posted by longsleeves at 7:35 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Awful the way this thread turned out. A stain on our community.
posted by mlis at 7:43 PM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Here is something my mom did to me when I was away at college. Our dog Teddy had some skin issue and in order to keep him from picking at it, no she didn't buy an Elizabethan collar, but she put one of my pajama shirts on him and sent me a picture. I confess that I still wear that shirt...
posted by melissam at 7:47 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


A stain on our community.

On the contrary, this is what it means to be human. I had no idea so many people could look at a thing like this and feel nothing squickier than a light chuckle, and it's obvious many people had no idea so many people such as myself could look at this and have trouble seeing past the violation of personal space to the huge funny joke. We have all had an opportunity to learn something here which probably wouldn't have been possible off the blue.
posted by localroger at 7:55 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I do think it allows you to defend a clearly unpopular position. Were it a crowd of people, the idea that this was horribly cruel would probably have gotten laughed at and the more you tried to defend that viewpoint, the weirder and more uncomfortable everyone would have gotten, until people just kind of wrote you off as odd on this one issue. But here on the blue, uh, well shit.
posted by cashman at 8:01 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Awful the way this thread turned out. A stain on our community.

I don't see it that way. It's absolutely fascinating how different people and cultures view teasing. When I lived in Sweden they syndicate America's Funniest Home videos. My roommates, who were Swedish, and I would watch the show together and laugh. But then all the sudden they'd get to a segment where a child or animal was teased. Like an angry cat dressed in doll clothing. I would laugh and they would gasp or tsk tsk.
posted by melissam at 8:03 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is interesting that Ma and Pa have their FB profiles locked down tighter than Fort Knox. (I did them one better; as soon as I realized FB records everything you read I vowed never to log in again. So yeah, I created the localroger account on FB, but if you're trying to friend me don't be offended if I never ack.)

Somebody in this mess values privacy for somebody.

This family has Starwars-Kidded themselves. I hope they like it. No really, I do :-)
posted by localroger at 8:11 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's entirely possible to look at this as a gentle practical joke among family members; well-meant, and well-received. But I also look at this through the lens of my own 15 year-old self, and personally, I would have felt humiliated and entirely betrayed.

Both viewpoints seem valid to me, but I'm really shocked at how easily the second viewpoint is dismissed by those who hold the first.
posted by malocchio at 8:58 PM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


There are two types of people commenting in this thread: those who are horrible, terrible, awful people, and those who still think the poetry they wrote when they were thirteen was really good.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:16 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


On gossamer wings
Fly back home to us, Brandon
Your room misses you
posted by cashman at 9:23 PM on August 16, 2011


The most direct message the family is sending Brandon is this: Your wishes do not matter. Not only are we going to violate your trust, we are going to pour a ridiculous amount of energy into violating your trust in such a way that anyone who sees it (and that being the whole world thanks to the Internet) will think it's hilarious and that you're the jerk if you get upset at us.

...the amount of energy put into the OP prank is very unpleasantly familiar; Brandon's personality might not be what Mom wants and they're just showing him how much fun it would be if he loosens up! It's for his own good! And the escalation from that to something much more comparable to rape is much less crazy than it might sound.

It doesn't matter whether Brandon said he's OK with this; as I pointed out upthread he really has no choice even if he's not OK with it. And that's part of my problem with it. This very much is about issues of power and control, and the fact that it's done so stylishly and cleverly is simply part of the handle that makes it so powerful.

posted by localroger



I've heard people recovering from mental illness talk about how one of the toughest parts of recovery is seeing yourself, and the world, as everyone else sees it. The recovering bulimic, now a healthy and robust one hundred thirty pounds, still struggles not to see herself as a four hundred pound fat chick. The recovering depressive, who accomplishes amazing things and has the admiration of everyone around him, still fights the urge to see himself as a loser that everyone hates. The survivor of trauma, who has the love of a man who would die before he would harm her, has to remind herself that not all men are waiting for the chance to get her alone and rape her again.

This is the first time I have ever come across someone who was so screwed up by his parents that he literally cannot see another parent's actions as innocent. He cannot see that these parents aren't trying to control Brandon. He cannot see that these actions aren't about some form of psychological terrorism or rape. He can't see it's not about power, or control, or contempt. He can't see that many, many parents honestly love their children, and want the best for them, and want them to live their own lives, and that doing this sort of activity does not negate any of that in the slightest. He cannot conceive that all parents are not like his parents; that his parents are an awful exception, not the rule.

It's like the eighty pound bulimic who is convinced that she's fat. Her mind has been so warped by her illness, she cannot see reality.

I feel sorry for you, localroger. I really do, because you're still under the control of your parents. They did such a number on you that seventeen years later they control the way you think, the way you see reality. They've got you convinced that no parents are innocent.

Best to you.
posted by magstheaxe at 9:29 PM on August 16, 2011 [21 favorites]


Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina begins with the observation that "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I think the exact opposite is the case, and that there are a thousand ways to express joy and fellowship for every one of misery or abuse. These pictures looked to me like a family expressing the former, rather than the latter. Like Captain Renault in another classic work of art, I'm shocked - shocked - that so many people on this thread wish to paint what appears the most innocent of japes in the darkest of lights.
posted by joannemullen at 9:34 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dunno; if anything, Tolstoy was too glib about happy families but on the money about the unhappy ones. The devil is in the details, and the details of joy and wonder and love, just as much as those of sadness and anger and fear and alienation, are weird, varied, complicated things. The idea that families are only either happy or unhappy is itself a convenient reduction, when most families seem to be an indissoluble swirl of both, in one proportion or the other.

But there's something to be said for a snappy opening line.
posted by cortex at 9:59 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


-they sure are wealthy

This was my thought looking at the very first photo-- look at the costumes. The accordion. That beautiful wood floor. The built-in bookcases. I didn't find this invasive or disrespectful so much as it made me queasy, as in, I can't even relate to a world in which people have the time and resources to stage a series of pranks like this.

No, once you head out of the cities and into the Burbs, everyone gets a room like that, even kids in working-class families.

Maybe if by burbs you mean Westchester County. Working class? Seriously? Working class? I'm not sure I've ever been a guest in such a nice-looking home. Wait, yes I have, once. I remember not knowing how I should address the maid and butler, since I'd never met anyone with hired help before.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 10:04 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Finally Cortex, something we disagree about!
posted by joannemullen at 10:13 PM on August 16, 2011


Brandon is not the king. He doesn't get to make edicts. When he does make edicts, he deserves to have them flagrantly violated, until he learns to stop demanding.

