Father's Day Rant and a message of honor

PerryMarketing Blog, Not on Homepqage107 Comments

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There’s no better day than Father’s day to publicly acknowledge:

Sometimes dads get the short end of the stick.

I remember when I was about 11 years old I bought a hilarious issue of MAD magazine. You know, MAD – the satire mag with the picture of Alfred E. Newman on the cover.

One particular article was mocking the media, and had this cartoon of the typical dad as he’s usually portrayed on TV:

A bumbling idiot guy is stooped down in the kitchen, peering into the oven with his hand on the temperature knob of the stove. And he’s saying, “Jeepers honey, I can’t seem to find channel 4 on the Teee-Veee.”

Yep…. the comedians give you a more accurate picture than the news does, most of the time.

Consistently, dads are portrayed on TV as stupid. They’re dumber than mom, dumber than their mistress, dumber than the mouthy teenage kids, dumber than the plumber.

My kids have “Berenstain Bears” books that we read at bedtime. In these books, Papa Bear usually says stupid things and Mama Bear usually corrects him.

Portraying husbands and dads as helpless fools is so common, most of us don’t even notice it anymore.

Or how about that old feminist slogan, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”?

What a thoroughly slanderous thing to say. I fail to see the humor. How is that any less insulting than, say, calling someone a nigger?

Our culture freely and gleefully tears down men. It forges their greatest strengths and highest aspirations into weapons that are used against them.

And my job today, Father’s day in the United States, is to set the record straight.

Men are not fools nor are they pigs or idiots.

Millions of men labor long hours for their wives and families and make great sacrifices for their loved ones. They set aside their personal agendas every day at 6 or 7am and drive to work and take great pride in caring for their families. They come home after dark and do it all over again the next day.

Many a man is too busy providing for his family and attending to his responsibilities, to try to argue with some bitter magazine columnist or college professor who labels him as ‘unnecessary.’

The fact that he IS necessary, and that people DO depend on him in a very real way, is actually the source of his greatest pride. It’s inseparable from his identity: At his core, he understands himself as the #1 defender and provider of those whom he loves.

So why am I saying all this to you today?

Not to put down people who put down men; not to nurse a grudge; but rather to say that on Father’s day we need to take a minute and untangle some of the lies and hurtful things that are said about men.

Because 97% of the time, they’re not true.

These lies must be untangled so that the truth can be spoken and received:

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If you are a man, a husband, a father, a provider, YOU are worthy of honor and today is the day the world honors you. Today I honor you for what you do, even though much of the time it may feel like a thankless job.

THANK YOU for doing what you do.

And also, whether you are a man or a woman, a grandpa or a teenager, there is probably some *other* man in your life that deserves an embrace or an email or a phone call or a text message – some small token of thanks and honor for being who he is and doing what he does.

It’s a day for all of us to honor each other for the ways that we serve.

Now if you are a man and an entrepreneur then you sometimes have TWO thankless jobs not one. Jobs which are often directly at odds with each other.

And… if you’re a *struggling* entrepreneur then you have a triple whammy: The challenges of the two jobs and the tension between the two… combined with injury to your pride because you have not been able to provide as well as you dearly dream of providing.

Not many people understand how deeply that moves you sometimes. It’s a private hurt, for the most part.

Please remember, it is a hurt that comes from the noblest of intentions and the highest of aspirations.

Sometimes men and entrepreneurs alike are judged by other people as just being selfish.

Sometimes our best efforts to give are misconstrued as attempts to take.

All men struggle with this. You and me both. You’re not alone.

Let me tell you a little story….

I’ve got this little group of friends at my church that sometimes gets together for the sole purpose of praying and… just listening.

Listening to what the Still Small Voice may have to say.

Waiting until something is heard, until Wisdom presents herself.

Sometimes those meetings are pretty quiet. Sometimes there are long stretches of silence. It’s a strange and special thing.

On one particular day I was seeking wisdom about this very question – what to do with this feeling that, sometimes, my own best efforts to give have been misconstrued by others as attempts to take.

I wait and listen for awhile and after some time goes by, the answer comes back: “People do that to Me all the time. They interpret My best efforts to give as attempts to take. This is an experience you and I both share, together.”

Wow. A Father and a son having empathy for each other. Sharing that mutual experience and bonding together, within that experience. How human that is, yet… how supernatural.

