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Beware of Dads Who Name Their Sons after Themselves?

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Guest blogger Elizabeth Kuster: The viral video "David After Dentist" made me totally cringe, because it involved a dad, David DeVore, YouTubing his then-7-year-old son when the poor kid was high as a kite after dental surgery. (Yeah, it's kinda funny watching someone who's high totally freak out -- unless they're 7!) The vid made me feel so yucky, in fact, that I boycotted the (inevitable) follow-up, "David After Dentist 2" -- which included "never-before-seen footage" of little David's pre- and post-dentist nightmare. Thanks, but no.

david devore

Then I noticed something. Little David is actually David, Jr. His camera-happy dad? David, Sr. And I wondered: Could there be a connection between Big David naming his firstborn son after himself, and the fact that he'd felt fine about putting the hapless kid on the Web for all to see? (The video has gotten almost 58 million hits so far -- and counting.) Hmm ....

I called momlogic friend Dr. Michelle Golland to get her opinion. "The video is wrong on every level," she says. "For the father to videotape a child who's in a regressed state and on medication is a weird intrusion and an invasion of privacy. And to put it on YouTube -- that's as bad as any reality-TV parent."

Amen, sister. But was naming his son after himself a red flag that David, Sr. was a big asshole egotist? "Well, that practice is common in many cultures -- Ireland, England," Dr. Golland points out. "Family legacies have been passed down via namesakes; one way families establish a sense of permanence is by naming firstborn males after their fathers. So for some -- especially in Europe -- it's tradition.

"That said, these are modern times, and this is America," she continues. "There could be a degree of narcissism involved. I mean, what mother have you ever, ever heard of who has ever named her firstborn after herself? Can you think of any? I can't, because it never happens. If it did, what an uproar we would hear!"

I informed Dr. Golland that David, Sr. had turned "David After Dentist" into a brand; that he'd copyrighted some of the things little David said while he was hopped up on goofballs and then put the "famous quotable lines" (as the website calls them) on T-shirts -- which sell for $20 a pop. The DAD website (yep, that's what it's called ! It's all about Dad!) also sports a large banner that proclaims, "We've turned our 15 minutes of fame into a family business!" (a business, by the way, that's brought in a sweet six figures so far). When the follow-up video was released, the blog trumpeted it like this: "...Viewers will not only relive the humor of the original video but will laugh all over again as they share in David's experience and hear him say new catchy phrases like 'I don't know what I'm doing' and 'Boo-Hoo!'" (What, no $1.29 iTunes podcast of the poor kid screaming? Well, maybe that's still to come.)

"The fact that David, Sr. has copyrighted some things little David said while he was under the anesthesia -- that he's making money off his child's frailties -- that's a scary thing," says Dr. Golland. "It does indicate that the child is just an extension of him, that little David isn't even his own entity, his own being. Narcissistic parents never give their kid any sense of individuality or sense of self. What David, Sr. did implies that the child has no feelings, no right of consent. The father had no compassion for what his child was going through. It's exploiting a child at his most vulnerable, when he has no say in the matter. Maybe little David feels terribly ashamed of the video being out there and everyone laughing. He may even be laughing along with his dad, just to go along with it. But laughing is not an indication that a child isn't in pain."

Per the experts, narcissistic parents "demand certain behavior from their children because they see the children as extensions of themselves, and need the children to represent them in the world in ways that meet the parents' emotional needs." In 2003, researchers Sandy Hotchkiss and James F. Masterson identified what they called "the seven deadly sins of narcissism." Do any of them apply to David DeVore, Sr.?

Let's see ....

  • Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may re-inflate by diminishing, debasing or degrading somebody else. (CHECK!)
  • Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate .... Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist will be treated as if they are part of the narcissist and be expected to live up to those expectations. (CHECK!)
  • Exploitation: This can take many forms, but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. (CHECK!)