And when parents do let kids boss around and make all the rules, that makes them bad parents, not good parents.
posted by BurnChao at 10:13 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've been in plenty of homes like this one, and no you don't have to be rich to own one. I would say upper middle class. Household income probably has to exceed six figures, but that's a rough guesstimate for Western Washington residents.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:21 PM on August 16, 2011


The album appears to have been removed from facebook. Congratulations, folks.
posted by phunniemee at 10:50 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, the morning sun is on my desk now and I must check back. Have we rescued Brandon from the clutches of his evil family yet? Have we verified with the State Department that his family is actually crypto-Christian capitalist prescriptivists bent on making him an exhibitionist? Which MeFi member's super-private secret behind-the-bookshelves windowless extra room is he sleeping in tonight? And who will pay for his therapy and ours?
posted by pracowity at 10:53 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Crap! If there's arguing to be had, we're gonna need a bigger FPP. Who's got another Bachman post ready?
posted by P.o.B. at 10:55 PM on August 16, 2011


n
posted by P.o.B. at 10:56 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's such a relief to know you all will see the humour in my habit of sneaking into your homes and farting into all the pillows.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's such a relief we've all finally come to the realization that there's a difference between malicious intent and light hearted fun.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:26 PM on August 16, 2011


Do you smell potato chips?
posted by pracowity at 11:38 PM on August 16, 2011


Lighten up, Francis.

And in this case, Francis is all you nutjobs who think a kid's room ought to be sacrosanct.

Look, I was a kid who probably wouldn't have enjoyed something like this. And my parents never did anything like this. Maybe I would be a little more adjusted in life if they had.
posted by gjc at 4:21 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the first time I have ever come across someone who was so screwed up by his parents that he literally cannot see another parent's actions as innocent.

It's considerably more complicated than that, but I would be the first to admit I have certain trigger issues. Thanks to my parents there is a short list of things you only get to do to me once.

I find the deepness divide between the awwww-cute and squick reactions rather amazing. I am just as amazed that you can't see there could be serious personal space issues here depending on Brandon's (completely unknown) personality as you seem to that I don't just find it awesomely cute.

If Brandon is one certain type of kid, then yes it's completely innocent. If he's another certain type of kid, this is an affront that could scar him for years. And here's the kick in the pants: It's quite possible, if Brandon is that second type of kid, that his parents don't know. And that, ultimately, is why this was rather a bad idea.
posted by localroger at 5:24 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Except that personal space can't be violated when someone isn't nearby.

There is no harm in this. It is COMPLETELY different than if they were digging through his stuff, which there is no evidence that they were.
posted by gjc at 5:54 AM on August 17, 2011


Without much information to go on, I choose to give the benefit of the doubt to the family. It looks like lighthearted fun, permission was given to share it as if it was lighthearted fun, so I assume it was lighthearted fun. I don't know it for a fact, but Occam's Razor, people, come on. I'm not going to presume a background of psychological damage caused by boundary violations based merely on a teenager's request that his sister stay out of his room while he was away.

For all we know, his family was mystified by the request. Why would they want to go into his boring room anyway? Did he think they were going to hold a pie-eating contest in there or something? Is he afraid we'll let the dogs sit on his pristine floor?

My favourite is the drive-through window, with the lederhosen coming a close second.
posted by harriet vane at 5:55 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


And here's the kick in the pants: It's quite possible, if Brandon is that second type of kid, that his parents don't know. And that, ultimately, is why this was rather a bad idea.

Therefore, the best parenting is to walk on eggshells and pray you don't have a basket case for a child. RIGHT.
posted by eoden at 6:16 AM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


melissam: "she put one of my pajama shirts on him and sent me a picture."

Flagged for awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
posted by falameufilho at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2011


eoden, that's a nice straw man you got there. You should be careful with that thing, they can be flammable.

Nobody has tried to make the case that a child's room should be sacrosanct. What bothers us is the way certain people (who certainly exist, as several of them including myself have weighed in here) might interpret the way this was done as ritual humiliation. It is not "walking on eggshells" to avoid this kind of direct personal insult.
posted by localroger at 6:39 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't even relate to a world in which people have the time and resources to stage a series of pranks like this.

See that's where I thought this conversation would go-- that this family have so much time and energy for this. It reminds me of those stay at home moms who make those fancy Japanese bento-like lunchboxes with everything cut up into little shapes. I enjoyed it and it made me smile but there is something....just a tiny bit decadent in having the resources to pull off such an elaborate prank.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:49 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Current word counts:

be/love/d...51
project/ing...22
bully/ing...20
I don't know...8
rape...6
abuse...5
Darth Vader...4
straw man/ing...4
sacrosanct...3
dickweasels...1
posted by phunniemee at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


eoden, that's a nice straw man you got there. You should be careful with that thing, they can be flammable.

I wish you folks would stop tossing "straw man" around as if you hadn't been making accusations and passing judgment on these parents. You said these things, some of us called you on these things, but now "no no no! It's a straw man!" Maybe you should learn what a straw man fallacy actually is.

Nobody has tried to make the case that a child's room should be sacrosanct.

Nonsense. Several people have pointed out how this child's privacy was "violated". Not merely infringed: violated. A handful of folks have also pointed out how they were "horrified" that such an act had taken place. And more than a couple have mentioned how they would never dream of doing this, or would have been speechless if this happened to them. Sounds an awful lot like "sacrosanct" to me.

To refer to this as "humiliation" completely ignores the repeat fact that Brandon himself said it was fine to share this with people. How is it humiliation if the person in question isn't humiliated?

And "personal insult"? "Stay out of my room!"/"Here's a little goofy show in your room!" in your mind leads to "SACRE BLEU! NOW WE MUST DUEL."?
posted by eoden at 6:59 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: a stain on our community

MetaFilter: something we disagree upon!
posted by Eideteker at 7:00 AM on August 17, 2011


might interpret the way this was done as ritual humiliation.

You're way overboard here. When you see these pictures and describe them (above) as extremely deeply fucked up, proclaim in earnest that his parents think his wishes do not matter, that they violated his trust, that they have contempt for him, are bullying him and there's a danger that this could scar him for years... when you say in earnest that Brandon is a victim, write seriously that this is ritual humiliation, and say the comparison to rape is not all that far off? You're going way, way overboard.