So yes, today I acknowledge with you that shared experience. I celebrate you and we all celebrate Father’s Day and give HONOR to dads. Dads who, even in all our imperfections, strive and sacrifice to give the very best to those we love.

Seize the Day.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

107 Comments on “Father's Day Rant and a message of honor”

  1. Perry,
    Just wanted to say I 100% agree with you about your Fathers article and Fathers Day and how under rated the role is. I am new to it myself (being father of 8 week old baby and new 15yr old step son) and all of a sudden my priorities changed big time. I work my ass off for my family and I will always do so.
    Dropping you a note to say “Spot on Perry”

  2. My Father in law sent me an email of this article on Father’s day. I have to admit that I missed the email and have read it today for the 1st time. I am learning about internet marketing, but striving to offer as much value and originality as possible and I am working hard! Perry, your message hit home to me that I am not being selfish. I am giving in the hope that I can give back to my family and to those who truly need help. I have been told several times to “give it up” and get a job. Neither is easy to do these days and my heart is fixed on internet marketing.

    Thank you for validating my efforts and heart in the matter through this article.

    btw. I too have noticed the father bashing that has been rampant in the media, etc. I came across this Scribd article (book) The FRANKFURT SCHOOL CULTURAL REVOLUTION By Arnaud de Lassus at, The Frankfurt School Cultural Revolution. It sheds some light on a very credible reason why fathers are “put down” in society and our media.

  3. Everyone commenting on Perry using the word ‘nigger’ have proved his point better than he alone could have…

    “The White Man’s Burden” – as they call it in comedy.

    It is completely unacceptable for white males to make fun of any other group… but completely acceptable for them to be made fun of.

    What bullshit.

  4. Perry, thank you for putting into words what I’ve been noticing for decades. Men are getting no respect. I do not want a world where men are not allowed to lead. It doesn’t mean that I will follow every man, but I will respect the men in my life for who there are. Our culture has been emasculating men for too long. When is it going to stop?

  5. Perry,
    Wow! Great post. I feel sorry for the guy that opted out after your last post…he missed a great one. You truly are a light in a dark world. I love you and appreciate you.

  6. Thanks Perry for the great FATHER’s DAY rant and HONOR. Your understanding and willingness to communicate the True needs and Essence of a Father was so refreshing. Keep up your natural and unique way of helping others ! You’re the Best ! Matthew

  7. I agree with those that objected to the “N” word. It does not apply to this message, and is inappropriate. That being said, the message itself is valid. No one believes me when I tell them why I never have, and never will, watch “The Simpsons”.

  8. Perry, this is SO TIMELY, no seriously it is. It says so much of what I can’t say right now because I still have a lot garbage I’m dealing with. I’ve been meaning to ask you again and this post is SO TIMELY to ask, can you tell me what the christian counseling meetings you went to? I’m seeking a lot of answers right now. Thanks.

    Oh, one other thing regarding the N word. It takes guts to say it like it is. I think that’s part of many problems we face, or rather don’t face until it’s too late. From time to time we all need to be rattled out of our comfort zones and mental boxes we build. I’m trying to avoid the it’s too late factor. I’m worth something. We all are because we were created for a purpose. Too many times we as fathers and entrepreneurs get caught up in a perfect storm of criticism and need some help navigating it. Thanks again. I must go now because I need to forward this to someone else. Thanks.

    1. Edwin,

      Best counseling resources I have found: Bethel Sozo created in Redding CA (many churches are using it around the world) and Theophostic Prayer. Excellent and effective.


    2. A note to everyone about my use of the “N Word”:

      As you can see, some people heartily agree. Other people think I went too far.

      Those who think I went too far have a made point. You may also have missed mine. Which is:

      NO ONE should consider it acceptable for anyone to say “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Or “men are pigs.” Or any of that other trash-talk. It’s hatred. It’s prejudice. It devalues human beings.

      The N Word devalues human beings to the point where some people feel I should not even be allowed to use it – even when I’m making a point AGAINST all hate speech.

      At the end of the day I hope I’ve shocked people out of their complacency. Hatred of men, women, black people, white people, Chinese people, Jews, Mexicans or anybody else hurts ALL of us.

      If you don’t like me using the N word and you’re willing to write me and tell me that (dissent is welcome here!), then do us all a favor and also write people like Gloria Steinem and tell them their hate speech is likewise unacceptable.