According to CNN.com, David, Sr. got his son's permission before posting the video. "As much as he can understand, we've included him in the decision process," he said. Interesting wording there -- and it begs some other questions: 1) Just how much can a kid David's age (he's 9 now) understand the long-term fallout of starring in a viral video? And 2) What about the side effects of being praised (BIG TIME!) for being hilarious while on drugs? (FYI, the dental surgeon had given little David ketamine -- a.k.a. "Special K," a powerful hallucinogen which is often used for recreational purposes.)

The latter factoid makes me think about another famous Junior: Robert Downey. His dad, Robert Downey, Sr., is an actor/writer/director whose biggest claim to Hollywood fame is fathering his famous son -- and we all know what a hellish road the younger Downey has traveled. (A clip from the "Iron Man 2" trailer -- the movie opens on May 4th -- notes that Robert Downey, Jr.'s character "displays textbook narcisissim." Coincidence?)

I'll end with a bit of advice from Dr. Golland for little David's mom, Tessie DeVore. "I'm not sure of her role," says Dr. Golland, "but my advice to her is: Protect your child more. Don't let your child be exploited on the Internet." Couldn't have said it better myself.


next: How Will Halle's Kid Handle the Breakup?
50 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kendra May 4, 2010, 3:13 AM

I find this grossly inappropriate. one person goes on a smear campaign cause of a dentist using meds on a kid and then suddenly it’s all kids who named after their fathers are destined to be exploited and the fathers are bad people.What about the mothers who dress their little girls up in full makeup and strut them around in fashion shows or mothers who push their little girls into thinking that looks are everything if they are not beautiful they are nothing. who bounce around from man to man to man bringing them home and the little girls see this and think that’s how you are supposed to be….no these people are never called out.I have known several fathers who son’s were named after them and they were the best fathers and kids i have ever known

and as for “I mean, what mother have you ever, ever heard of who has ever named her firstborn after herself? Can you think of any? I can’t, because it never happens” how to you base this knowledge??? For i have seen mothers who have done that too…and what makes it Ok for women to be singled out as the better.Is it cause this site is mainly for women that you feed them horrible information. The only thing this article is is pointing fingers based on opinion not news.

What happened to talking to kids huh..if you really want to know how the kid feels talk to him find out how he feels about this and if he is in danger of being exploited why not have child services talk to him help the kid not write stories talking about how every person who’s kids are named jr. are a bad person.

I realized i went off a bit but seriously you can not condemn people cause of a couple bad apples.If everyone did that then we would all be at war with each other.Like if i was to boycott this site cause of this finger pointing opinionated article would make me just as bad.

unknown mom May 4, 2010, 5:38 AM

Ok, I think you are being a bit biased. I don’t think anything is wrong with a father naming his first born son after himself. As for mother’s naming their child after themselves…my daughter is named after me. Congratulations you met someone!!!!! Anyway, I have seen the video and to be honest I laughed. I remember times when my kids coming home from the dentist were very funny too. In the begining I am sure this dad did not have it in his mind to make money off of this. I bet he just thought it was funny and posted it on youtube. After it had tons of hits, maybe then he thought he could make money from it. There are other people out there in this world that are making money off of tragedies and I don’t see you writting them up on here. Take Casey Anthony’s parents for example…They are making money off of the death of little Caylee. This man didn’t do anything illegal like the balloon boy incident. He just posted something he thought was funny and it proved to be successfull. Although I don’t think I would ever put my kids on youtube like that, it does not mean he is a bad dad. I think these mothers who take their little girls to these beauty pagents and flaunt them around are a 1000 times worse. What do they get at the end of the pagent? MONEY!!! How about that show on TV? I think it’s called pagent mom’s. Now that is a show that will make you sick. Kids are not supposed to be shown off like some kind of trophy and then punished when they don’t perform to your standards, in my eyes that is way worse and in a way child abuse, but they do it all the time. How about the kids on America’s funniest home videos? One in particular comes to mind…a little girl crying her eyes out and screaming because mom, dad and big sister are going to flush the pet gold fish….or how about the video of the babies sticking things down their diapers? What are these parents hopeing for by sending in their videos? MONEY again. Should we think they are bad parents too for sending those videos in to AFV? If he sent this to AFV instead of posting it on youtube would you be up in arms about it? If you answered yes to that I guess you should boycott AFV. Before you put someone else down for posting a video he finds funny, ask yourself, was it illegal what he did? Is that kid in danger? Is dad abusing him? The answer to these questions is no. Dad did not purposly dope the kid up, The kid was not in danger and his dad is not abusing him. It’s not like he doped the kid up just to make the video. It’s completly different than the people who posted the toddler smoking a pipe. That was illegal. That was wrong. I guess my bottom line is just because this father made money off of a situation like this, does not constitute him to be a bad father, and just because he is named after his dad does not make him a nacicsist.

