A better man than I

Pope Francis, when asked about the fate of the GLBTQ individuals, once said, “who am I to judge.” I am not a religious person, and am extremely suspicious of any kind of organized religion. But you have to admire the humility of the man. I have no such humility.

What comes to mind when you think of the pinnacle of civilization?

This? Brahms

This? Pieta

This Guy? Habermas

Now, consider the antithesis of the combined cultural significance of the above and you come up with this. Holderness Family.

The Holderness family’s videos and web-personas, embody the cult of personality spawned by the Internet. Their cringe inducing videos are “watched by millions” as one can read in almost all of the Internet-News stories about them. Never-mind the fact that the number of views for anything on the Internet is meaningless. The wife wrote a story for Today.com about all the mean comments they received online. It is quite right to call those comments mean if they attack the family with the intent to harm. The people/trolls that give them such attention are equally as useful to society & culture as the family’s videos. But am I not doing the same thing? Perhaps. But no one reads this blog and it is my only outlet for writing that will not be judged by my peers or professors. So.

“We did not do this to get famous.” Hokum. These people are cut from the same cloth as those who film their surprise Disney Vacation videos, who only afterward realize that the publicity surrounding these acts received their genesis from some marketing executive at Disney. This is purely a guess, but those videos likely end in disaster for parents. Kids do not like surprises like that, but oh the possibility of our video going viral is so tempting.

The Holderness website is a compilation of narcissism that would make Nero blush. They have a post on “how to out-do Santa” with a gift list. The list itself is composed of items that will surely have people asking you, “but oh, where did you get that idea!” Shockingly, all the items listed, with two exceptions, link to Amazon. The other two commerce sites have referral programs. A common method of online revenue generation is for people, such as the Holdernesses, to link to e-commerce sites and receive a portion of the sales.

They even have a podcast that is meant to make you think. After listening to a podcast episode for ~12 minutes the only thought in my mind was, “dear God, how many self-referring personal pronouns do these people use in a day?” A future project/time-waster will be to find a transcript of any of their shows and run them through NVIVO.

They are exploiting their children. While their kids undoubtedly agree to be in these productions of self-absorbed narcissism, they cannot possibly understand the future impact. Unless the grid is entirely destroyed through an EMP, or some other kind of disaster, the Internet will live on forever. What was silly/cute at ages 5-11 can become lethal weapons of bullying in later life. This is nothing to say of the issue of consent to participate between parents and children.

But to keep Pope Frank in mind, who am I to judge. I know nothing of their truly personal lives which undoubtedly drive their pathology for attention. This post is not meant to criticize the family, who are likely nice people. Nice, but incredibly tacky. The issue is that these people are quasi-famous for absolutely no reason.



About Nicholas Wyant

I am the Head of Social Sciences at Indiana University Wells Library. I am responsible for Political Science, Criminal Justice & Social Work. In addition to my subject areas I also study student's interaction with technology. Recently, I have altered my methods from a sociological perspective to an anthropological one.
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