  9. Thanks for setting the record straight Perry. I lost my Dad in ’82 and have had to make my way by imagining what advice my Dad would be giving me if he was still here. I try to live my life remembering the stuff he taught me, and so far (29 years later) I think he’d be proud of me.
    So, thanks again Perry and Happy Fathers Day to you.

  10. Partially i agree with you according the the statements
    you have given of your dad and cartoon, funnily enough
    the cartoon must have been interesting if it were my
    wish horses then you would better post it on your for
    us to see especially me, you talked about Dads day!!!!
    HI to dad say with lack as you enjoy the days!!

  11. You are one of the few marketers that actually send email without sales offers or sales links in them. This makes you outstanding in my opinion. It also makes me trust you. But why I really trust you is I agree with what you make a stand on. Like today’s Fathers day post.

    Glad to know you! Thanks for sharing not selling.
    Living by Biblical principles is sooooo Great!

    Big hugs from one of your fans.

  12. Your comparison of men being torn down in media to the use of the “N” word is so completely ridiculous, and I’m surprised you’re not being completely flamed here for it. While I agree with you that the male gender is largely demonized in the media as being predators, and for being responsible for so many of society’s ailments, I cannot agree with your use of that word, a word which represents so many years of hate and oppression. Yes, men get the short end of the stick in so many ways, but let’s not forget that we have so many opportunities available to us, and we are largely made fun of in much the same way that others in positions of power are routinely made fun of.

  13. Your post resonated with me because of it’s truth on multiple levels. It’s so refreshing to be validated as a father and provider — it rarely happens in our society now. Thank you!

  14. My dad was a pioneer “stay-at-home-dude,” by choice. He’s the hardest worker you’ll ever meet and I know he struggled with his role a bit, but I hope he’ll someday understand just how much value he truly added to our family. (I tell him every chance I get, but he thinks I’m “just saying it to be nice.”) I couldn’t put into words how much I valued always having him around, especially when I was in high school.

    He’s now set the stage for my husband and brother who both became SAHDs this year so my sis-in-law and I could pursue our e-neur dreams. They work VERY hard to support us…in non-traditional ways.

    I’ve ALWAYS felt I was blessed to know a lot of wonderful men in my life…from my grandfathers, father, brothers, cousins, uncles, high school & college friends (one of whom became my husband), and now my Roundtable colleagues…they are ALL gentlemen of the highest order!

    Nice post, Perry.

  15. I’ve been saying the same thing about how fathers are seen in our culture, but I think you’ve expressed it more powerfully than I ever could have.

    In fact, I teared up a little while reading your words.

    Thanks for your bold stand in defense of dads…and of truth.

  16. Hey Perry,

    Happy Fathers Day to you too, my brother in Christ.

    That was an awesome post. Thanks for taking the time to write it all out, an for acknowledging us fathers and giving the credit and respect that is so well deserved.

    Have an Awesome Fathers Day,


  17. Great topic and so appropriate. We all want to “matter” and it isn’t gender connected. The reality is we are all connected as human beings and recognizing the brilliance in each of us is where we should focus. My Dad is 94 and my Mom is 91. I am blessed beyond measure to still have both parents. (Married 72 years)

    Loved the part about listening and being still. We need more “being” and less “doing”.


  18. Happy Father’s Day to you and all the Dads. I was blessed to have a wonderful Father, four fabulous brothers, uncles and many many male friends. I think men are one of Gods Greatest Gifts to the world.

  19. At a very young age I found the term to be offensive and highly insulting. Yes, there are lots of ignorant Black Americans who use the word, they also wear their pants below their underwear and think guns solve problems. These are the people who garner most of the media attention. In my circle of friends, the word is not used.

  20. My wife and I noticed this same prevailing attitude.

    First time it happened is when we were planning our wedding. Our experience of the whole custom of planning a wedding seemed to be to marginalize the man. My dad described it as, “just tell me what to wear and when to show up.” Vendors, in-laws, clergy/officiants all seemed bent on segregating my wife and swaying her decision.

    Sadly, for them, I had as much input on the vision for our wedding as my wife did. We had a message we wanted to convey. We saw our wedding as our opportunity to speak and share our vision of family. So, with great friction with that cultural vision. I was heavily engaged.

    Fast forward to having a baby. Same thing. The culture of having a baby also sought to marginalize me, the father and husband. In their experience, my role was, “Sperm-donor.”

    And just like the poor saps who tried to diminish my role in my own wedding. Those poor folks who thought a husband/father’s place is on the couch OUTSIDE, were forced to tolerate my engagement as well.