Shannon May 4, 2010, 6:33 AM

Unknown mom I couldn’t have said it better myself! Plus i heard that money his dad is making off of it is going towards his college. PS I post funny vidoes of my sweet lil baby on youtube too. http://www.youtube.com/user/1sweetlea

Samantha May 4, 2010, 7:48 AM

I’m pretty sure Lucille Ball named her daughter after herself. And as for naming a son after his father, we did it. And it was my idea, not my husband’s. I felt that naming my son after the wonderful man who is his father was a great tribute to a great father.

Martha Giffen May 4, 2010, 7:58 AM

I agree that what this Dad has done is an outrage. However, the fact that he named his son after himself was no indicator of what was to come!
In our extended family, we have many sons named after their fathers. It is a way to honor the father and to pass on the family names. In fact, my middle name is the same as my Mom’s. So, there ARE women who name their daughters after themselves! Don’t confuse this practice with the practice of exploiting a child. The two aren’t the same.

Hollie May 4, 2010, 8:44 AM

This bash fest annoyed me on too many levels to name.

Rosie May 4, 2010, 10:00 AM

I’ve got a headache I rolled my eyes so many times throughout that article! Personally, I don’t think the David After Dentist video is anymore exploitation than shows like “Kids Say The Darnedest Things”. Kids are cute, we like to see them doing their thing, and this was a little dental anesthetic, not like the his father slipped him some ‘shrooms and told little David to make Daddy some money! But, that’s not where my issue lies with this completely unfounded article, whether or not this is exploitative is merely a difference of views. However, giving me two examples and suggesting that it applies to the majority is absolutely unacceptable and I fear the writer needs to do a little more research before posting such biased dribble. And as for Robert Downey Jr., I’m sure the problems he had in life were solely from the fact that he was named after his father and had absolutely nothing to do with being raised while surrounded by the Hollywood Lifestyle. If you actually did your research on the other side of this, you would find that the number of successful men that were named after their fathers is quite numerous. A long list of Presidents (No, not just W.), inventors, and visionaries are Juniors. Poor Martin Luther King Jr., obviously doomed to fail after having been slated with his father’s unavoidable narcissism!!!


Missy May 4, 2010, 10:53 AM

Shorter Momlogic: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

Seriously, are you kidding me? Kids named for their fathers have assholes for Dads? Really?

Misandry is just as bad as misogyny, toots.

Jessica Gottlieb May 4, 2010, 2:33 PM

Libel much?

You couldn’t be more off base, pettier or meaner. I don’t often read MomLogic and now I see why.

Is there any moment where you thought, “oh let’s get another opinion”?

Was there ever a moment where you thought you’d maybe ask WHY the video was on the internet?

Naming your child a “Junior” is bad thing? Really? I thought it was both cultural and charming.

It’s a crap post, and if I were Elizabeth Kuster’s kid I’d be embarassed by her today.

