Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not Your Father's Fatuous Phrase

The overused phrase concerning pops that "this is not your father's______" annoys particularly because nothing ever is. Nobody is their father's father or has his experiences.

A father's role is always evolving. Among other changes in this generation, they have to come to terms with society (and maybe a spouse, kids or even themself) recognizing they might be the bread-butterer in the home, not the breadwinner outside of it. There's also an increase in the number of places fathers can get together at programs and conferences to learn how to be their best self.

And each dad is and will be a father in his own way (and never exactly like his father). Going back in time to the shooting of the 1980s campaign that introduced the TINYF's blank cliche into the lexicon offers an interesting lesson in fatherhood. Wiliam Shatner — whose own father was a conservative Jewish clothier in Montreal — starred in one of earliest segments of the "This Is Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" campaign with Melanie Shatner, the youngest of his three daughters. During a downtime early in the morning he was overheard offering his daughter the fatherly advice about the good that comes from amphetimines while shooting commercials at such an ungodly hour, as well as why you sometimes have to put up with duct tape over your breasts.

With any luck we'll get to retire the phrase, because if it is happening today it is never your father's blank (unless it actually is your father's and then let's try to not make quite such a fuss).

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