    Sure this isn’t the 1950s and Men are more welcome in the wedding planning and birthing room, but the echoes of that position are very much present.

    To all those dads out there . . .
    Happy Fathers Day!

  21. Hi Perry,
    I am a wife and mother of 6, I also work outside the home. I could not do what I do without the rock that is my husband. I am sick of hearing women put their men down. While they have options, men are expected to ‘do the right thing’ and go to work and support their families. It is expected and not admired as a sacrifice of what they may wish to do with their lives. Thank you to all the men out there, for being the wonderful people that you are. You deserve to be told everyday how much you do for your families.

  22. Perry, God bless you for writing something that was positive and uplifting. We hear way too much of the negative put-downs that ‘sometimes are deserved’ but don’t produce anything good. Yes, 98% of the men that I know are trying to do their best to accomplish what they feel they are suppose to do and almost all of them feel inadequate and need the positive uplifting like you gave us today. – Thank you!

  23. Amen Perry. I’ve long lamented that culutural feminism has swung the pendulum far past equality and on into punishment.

    Sure, lots of men are oafish, stupid, lazy boors…just as lots of women are conniving, insecure, harpies (I don’t know that I’ve ever used that word in a sentence before!)- yet to paint the whole of the sex based on the qualities of a part of that sex is unjust…even 4 year olds know that.

    One distasteful ad from a few years ago was for a car ad where the husband is driving in and the wife is sullenly furious…to which the husband snivels “I’m sorry…are you still mad at me?” Of course we’re shown that she was still going to punish this poor Milquetoast for quite some time.

    Could you imagine the furor if they reversed the roles and had the wife grovelling for her husband’s forgiveness?! Bah!

    I’m raising my sons to understand all that’s good and right about being a Man:
    Strength doesn’t mean oppression.
    Self-sufficiency isn’t about being un-cooperative.
    Toughness isn’t about combat.
    Protection isn’t about fear.
    Providing isn’t about lack.
    Responsibilty isn’t about guilt.
    Leading isn’t about following.

    and about a million more…

  24. Wow that was deep. I hardly ever comment on blogs but I have to for this one.

    This was right on time. I believe that men are always seen to be stupid in the media or any type of gathering.

    It’s very insulting.

    I was in church today on which is Father’s day and the Bishop made a comment about men that I believed was really just stupid and wrong.

    He said MOST MEN don’t listen they just yell. I’m an economics major so this really insulted me because I know he doesn’t know MOST MEN.

    Before I studied marketing I used to wonder why the media or influential people used to degrade men so much as being stupid and ridiculing men for who they are.

    But then I learned why. It’s because of their market. They know the majority of their market is women. Sometimes very bitter and single women who have been hurt by men; and that’s the way to get the women’s attention. Unfortunately, quite often the women end up getting used as well by the same people who ridicule the men.

    It’s really heart touching to know that we are still appreciated for our hard and selfless work!

  25. Fathers Day for me was a double celebration since my birthday was two days ago. I got four tickets to the Cirque du Soeil, Totem show under the big tent for my girlfriend, my 14 year old son and my 19 year old daughter.

    At the last minute, my son who was dragging out getting ready, decides that he does not want to go. My son, who skips school, does poorly in school says he is going to study and do homework. (On a beautiful day when he has played computer video games is hard to believe he is going to study.

    Anyhow we have to rush now because we are late. On the way there I am fuming and talking about the problems with my son, his attitude …. The show was amazing, my daughter delightful. She is going to take me out to the restaurant of my choice when she starts her new job in two weeks.

    My girlfriend has her hair styled more beautiful than I have ever seen her before. She looks gorgeous.

    When I get home, my some has three pages of homework printed out much to my surprise. This might be the best Fathers Day present I get.

  26. Happy Father’s Day Perry,
    Commenting as a woman and a mother, yes, I do get tired of men being portrayed as eternally stupid, usually when it comes to household duties, which still mostly is the woman’s domain. I would be just as stupid looking at an engine block and wondering where I put the car key. And I don’t know how to cut grass, never had to do it.
    As one woman commented, women have endured negative portrayals for years, but is turnabout really fair play? What does it accomplish?
    My husband has been unemployed for a long time and has taken up the household duties quite nicely, and without complaining. He just does what needs to be done.
    We should all just give credit due to whomever it belongs to and appreciate them, men or women!