I appreciate that you've had it rough in your own life and your parents turned on you. I am sorry that happened to you. There was probably a 1% chance that you were right that these parents had bad intentions. And when they took the pictures down, presumably because it was just supposed to be a funny joke but some people acted like they were evil monsters trying to brutally torture their (unseen) kid, that all but eliminated the idea that they were.

I am sorry for what happened in your case, and I hope things get better for you. There are some horrible parents and families out there, but from the looks of things, these people are not.
posted by cashman at 7:16 AM on August 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


if Brandon is that second type of kid

Localroger, I understand what you're saying, even if I can't identify with it. The thing is, I think that most of us are that second type of kid for at least a year or two of our lives, where any slight, however minor, is a monumental transgression. And I think it's our parents' job to help us through that phase and get us to a place where we don't get bogged down in feeling oppressed by everything and can see the humor in even adverse situations - to arm us for dealing with a much crueler world than we were raised in (hopefully).

Clearly, not all parents do that, or do it right (perhaps including your own - I can't say). Like you, I'm quite amazed at the disparity of reactions to this stunt, and saddened that for so many people it evoked negative feelings, rather than happy ones. But I'm even more saddened by the vitriol directed at the parents, who are doing it right.

The fact is that for most of us (and apparently, from what we can tell, Brandon), the message here was not "Haha Brandon, fuck you and your 'stay out of my room'!". We weren't laughing at a bunch of bullies picking on a victim. We were laughing with a family enjoying each other and finding ways to make each other smile.

These beans are getting old now
posted by Zippity Goombah at 7:36 AM on August 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


I feel sorry for you, localroger. I really do, because you're still under the control of your parents. They did such a number on you that seventeen years later they control the way you think, the way you see reality. They've got you convinced that no parents are innocent.

And I feel sorry for you, because you can't put yourself in someone else's shoes. Is Brandon fine with this? Probably. Is there some kid out there who have loving parents who do pranky stuff like this and the kid knows his parents aren't malicious but the kid still hates it anyway? Oh, most definitely.

And that's the point, for me. Feel free to love the hell out of this, but at least acknowledge that not every well-adjusted kid would love this. One can be psychologically healthy and still not like this.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think the situation would have different if he had sat down with the family and asked everyone to please stay out of his room. Barking a demand to his sister was throwing down a gauntlet. I'm an older sister -- I know this. If he had said that and meant it because of established problems, I'm betting she would have just messed stuff up clandestinely. Then there would be a really privacy issue here.

I think they just thought this would be a chance to have fun and get him back for acting a bit big for his britches, and I think they handled it well -- they were funny, they were creative, they didn't move all his furniture outside with a treasure map left in his stark, bare room, and he got tweaked a bit about acting mildly bossy.

My brother once demanded my mother give him his spaghetti on the coffee table. Yes, my mom calmly brought out a handful of spaghetti, plopped it on the table, and stood there. Guess who didn't word things like that after that?

The internet has just added a component to our lives where every-fucking-body can and will comment on your stuff. And you kinda ask for it when you allow for access into your life.

So to sum up: I bet he looked at the pictures and thought "Dorks", got a reminder that he's not the age where you can order people around and reasonably expect them to listen, then laughed and thought how awesome his family is.
posted by Tomboy at 8:02 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Feel free to love the hell out of this, but at least acknowledge that not every well-adjusted kid would love this. One can be psychologically healthy and still not like this.

You know, sometimes in life, you have to put up with shit you hate done by well-meaning people out of love. Not a bad lesson for any kid to learn, that.

It's like when you go out to the restaurant on your birthday and your friends make the waiters sing and bring you cake. I HATE that, I can't stand being the center of attention and I don't feel comfortable when service staff is forced to entertain like dancing monkeys. My friends all know that, but some years they can't help themselves.

The appropriate response, when loved ones are making a big show of how much they love you, is to graciously accept it. Even if the way they choose to express it is not to your personal taste.
posted by Freyja at 8:03 AM on August 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


Well, no-one's obligated to like everything. I don't like anchovies. If I told my family that I hated anchovies and they then proceeded to serve it up at every dish, whilst sniggering, I'd be pissed off.

If, however, they decided to photograph themselves dressed as anchovies, snorting anchovies up their collective noses, applying anchovy paste as a facial mask or they posted a video to youtube which featured the composition of a large anchovy made from individual anchovies of varying shades with the words 'Hi Linda!' featured prominently I'd laugh myself sick.
posted by h00py at 8:09 AM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


And that's the point, for me. Feel free to love the hell out of this, but at least acknowledge that not every well-adjusted kid would love this. One can be psychologically healthy and still not like this.

Well, yeah, but this isn't about All Kids, it's about a specific kid, who seems to be fine with it. I think comments from people here that are along the lines of "I would have hated this as a kid," or "I would have loved this as a kid," are all good. It's the "This is the shittiest thing this family could do to their child - why do they love humiliating him?" kinds of comments that take a personal stance on the thing and universalize it in a way that's not at all conducive to decent discussion.
posted by rtha at 8:22 AM on August 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


I want to thank everyone in this thread who took the time to actually read and politely reply to those of us who have commented about why things like this make us uncomfortable.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:31 AM on August 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yet more proof that MeFites have their humor gland surgically removed in order to expand their self-righteousness organ. But we can look on the bright side; if Brandon is psychologically abused enough, maybe he will grow up to be a miserable humorless cuss who will post on Metafilter.
posted by happyroach at 8:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meow!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2011


Well, yeah, but this isn't about All Kids, it's about a specific kid, who seems to be fine with it.

Really? If this was really a thread about Brandon's reaction, the majority of the comments would be "Well, I'm going to hold off on saying whether I like this until I know whether Brandon likes it or not". That's not what's happened. People were giving their own personal reactions to what happened, completely outside of Brandon's reaction. It's TOTALLY about All Kids because All the People in here are giving their own opinions about whether they think this is cool, not on whether Brandon was okay with it.

I think comments from people here that are along the lines of "I would have hated this as a kid," or "I would have loved this as a kid," are all good. It's the "This is the shittiest thing this family could do to their child - why do they love humiliating him?" kinds of comments that take a personal stance on the thing and universalize it in a way that's not at all conducive to decent discussion.

In a similar vein , I feel that comments like "This is clearly what love looks like, everyone should be so lucky to have parents as loving as Brandon's" are taking a personal stance on the thing and universalizing it in a way that's going to make people who don't like this more likely to comment in this thread.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:03 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The appropriate response, when loved ones are making a big show of how much they love you, is to graciously accept it. Even if the way they choose to express it is not to your personal taste.

