I’ve criticized the New York Times’ Lisa Belkin plenty. So often she seems to just not work very hard or know basic facts about a topic she’s chosen. But I have no quibble with this piece (New York Times, 2/8/10).
It’s about the impossibly cute Baylen Brees, son of Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. If you saw the game and its aftermath, you saw Brees holding his son and you could read in his eyes all the love and tenderness a father has for his child. It was a truly touching moment, and Belkin saw it for what it was and appreciated it.
Check out the photo. There’s Drew, at the absolute height of his career. He’s been an athlete all his life. He played football in high school, college and for many years at the professional level. He’s better now than he’s ever been; his team made it to the Super Bowl and won; he completed 82% of his passes, and just to top it off, he’s the MVP.
But look at the photo. What’s Drew Brees doing? He’s holding his son who’s trying to catch some of the confetti falling all around him, and Drew’s trying to do that too. He’s not waving to the crowd; he’s not mugging for the cameras; his eyes are focussed on the near distance, at the confetti that delights his son.
Belkin also saw the contrast of the reality of father and son with the fiction portrayed in the innumerable advertisements that - surprise, surprise - portrayed
the usual stereotype of shallow, rude, immature males, and also a new and disturbing note — men who are beaten down by their soul-grinding family lives, submitting to hectoring wives in order to drive a Dodge Charger or washing away the indignities of being a husband and dad by showering with Dove for Men.
Good job, Lisa. That’s a comparison that I missed, but that is all too apt. The reality of fathers bears little resemblance to what our popular culture demands them to be – stupid, incompetent and uncaring. Drew Brees made that clear, at least for a moment. Let’s hope it’s a moment we all remember. Belkin’s article will help us do that.
Thanks to Sean for the heads-up.