    1. Christine,

      You said it all, when you said this… ‘but is turnabout really fair play? What does it accomplish?’

      If we ALL just do what needs to be done for the betterment of OUR lives the world would be almost perfect. It’s not about getting even or revenge or even being fair. It’s about making life better for everyone. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

  27. Perry,

    One of your best ‘rants’ that I’ve ever read. It shines the light on a epidemic that is subtly introduced to society in a ‘funny’ method. But it’s not that funny. It’s obvious in today’s world that there’s less respect for men and authority. The media makes men look like a joke, and the ones that do stand up and try to lead… well someone usually finds something to criticize about that too. Your statement about being a father and (struggling)entreprenuer really hit home. But I’m not quitting. There are still MEN like you, me and I’m assuming most of the ones that had the balls to respond to this post, that know what our jobs and responsibilities are… and we will stop at NOTHING!

  28. WOW Perry,

    I have read your post several times – it has really blown me away.
    This section especially:

    “Now if you are a man and an entrepreneur then you sometimes have TWO thankless jobs not one. Jobs which are often directly at odds with each other.

    And… if you’re a *struggling* entrepreneur then you have a triple whammy: The challenges of the two jobs and the tension between the two… combined with injury to your pride because you have not been able to provide as well as you dearly dream of providing.

    Not many people understand how deeply that moves you sometimes. It’s a private hurt, for the most part.

    Please remember, it is a hurt that comes from the noblest of intentions and the highest of aspirations.

    Sometimes men and entrepreneurs alike are judged by other people as just being selfish.

    Sometimes our best efforts to give are misconstrued as attempts to take.

    All men struggle with this. You and me both. You’re not alone.”

    Thank you for saying that out loud for all of us! Yes, it feels as though we toil and struggle all alone and then have it misunderstood.

    I did not have a relationship with my father and have tried to be a good father. I have made my share of mistakes but like you said, I get up every day and do what I have to do(in many ways).

    Thank you so much, again, for saying it – I think we all feel that we are alone in what we feel and it really is a silent thing. The part about how what we do is mistaken for being selfish really hit me – boy have I been made to feel that.

    I am glad that others feel it (I am not alone) but I am not glad that we all have to feel it in the first place.

    Perry, and everyone else here, I wish you a very happy Father’s day. Thank you.


  29. Wow, white men are finally having to deal with stereotypes and mistreatment that the rest of us (e.g. women, homosexuals, and people of any other ethnic group) have had to deal with for centuries.

    Welcome to our world.

  30. Perry very well said. I remember years ago a teammate in College shared that we are suffering from a crisis of male leadership in this Country. Never been more true than today. Your post expands on this. Very very well said.

    Personally, for myself I work with young kids Coaching youth football. This will be my 9th year.

    I learned in the first month of my first season,that this is much more than the game. We indeed are mentoring young boys into men.

    And as such that makes sense. Until I realized that many of these young boys do not have Fathers. I encourage all men to share your talents not just at home. But with our children. In order to do that you first must get straight with your own values and beliefs. And then share this with our youth.

    They need to know that Men care.


  31. I’m a little less insulted by the “common” portrayal you strongly oppose. I’m 50 and over the years, and well before the age of 30, I’ve come to realize that men can be such total pigs. Violent, degrading, less than reliable (at home) and many other things throughout history that at times I’m a little ashamed to be a man. Personally, I’m not afraid to admit, I’d be totally lost in this world if not for the woman I was blessed to have love me for who I am.

    Her two previous husbands were jerks, hit her, their daughters, and made their lives miserable. They are not alone in this behavior. Yeah men are “complex” they want to have sex with everything, some dead or alive, they want to be “King” and they will step on anybody to get those things! Yeah, a lot of us are just plain loving, hard-working and less than mature in our efforts. However, I’ve always believed that media is an expression of reality more than fiction.

    God Bless the Women. I love em for not getting rid of us already. Thanks for the essay and the opportunity to “rant” back.

    Happy Father’s Day to those who deserve it. Just remember, anyone with a penis can be a father, it takes a whole lot more to be a DAD!

  32. Thank you. The not-so-obvious discrimination against fathers in our society needs to be exposed. Again, thank you.

  33. Perry, gr8 post. Long overdue that someone countered the Hollywood-inspired nonsense of the doofus dad. Men are simple creatures, yes (certainly in comparison with women) but should still be accorded the kind of respect you say. More strength to your arm, man :)

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