This is the appropriate response the first time. Then you gently let them know that you do not like X, and your loved ones, as they love you, will not do X again for you. But as they enjoy X, you will occasionally do X for them -- but they won't force it on you.
posted by jeather at 9:08 AM on August 17, 2011


but there is something....just a tiny bit decadent in having the resources to pull off such an elaborate prank.

I'm pretty sure subsistence farmers in Argentina would be unable to distinguish the decadence of the photo prank from the decadence of us arguing about it on the internet.
posted by straight at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


In a similar vein , I feel that comments like "This is clearly what love looks like, everyone should be so lucky to have parents as loving as Brandon's" are taking a personal stance on the thing and universalizing it in a way that's going to make people who don't like this more likely to comment in this thread.

There were fewer "This is LOVE" remarks than there were "This is a VIOLATION" remarks.
posted by eoden at 9:55 AM on August 17, 2011


If lovin this is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
posted by cashman at 10:08 AM on August 17, 2011


In a similar vein , I feel that comments like "This is clearly what love looks like, everyone should be so lucky to have parents as loving as Brandon's" are taking a personal stance on the thing and universalizing it in a way that's going to make people who don't like this more likely to comment in this thread.

I don't take issue with people commenting, on either side. I take issue with people commenting like so: "But as a parent, how could you shit on your kid like this?"

Other people managed to say "I would not be okay with this, at all," without asserting as fact that these particular parents shit on this particular kid.

Maybe it's just me, but I also think there's a difference between assuming that this family acted in good faith (e.g. "what a loving family!") and saying that that the parents taking goofy pictures in his room is like raping him.
posted by rtha at 10:50 AM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


It reminds me of those stay at home moms who make those fancy Japanese bento-like lunchboxes with everything cut up into little shapes.

Yes! At some point it becomes less about provoking a reaction from the recipient (and I have no problem imagining that Brandon enjoyed the photos, and even felt loved, although he didn't actually get to have any of the fun), and more about the narcissistic kick his family gets out of it: "Hey, Brandon! Brandon! Look at how cute and clever and creative and fun-loving we all are!"
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 11:19 AM on August 17, 2011


happyroach: “Yet more proof that MeFites have their humor gland surgically removed in order to expand their self-righteousness organ. But we can look on the bright side; if Brandon is psychologically abused enough, maybe he will grow up to be a miserable humorless cuss who will post on Metafilter.”

To me, the most annoying thing in this thread has been the constant sense that apparently it's okay to respond to people who don't think a thing is funny by vaguely insulting them.

Or was there someone in particular you meant this for, happyroach? Are you saying I'm a self-righteous, miserable, humorless cuss? That's fine, but it'd be nice if you'd have enough courage in your convictions to actually name names rather than gesturing at the thread and muttering a put-down.
posted by koeselitz at 11:30 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty much in the "based on the information we have and the inferences I draw from that information, this looks like a loving gesture by a loving family who knew their son/brother well enough to know he'd appreciate it" camp. But I agree with koeselitz that it's not cool to describe the people who didn't like this stunt as "hav[ing] their humor gland surgically removed in order to expand their self-righteousness organ." Whether you call it experience, baggage, sore spots, survival mechanisms or tenderness, we all have something that holds meaning to us. Even people who think other people are too sensitive are not immune to sensitivity themselves. I've seen this happen on both the blue and the grey, where someone accuses a group of angry people as speshul snowflakes or delicate flowers, only to react with anger when his or her own foot is the one being trod upon. (I say this not to point fingers at anyone in particular, but to make the general point that none of us is a pure iconoclast, or a pure nihilist. Everybody's got a Thing That Matters to them.)

I might think that someone else's sensitivities are overstated, or confusing, or maybe just plain absurd, but I'm not going to poke them where it hurts, out of sheer malice. And I'm certainly not going to tell them that they just need to get a sense of humor about it.

Wow, that wasn't didactic or anything. I feel like Sting now.

I HATE feeling like Sting.

posted by bakerina at 12:09 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Make that "...where someone accuses a group of angry people of being speshul snowflakes..."

de do do do, de da da da, is all I want to say to you...
posted by bakerina at 12:13 PM on August 17, 2011


Wow, that wasn't didactic or anything. I feel like Sting now.

I HATE feeling like Sting.


What's wrong with Sting, huh? Huh???

[/lame joke]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:14 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I feel sorry for you, because you can't put yourself in someone else's shoes.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:40 AM on August 17


On the contrary, I did try to imagine localroger's mindset. It was dark, and threatening, and everyone was trying to rape me, especially parents. I won't be revisiting that mindset anytime soon.

localroger's abusive parents now have the ultimate control over him--they've determined how he looks at the world. I still feel sorry for him, and anyone else who sees the world that way.


One can be psychologically healthy and still not like this.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:40 AM on August 17


Probably. But we've got people equating this prank with rape. (1, 2). I submit that such reasoning is not the hallmark of psychological health.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:37 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I did try to imagine localroger's mindset. It was dark, and threatening, and everyone was trying to rape me, especially parents.

My comments here have probably been a bit deceptive. My actual world-view is much darker than anything I've written here would be likely to indicate. Allow me to repeat the Werner Herzog quote I noted above when I compared him with the more happy-go-lucky and dead Timothy Treadwell:
"I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder."
When I heard Werner say this in Grizzly Man it was like hearing my own voice with a German accent. But don't think I am a sad person. Figuring out the real score was tremendously empowering. People you can love and trust are precious, and are not to be taken for granted. Which is, incidentally, one of the reasons I am so unthrilled by the OP.

Human society is knitted together by power. There are basically three kinds of people with regard to interpersonal power dynamics:
  1. People who know this, and exploit it to aggrandize themselves
  2. People who know this, and deal with it
  3. People who don't know this, who get crushed
My parents forced me out of the last and doomed category and, thanks to the sexual paraphilia their control freakiness imprinted on me, forced me to consider carefully in which of the first two I would live. They had no hand in that choice, and now that I have survived that maelstrom I wouldn't go back and undo it for anything.

Finally, I would like to point out that despite their preoccupation with my development, they were completely unaware of the turn my developing sexuality was taking (and still aren't), nor were they aware of my developing awareness of how badly they were manipulating me. They thought (and still think) of themselves as the most loving, devoted parents possible. So I hope you will understand why I tend to consider both parents and children unreliable narrators of their experiences.
posted by localroger at 1:20 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do you think they let those dogs eat that bowl of spaghetti after they took the picture?

