The first Sunday of 2021 was not a peaceful on Twitter. People hoping to get some extra rest in before the workweek resumes post-holidays awoke to find a number of issues to steam one’s blood. One was a controversial New York Times op-ed arguing TikToks might finally supplant the album. Another was outgoing president Donald Trump caught on tape actually committing a crime. And, on the lighter side, there was something called “Bean Dad,” which was what was really making people angry.
The story is this: Musician and podcaster John Roderick had posted a lengthy, Seth Abarahamson-sized tweet thread about what he seemed to think was a charming parenting anecdote. The TL;DR version: His nine-year-old daughter wanted a can of beans, and she asked him how to use an old-school, hand-cranked can opener. He refused.
“I said, ‘The little device is designed to do one thing: open cans,” he tweeted. “Study the parts, study the can, figure out what the can-opener inventor was thinking when they tried to solve this problem.” (Again, she’s nine.) He went back to working on a jigsaw puzzle and she eventually figured it out — after six hours, which included her bursting into tears and telling him, ‘I hate you.’”
You can read the epic beginning here.
Roderick clearly thought it was a cute lesson in parenting in the 21st century, when technology has robbed us of the more simple pleasures in life, such as killing our dinner with our bare hands in the woods. Many, however, did not see it that way. Some responses were simple and direct.
me after seeing why "She's 9" and "Six Hours" is trending pic.twitter.com/AojmYUQUgF
— Jamius (@freelanceburner) January 3, 2021
Some questioned his reasoning.
My imaginary daughter ( She's 9 ) asked me to make scrambled eggs so I told her to read a chemistry textbook to understand the dynamics of heat, then the dumb idiot asked me where the pan was so I said that she should draw a map of the house to navigate better and leave me alone.
— Hunter Keegan ☯️ (@HHKeegan) January 3, 2021
Or ID’d what kind of dad he is.
The main lesson you've taught her is to let men treat her like shit, to work for their love and approval, and never fully believe that she deserves to get even her simplest needs met. If I was your partner and found out you'd done this, you'd be dumped and thrown out by now.
— Shambolic Newyeartral – and also Graham Linehan (@BradfemlyWalsh) January 3, 2021
This entire thing reminds me of my dad and his "fed you, clothed you, sent you to school. I did my duty as a father you have to love me" bullshit. This kid just learned that a jigsaw puzzle is more important than she is.
— PenQuinnFrog (@intelfrog) January 3, 2021
Some wanted to fight him, were such a thing safe nowadays.
we need a vaccine so I can go fight Bean Dad
— Sophia Benoit (@1followernodad) January 3, 2021
Some sort of, but not really, took his side.
I don’t think the Bean Dad is child abuse I just think he’s insufferable
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) January 3, 2021
Or demonstrated actual parenting.
Ok fuck it, inspired by bean dad:
While there is a LOT we don’t know about education, we DO know he most effective way for one individual to teach another individual a task.
Step 1: explain the task
Step 2: Demonstrate the task
Step 3: Have them attempt the task
— Jen A. Blue (@Froborr) January 3, 2021
Or pointed out what he instead actually taught her.
Things you taught your kid:
– food must be earned
– disordered eating in the forms of food hoarding and punishing herself by not eating
– asking for help is futile
I’m not done yet….
— Racheline Maltese (@racheline_m) January 3, 2021
Some pointed out that she is not going to look back on this moment of tough love parenting and virality kindly in the future. Or now.
your reaction to the bean dad is a great litmus test for whether you’ll be confused or not when you kid stops talking to you someday
— christina (@floozyesq) January 3, 2021
playing a game of clue to figure out who killed bean dad and it turns out it was his daughter in the kitchen w the can opener
— Dana Donnelly (@danadonly) January 3, 2021
But surely one day she’ll have her revenge.
Some day, Bean Dad is going to need her help with technology, or end of life care, and she will have her revenge.
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) January 3, 2021
And then there were those that worried that “Bean Dad” would get eclipsed by that aforementioned smoking gun Trump tape.
i’m a little concerned the trump phone call is starting to pull focus from the bean dad discourse
— my pal andy (@andylevy) January 3, 2021