Anon May 4, 2010, 3:36 PM

All these youtube videos are just a cheap shot at 15 minutes of fame.

jimmy, jr May 4, 2010, 4:00 PM

I’m so glad to see everyones responses are against the author of this article. I’m a jr, and I’ve named one of my sons after me……

Roger May 4, 2010, 5:58 PM

I have seen and heard of a lot of mothers who have named their daughters after them, and I didn’t hear an uproar! I think the author of this piece was looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

jennifer May 4, 2010, 9:15 PM

When was it bad to carry on family heritage. I was brought up thinking it was a good thing. My first son is carrying on the first & last name of 5 generations, with the exception of the middle name of my grandfather.

(also a note: my husband dad asked him when he 7yrs to name his son after the family, and he was killed the next day. Would I go against that, No I don’t think so.)

My 2nd son is carry on the name of my 2 great-grandfathers and uncle.

I think it shows honor, heritage, pride, respect, privilege and is really heart touching to have the name of someone you treasure.

For the dad and the video I don’t really agree with boardcasting a drug induced video of your child anywhere, because that is showing distrubing parenting behaviors. Just like the Balloon kid’s family.

I think video that don’t have drug associated states would be fine with sharing. Like spontaneous clean videos.

sarah May 4, 2010, 9:21 PM

So glad to see the other comments are right on so I don’t have to find a more eloquent way of saying, “Oh, puh-lease!”

kristen May 4, 2010, 9:46 PM

Mom logic, seriously what’s up with some of this crap you’re posting lately??

julie May 4, 2010, 10:30 PM

We also have a ‘J.R.’…..my idea; the mother;
i think you are dwelling way too much on this issue.

Josefina May 5, 2010, 8:59 AM

Glad to see no one likes this. I find it ironic that there is NO logic in this MomLogic article. Actually, better said, there hasn’t been much logic in most of what you have done lately. Seems to me like that Dad in this video is an AMAZING dad. I know A LOT of mothers that would do anything to have their kids’ fathers this involved in their children’s life.

STOP THE CAMERAS May 10, 2010, 6:43 AM

So basically everyone put down your camera’s and don’t film anything your kids do because if you do you are a bad parent! and if you decide to take videos of your kids and share them with anyone you are a bad parent too. Shame on you! That is what everyone is saying here! This is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Ever watched the show Toddlers in Tiaras? Now that is bad parenting. I don’t think this dad did anything at tll wrong. All he did was post something he thought was funny that his kid did. It was a success or you wouldn’t be talking about it.

MommaBear May 11, 2010, 11:19 AM

I find it rather ironic that a blog called momLOGIC has so many logical fallacies supporting the arguments presented in this article. Seriously, the fact that you haven’t met someone doing something does not mean it never happens. Also, knowing one or two narcissistic people who do something does not prove that it is causation rather than merely correlation. If that were true, we could say, “Narcissistic people breathe air. I breathe air. I must be narcissistic.” Besides, there are plenty of narcissists who don’t name their kids after themselves!

As for exploitation, I think he posted it because it was funny, maybe just for friends, and once it went viral he probably thought that he could profit off it to take care of his family. I don’t see the problem, especially if little David will probably get college out of the deal. I’d do the same thing, and I’m a good mom. I’d say he’s probably just proud of how cute and funny his kid is. Most parents are!

unknown mom May 12, 2010, 6:11 AM

I agree with you mommabear! Thanks! I think it is sad that these people are totally bashing him for this. It was funny and his dad has every right to be proud of his kid. As for all you bashers out there I suppose you don’t take any cute or funny pictures of your kids and show them to your friends. Congratulations to David’s father for finding a way to finance his son’s college education. If you are a basher of this let me ask you to please turn off America’s Funniest Home Video’s because you are a hypocrit(sp?) if you watch it. You are laughing at these kids on that show and you are voteing for someone to win money. So watch what you say and grow the h-e double hockey sticks up!


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