Mmm, spaghetti!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:28 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The opposite of cynical is naive.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2011


Brandon's family taught him the most valuable lesson of all: Get over yourself.
posted by whuppy at 1:47 PM on August 17, 2011


If I may elaborate: One of the dangers of growing up in a loving, supportive, and comfortable household is the children develop an exaggerated sense of entitlement. (Caveat: You cannot get all Cosby on the kids until you've first provided the support and unconditional love.)

Also: I miss The Cosby Show.
posted by whuppy at 2:03 PM on August 17, 2011


WE ARE ALL KNAVES!
posted by P.o.B. at 2:09 PM on August 17, 2011


Freyja wins the thread.
posted by whuppy at 2:10 PM on August 17, 2011


Allow me to repeat the Werner Herzog quote I noted above when I compared him with the more happy-go-lucky and dead Timothy Treadwell:

"I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder."

When I heard Werner say this in Grizzly Man it was like hearing my own voice with a German accent. But don't think I am a sad person. Figuring out the real score was tremendously empowering. People you can love and trust are precious, and are not to be taken for granted. Which is, incidentally, one of the reasons I am so unthrilled by the OP.


localroger,
I wish you'd quit harping on about Herzog and Treadwell as if they solved the meaning of life!!

Yes, Werner Herzog made a brilliantly compelling documentary about Timothy Treadwell, a man - a likeable and also a very fragile individual, who developed a fatally foolish fantasy about the true nature of animals in the wild.

It's a helluva film, and it tells an extraordinary, very specific, story with enormous skill - and energy. But I don't think Werner intended Grizzly Man as the last word on all human relationships!

(I've actually been impressed with the pains you've taken to explain your position here, and I do agree that:"People you can love and trust are precious, and are not to be taken for granted." But I don't agree it therefore follows that Brandon has been hideously betrayed by his parents.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:27 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Eoden, have you considered that abusive parents can and do use the same reasons you do for doing whatever they please? I'm not saying you're abusive or that Brandon is being abused, just if "because I'm the parent" is a good enough reason, that leaves the door open for a lot of nasty things that should never happen. When you say that kids don't get to make the rules or set boundaries, I hope you don't mean that kids can't set any personal boundaries at all between themselves and their parents. There are parents who molest their children, who steal from them, who hit them. Those parents can just as easily say, "you don't pay the rent, you're not the parent, so I make the rules". Kids are legally prevented from working enough that they could live independently and we all know this. It's just a way to throw a kid's powerlessness back in his/her face, which seems a bit mean even under the best of circumstances. If you're a reasonable parent, surely you have a better reason than constantly appealing to your position of power, even if it's just "you had clean laundry and I was putting it away". And if your kid is still upset, it's not as though there aren't any other options. They can't pay rent, but that doesn't mean they can't do their own laundry.
posted by purplecrackers at 2:31 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that is rather odd to take Herzog vs Treadwell as some kind of internal dialectic or measure for, well, anything other than that movie.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:32 PM on August 17, 2011


People you can love and trust are precious

I think the crucial difference is how we are interpreting trust here. Some of us feel that Brandon's family betrayed his trust by not following the letter of his "instructions" to them. Others believe that these stunts actually showed Brandon that he really can trust his family in ways that truly count, trust them to:

- Not really redecorate his room
- Not really throw parties in there
- Not really let his grandparents do it in his bed
- Not poke through his personal stuff
- Not throw anything out
- Leave everything as they found it when he left

...despite all these pictures that "show" them in the midst of all those transgressions.

And that's where the funny is.

Refried beans, anyone?
posted by Zippity Goombah at 2:38 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


If I may elaborate: One of the dangers of growing up in a loving, supportive, and comfortable household is the children develop an exaggerated sense of entitlement.

Whuppy: You can love and support children and make a nice home for your family without giving kids everything they want.
posted by longsleeves at 2:39 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


purplecrackers, you're taking this to an extreme conclusion. You've taken my position, a reasonable one that helps establish a particular dynamic, and you've stretched to a conclusion that is extreme and in fact borders on accusation. If you do that with everything else, you are sure to never:

* Raise your voice
* Move to fast
* Drive
* Eat
* Sleep

Because, all of these things could very well lead to pain, misery, and death!
posted by eoden at 2:45 PM on August 17, 2011


No teenage boy is that neat.
posted by maiamaia at 3:06 PM on August 17, 2011


Probably. But we've got people equating this prank with rape. (1, 2). I submit that such reasoning is not the hallmark of psychological health.

And I submit that not everyone who doesn't like this has compared it to rape. I, for one, compared to Ziggy cartoons. People in this thread are saying that ANYONE who doesn't like this is a joyless humorless fussbudget, they're not just singling out the rape-comparers.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:21 PM on August 17, 2011


They have a maid.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:24 PM on August 17, 2011


It's like when you go out to the restaurant on your birthday and your friends make the waiters sing and bring you cake. I HATE that, I can't stand being the center of attention and I don't feel comfortable when service staff is forced to entertain like dancing monkeys. My friends all know that, but some years they can't help themselves.

The appropriate response, when loved ones are making a big show of how much they love you, is to graciously accept it. Even if the way they choose to express it is not to your personal taste.
Well, if I really did value those friends, I would accept the display for the moment, and then, when enough time had passed to make the lack of "hard feelings" clear, I would tell them I didn't appreciate it and wanted them to stop.

Your friends apparently didn't; and you don't consider that bad enough to make them not worth being friends with. That's your choice, and maybe a good one. But in your situation, I'd still let them know about my objections every time, and if that weren't enough to stop them, I'd start looking for something that was. Probably something of mine that they wanted, that I could deny them conditionally. I wouldn't host a birthday party for someone who'd deliberately made my birthday party into a bad one, for example, even if that person were a dear friend to me.

My point is, there are lots of good ways to deal with such transgressions; and they don't all have to be as blunt and legalistic as I am; but those transgressions are still transgressions, and ought to be recognized as such.

Saying "it's all in good fun" as a way of dismissing or minimizing an accusation is bullshit. What if it was all in good fun? That doesn't mean I wasn't violated. Yet there are tons of people in this thread who are saying just that. Don't say it was just a joke, because even if it was, it was still a violation. Don't say it wasn't serious, because even if it wasn't, it was still a violation.

If you want to persuade someone to handle such a violation gracefully, you should have a conversation about forgiveness. Friends often forgive one another for their mistakes; the same is true when friends hurt one another on purpose. I'm not personally one to tolerate that kind of friendship, but far be it from me to judge.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:35 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, aside from my kneejerk Keep Out Means Keep Out reaction, I think what really bugs me about it is that it's just not all that funny.

I mean, half of it doesn't even make any sense. Doesn't relate to the basic premise of ,"Ho-ho! We are making mischief in your room and there's nothing you can do about it!" Lady and the Tramp? The Office? Keep it on message, people!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:40 PM on August 17, 2011


(Though, there's also the "We're having all this fun without you" aspect, which is a whole other kettle of fish.)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:45 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Saying "it's all in good fun" as a way of dismissing or minimizing an accusation is bullshit.

On the flipside, saying it was a transgression and/or a violation is just as reductive and is also "bullshit".
posted by P.o.B. at 3:50 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


P.o.B., were you referring to the story about the birthday party, or to Brandon? In either case, we have a situation where
  1. one person expresses a boundary
  2. another person recognizes the boundary
  3. the second person violates the boundary
You can argue that it's tiny, I guess, but I'm not coming up with any other word to express what needs to happen for this type of humor to work.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:55 PM on August 17, 2011


I wish you'd quit harping on about Herzog and Treadwell as if they solved the meaning of life!!

I think seeing that line as anything other than Werner's take on the meaning of life, using Treadwell's as a foil as to which is more practical, would be very strange.
posted by localroger at 4:01 PM on August 17, 2011


Also, accidentally cut this short:

But I don't agree it therefore follows that Brandon has been hideously betrayed by his parents.

There is a middle ground between "B was hideously betrayed" and "B was absolutely OK with it." That ground is "We don't know." What we know is only that it is possible, and it is a possibility which neither we nor Brandon's parents can positively eliminate.

I suspect someone who knew the family and knew whether they had a history of this sort of thing and of Brandon's reactions would, like my childhood acquaintances, have a much better idea of whether this is an expression of love or ego.

It's not that I can't imagine this being an innocent prank by loving parents to amuse a child who understands it; it's just that that's something neither I, my wife, nor the siblings who also survived her own dysfunctional family have ever experienced and so I tend consider it very unlikely. These are much more dangerous waters than some people want to admit and thinking they are not dangerous makes them all the more so.
posted by localroger at 4:10 PM on August 17, 2011


LogicalDash, the facts are not that simple, and again you are reducing this down to ridiculousness.

Did he tell everyone to stay out of his room? Does his mom or dad have the okay to go in there, since he only told his sister? Is it this huge transgression because his sister was in the room then? Do they have a maid? Does the maid go into the room? Isn't silly for a non-family member to enter his room but apparently according to you it's tantamount to a human rights issue because his sister went in his room? Did he actually tell his sister his demand in earnest? Seriously? Some nice mountains your building out of mole hills there.

You know I could keep going on, but I don't think that matters. So good luck to you and others here with fighting the good fight for Brandon's sake.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:16 PM on August 17, 2011


Finally, I would like to point out that despite their preoccupation with my development, they were completely unaware of the turn my developing sexuality was taking (and still aren't), nor were they aware of my developing awareness of how badly they were manipulating me.

I'm sure we all appreciate your candor, but it is also certainly possible that your parents had absolutely nothing to do with that. Can parents imprint homo- or heterosexuality on their children? No, and I guess short of actually promoting some paraphilia as being completely normal, neither can they imprint sexual preferences.
posted by gjc at 4:57 PM on August 17, 2011


I think seeing that line as anything other than Werner's take on the meaning of life, using Treadwell's as a foil as to which is more practical, would be very strange.


localroger,
Fair enough if you don't want to explain further or if you feel Herzog's original quote somehow speaks for itself.

(I think the bizarre and grotesque aspects of Treadwell's life & death appealed to Herzog far more than you'd care to admit. Whether he's more seer or showman as a moviemaker is probably a different debate anyway!).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:05 PM on August 17, 2011


I mean, half of it doesn't even make any sense. Doesn't relate to the basic premise of ,"Ho-ho! We are making mischief in your room and there's nothing you can do about it!" Lady and the Tramp? The Office? Keep it on message, people!

If it doesn't make sense, just imagine that the point is overkill. Imagine this, Brandon puts "Keep Away!" on his door as he goes away to camp for 2 weeks. Say they live in Iowa. Instead of what they did here, they drive to the outskirts of town and take a picture, faux-hitchiking with the sign. Next picture is from the Iowa state border. Next, maybe St. Louis, a picture underneath the arch with the "keep away!" sign. Next picture is from that big blob thing in Chicago. Another one follows from the Fargo, ND sign.

The whole point is taking something somebody said and going hog wild with it. You said "While I'm gone, make sure my brother doesn't ride my bike!" While you're away, they email you pictures of the Iowa Hawkeyes QB riding it away from defenders on the stadium field. The next picture is your 3 month old cousin propped up like he's popping a wheelie in his crib. The next pic is your mom riding it on top of the boardroom table during a meeting at her job. The next pic is your dad in a speedo on the diving board on your bike.

The point of having Dwight from the Office and Lady and the Tramp was that not only is your family just completely not NOT going in your room, all sorts of unbelievable shit is going on in there. If they had enough wherewithal to have scientists and the hadron collider in there, they would have. And it would have been even more hilarious.

I wish anybody who grew up with a shitty family had the chance to go back and relive it with some people like this. This was my family, to an extent. It was so much fun. My mom went out of town for while and my sibling and I had to house-sit. Well my mom had a small (real) stuffed animal that we both thought was kind of creepy. So we took turns hiding it in odd places around the house. Sometimes it would be in the freezer, eating some ice cream. Sometimes it would be watching tv from a chair.

Cashman family hug to every person who looks at these goofy folks and sees malice. This could have easily been my family. I can't tell you how much fun it is to play these types of harmless jokes, and have them played on you. I went into detail because I think some people seriously do not get the family dynamic that is going on here. Brandon will get them back, and much fun and laughter will be had. I've been struggling to think of more and more examples of these things we did when we were all under one roof but my brain keeps getting caught on the fact that some people see horror and evil here, and more examples fail to surface since it was long ago. I genuinely feel simultaneously happy that I grew up in an environment like this, and sad that other kids got mistreated so bad it still affects them today. God bless you, I would take the pain away if I could. Every kid deserves to be loved and to have fun with their family.
posted by cashman at 5:10 PM on August 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


Well, if I really did value those friends, I would accept the display for the moment, and then, when enough time had passed to make the lack of "hard feelings" clear, I would tell them I didn't appreciate it and wanted them to stop.

Your friends apparently didn't; and you don't consider that bad enough to make them not worth being friends with. That's your choice, and maybe a good one. But in your situation, I'd still let them know about my objections every time, and if that weren't enough to stop them, I'd start looking for something that was. Probably something of mine that they wanted, that I could deny them conditionally. I wouldn't host a birthday party for someone who'd deliberately made my birthday party into a bad one, for example, even if that person were a dear friend to me.


Funny way to express how much one values a friend. Friendly reminder: no situation is ever just about one person or another. Many of the humans enjoy singing to people on their birthdays.
posted by gjc at 5:12 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Many of the humans enjoy singing to people on their birthdays.

Waitstaff forced to crank out a proprietary "happy happy happy special occasion to you you you" that no one else knows the words to?

Who enjoys that?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:19 PM on August 17, 2011


Is it this huge transgression because his sister was in the room then?

I didn't say it was a huge transgression, but I did say it was a transgression. So I guess you've already accepted my point. Have a nice day!
posted by LogicalDash at 5:36 PM on August 17, 2011


Waitstaff forced to crank out a proprietary "happy happy happy special occasion to you you you" that no one else knows the words to?

Who enjoys that?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:19 PM on August 17 [+] [!]


There is probably only 30% of the population that enjoys the whole singing thing, but why shit on their chimichanga just because we are sad, uptight little rainclouds with sticks up our asses?

(And I say that AS a sad, uptight little raincloud with a stick up my ass. But I don't enjoy pushing my friends around, so if they want to sing, let 'em go for it.)
posted by gjc at 6:18 PM on August 17, 2011


I'm sure we all appreciate your candor, but it is also certainly possible that your parents had absolutely nothing to do with that. Can parents imprint homo- or heterosexuality on their children? No, and I guess short of actually promoting some paraphilia as being completely normal, neither can they imprint sexual preferences.

My parents and their actions had everything to do with my sexuality, as is universal in vertebrate life forms. I can be more certain of this than most of my kind because my paraphilia isn't something mushy like being gay. I can clearly remember much of it forming.

My earliest memories are of the importance of power and even the pleasure of being subject to it.

It was a sure thing that I would be a sadomasochist by the age of 5.

It was around puberty, when I was experimenting with self bondage, that I discovered through my parents' porn stash (which they knew that I knew about BTW, but that helped in their view put off the awkward moment when I might meet a girl) that female masochists existed, and it was as if a switch had flipped; I had already had quite enough of being controlled. For me sex would always be about power, but after that it would be about being the one in control.

Around the age of 13 the "masoch" dropped out of my paraphilia. I was a sadist.

I do not worry about others, parents or otherwise, wanting to rape me. The monster I worry about lives inside me. Perhaps because I met a complementary masochist in college and we hit it off the monster has been content for all my adult life. But it is there, and I had to reach a detente with it before I could enter into the negotiations with a new girlfriend who was fascinated that she had met a guy six years younger than her but oh so interested in The Story of O.

I take power relationships very, very seriously. You should too, especially if you are a parent because you have a power over your child you probably don't remember and cannot imagine. What was done to me when I was at the imprinting age (2 to 3) was not all that remarkable, but here I am. A simple slight done at the wrong time can mark a person for a lifetime.

Does that mean you should walk on eggshells? Of course not. It means you should treat your loved ones with respect.

The OP was extremely disrespectful. It derived its humor from the degree of disrespect shown. Your room isn't involate? Just say "The maid's going into your room, Brandon," and leave it at that. You don't need the youtube antics to show just how little you respect Brandon's wishes.

And for all the world: Especially considering that the parents had their accounts locked down and probably expected some privacy themselves, they are probably horrified that this has gone viral, and a cruel irony is that this obviously happened because someone in their circle of trust copied the pictures out of their access-protected sandbox onto the public internet. Whether it was a good thing or a bad thing for Brandon, I suspect he is laughing his ass off about that.
posted by localroger at 7:54 PM on August 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


localroger, I have found your perspective on this fascinating, and I appreciate you sharing it. But this:

The OP was extremely disrespectful. It derived its humor from the degree of disrespect shown

I still disagree with wholeheartedly. I don't think that disrespect is at the root of the humor. If they were actually disrespecting Brandon, it would not be funny. The funniest of these shots are not the ones that are somehow the most disrespectful, but the ones with the richest level of detail and/or ridiculousness.

Grandma and Grandpa getting it on in his bed? It's not funny because it would be the height of disrespect, but because Grandma and Grandpa were game enough to pose for the shot and let everybody imagine them fucking. Just to make their grandson laugh. Gyspies, and Mom in lederhosen, dancing to accordion music? Darth Vader killing Obi-wan? Dissolute Toy Story? It's the level of effort and creativity that went into it that makes it enjoyable.

Not everybody shares the heightened sensitivity to the power dynamic that is apparently a huge factor in your self identity and self-described paraphilia. The very term paraphilia implies that your perspective on this is outside the mainstream - that in no way delegitimizes it of course, but it does suggest that when you use the term "disrespectful" it means something different to you than it does to a lot of us.
posted by Zippity Goombah at 8:30 PM on August 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


It means you should treat your loved ones with respect.

I fail to see how barking out demands at your family like some fat roman king is treating them with respect.

It was not a request, anymore than yelling "shut up!" is a request, and it actually was equally as respectful as yelling "shut up!" Actually, yelling "shut up!" is probably more respectful, because of the inherent accusation inside. If you tell me "shut up!", there's an implicit accusation that I was making noise. If you tell me "stay out of my room!", there's an implicit accusation that I was sneaking into your room, or plotting to sneak into your room. False accusation combined with disrespectful tones are way more rude than disrespectful tones without a false accusation.

(Yes, you could yell "shut up!" at me while I'm not making any noise. That hard to believably picture scenario just ends up being exactly as respectful to as telling me "stay out of my room!" when I had no plans on going in. Either way, *best* case scenario was that his commands (not requests) were just as respectful as the phrase "shut up!")
posted by BurnChao at 8:32 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Scrolling up a bit, but not much, it looks like nobody has mentioned that the FB link shows:

This content is currently unavailable
The page you requested cannot be displayed at the moment. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.

Man, that would be so fucked up if this wasn't supposed to get into the wild.
posted by merelyglib at 9:00 PM on August 17, 2011


Yes, you could yell "shut up!" at me while I'm not making any noise.

Reid Fleming's catchphrase!
posted by benzenedream at 10:40 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


localroger, I have also found your perspective on this fascinating, and I appreciate you sharing it. A couple thoughts:

The OP was extremely disrespectful. It derived its humor from the degree of disrespect shown

I believe it is most likely that "stay out of my room" really meant something like "don't go messing with and looking through my personal stuff, reading my diary or looking through my computer files." Entrance to the room wasn't really the issue. So they violated the letter of his request, but there is no evidence they didn't honor the spirit of it. That is why it seems fundamentally good humored to me.

Re: power dynamics
I think you underestimate the extent to which you are an extreme outlier in this area. Your emphasis on power relationships and respect reminds me of prison documentaries I've seen more than anything else (GABOS). I do not believe this is the perspective that most uninstitutionalized people hold. You might argue that the same structures are everywhere in society, but in less obvious ways, but I believe that they are far less pervasive than you believe them to be, and that most people have other modes of interaction that do not prioritize them.
posted by pseudonick at 11:37 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Brandon should go into his sister's room while she's at the mall and spray a whole can of the worst, cheapest air freshener he can find all over.
posted by longsleeves at 1:01 AM on August 18, 2011


Man, that would be so fucked up if this wasn't supposed to get into the wild.

Oh, it was intentionally public for a long time until they took it down themselves.
posted by longsleeves at 1:05 AM on August 18, 2011


localroger What was done to me when I was at the imprinting age (2 to 3) was not all that remarkable, but here I am. A simple slight done at the wrong time can mark a person for a lifetime.

I don't understand what you are saying. People who suffer from sexuality aggression confusion, which seems to be what you are describing, have endured horrific childhood sexual abuse that results in their limbic system being altered.

Yet you say "a simple slight" can bring about a Paraphilia?
posted by mlis at 2:59 AM on August 18, 2011


I don't think that disrespect is at the root of the humor. If they were actually disrespecting Brandon, it would not be funny. The funniest of these shots are not the ones that are somehow the most disrespectful, but the ones with the richest level of detail and/or ridiculousness.

Well, that's at the root of the humor too; but if disrespect weren't at the root of the humor, then it wouldn't make any difference that these photos were taken in a place they weren't "allowed" to be taken.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:36 AM on August 18, 2011


Cashman family hug to every person who looks at these goofy folks and sees malice.

I don't see malice; I see a family being inconsiderate, with good intentions executed poorly.

I genuinely feel simultaneously happy that I grew up in an environment like this, and sad that other kids got mistreated so bad it still affects them today.

We have already noted that many people raising these objections were not abused at all. So your well-intentioned gesture of comfort and kindness comes off as a tut-tut, it'll be alright, run along now, the grownups are talking.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:24 AM on August 18, 2011


mlis, I am the result of an imprinting error. I was not physically abused. The imprinting mechanism isn't as sharply obvious in humans as it is in, say, precocial birds, but I am quite certain that it exists because there is no other sensible explanation for what I am. We go through an imprinting phase around the age of 2 which generally determines what our primary sexual triggers will be, and another around puberty which sharpens the focus. I can actually remember the latter. During those phases, whose significance is generally not obvious to our guardians, we imprint on whatever we are exposed to. There is a wide range of such common imprinting fuckups, and despite the para in paraphilia it is quite common for people to have an obsession with a body part like breasts or legs, fatness, the same instead of opposite sex, an oral fixation, or in my case the abstraction of power. Various forms of power fetishism are also more common than you might reckon; in my childhood it was being kidnapped and tied to the railroad tracks and staked out by Indians that were the tropes for my fetish, but for today's kids I would say it is vampires.
posted by localroger at 5:24 AM on August 18, 2011


longsleeves, exactly. For example, not giving the child under your roof the idea that his room is sovereign territory.
posted by whuppy at 5:48 AM on August 18, 2011


There is a wide range of such common imprinting fuckups, and despite the para in paraphilia it is quite common for people to have an obsession with a body part like breasts or legs, fatness, the same instead of opposite sex, an oral fixation, or in my case the abstraction of power.

If they're "common", then they're not fuckups, except at the extreme outer edges, which is what makes them paraphilias. Someone who likes boobs better than legs is not automatically a fetishist.

And "the same instead of opposite sex" - are you saying that homosexuality is an obsession/paraphilia that's the result of an imprinting error? (Because if you are, you really have some reading to do.)
posted by rtha at 5:52 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because if you are, you really have some reading to do.

I've done that reading. My conclusion, having thought about this much more than most people ever do, is that it's all imprinting. There are minor oddities such as body part or hair color preferences, major oddities such as full blown fetishes for things like latex, leather, or satin, what might be considered major errors such as targeting the wrong (or no preference) sex or furry animals, abstractions such as power or role playing, and all kinds of combinations of all of the above and more. The mechanism is exactly the same in all cases. There is no genetic contribution to any of this at all, and once the imprint has taken it is permanent and cannot be changed.

I realize that this is contrary to both of the most common theories of the particular case of homosexuality, and that enthusiastic proponents of both of those theories have evidence which they claim supports their idea. I have many reasons for reaching my own conclusion far too deep to get into here, but I will say that my biggest reasons have more to do with information theory than my personal experience.
posted by localroger at 7:58 AM on August 18, 2011


I realize that this is contrary to both of the most common theories of the particular case of homosexuality, and that enthusiastic proponents of both of those theories have evidence which they claim supports their idea. I have many reasons for reaching my own conclusion far too deep to get into here, but I will say that my biggest reasons have more to do with information theory than my personal experience.

All of which is fascinating I'm sure, but this seems to be becoming a massive one-person derail on your part that as far as I can see has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the post at hand. Respectfully, I suggest you take it to MeTa instead.
posted by zarq at 8:08 AM on August 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Yeah, well this thread became more about itself than the OP about 300 posts ago, but point taken.
posted by localroger at 8:28 AM on August 18, 2011


I have many reasons for reaching my own conclusion far too deep to get into here, but I will say that my biggest reasons have more to do with information theory than my personal experience.

Not to go all appeal-to-authority here, but I think that many, many researchers (neuroscientists, endocrinologists, behavioral scientists, biologists, etc.) would raise an eyebrow at you - or anyone - who asserts that there is A Cause - just the one! - for sexual orientation.
posted by rtha at 8:28 AM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


On failure to preview, yeah, what zarq said, I shoulda shut up about this here.
posted by rtha at 8:29 AM on August 18, 2011


So what did Brandon have to say about all this? I still have no idea.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:38 PM on August 21, 2011


« Older World peace could be closer than you think....  |  "Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments