I appreciated Jen Senko's advice in this week's "Savage Love" on how to talk to friends/family who are addicted to FOX news. However, when I visited the site she recommended—hearyourselfthink.org—it just asked me for money. It looks like a for-profit special interest group, and I had a hard time finding practical advice anywhere on the site. Their Twitter feed is pretty angry itself, just from an opposite-to-FOX point of view. Senko's documentary looks great, and I'm glad that they're getting support for it. I will see it if it comes around here. But the website she recommended was disappointing. I will have to look elsewhere for advice on how to handle my Mom's obsession with Fox News.
Daughter Risks Estrangement And Distance
I'm sorry you were disappointed by hearyourselfthink.org, DREAD, but needn't look any farther than today's SLLOTD for some bonus advice on handling a parent with a Fox News problem.
Hey, Faggot (that's how long I've been reading your column, Dan),
My parents live 800 miles away in a red flyover state while I am happily enjoying an East Coast urban alt life. I have had a serious Fox News challenge with dad for years, here are the things I've done that helped the situation:
1. At one point I sat him down and said: "Dad, I love you, and much of my life you've been gone—in the military, as a pilot, now as a truck driver. I feel like I've spent much of my life waiting for you to come home, and I have found a way to accept that's who you are, and I love you for it. But since you've been driving, and listening to conservative talk radio on the road, I have a big problem, because for the first time, now when you come home, I no longer like the guy who walks in the door. You're so angry and now when we talk, it's you just repeating what you heard on talk radio. I can't connect with you when you're like that, and I think it makes you unhappy to listen so much to that stuff. I know the day will come when you're not here any more. I'd really like to enjoy the time we have left together. What can we do to find you some other things to keep you company on the road?"
From that point forward, he began listening heavily to books on CD from the library. Still some right-wing stuff, but with a whole lot less emotional heat than a screaming radio show.
2. After enduring another long phone rant one night, in which he called me an ignoramus for not sharing his views, I told both him and mom that the next time it happens, I'm going to safeword out. I'm going to just announce something like: "I love you but I can't take this anymore," and hang up on him. I will be happy to talk to him when he has cooled off. I explained that I don't want to hang up on my father for the first time in my life, but the ranting is painful to me. Since I announced the safeword two years ago, I haven't needed to use it. (Thank you, Dan, for teaching me the power of my presence in my parents' lives.)
3. I realized that in the red state where dad lives, there's just not much good media. I know he respects the BBC, so now for Christmas every year I give him a print subscription to The Economist, a British publication. He actually reads and enjoys it, and the first time he quoted an Economist article to me, we had a good conversation and I was ecstatic. It has gone a long way toward creating a balanced enough view that he no longer feels the need to save my Democratic soul.
4. I got the parents an iPhone like mine, put them on my plan, and arranged for them to take user classes through the provider. Now they use FaceTime to walk me through his garden and home projects, showing me the progress, showing me what's in bloom, sharing the little joys of daily life that we otherwise miss being far apart. The phone cost about as much as one airplane ticket home and it has given us many other things to talk about and now we can connect in much more meaningful ways.
Dutiful Anti-fox Daughter's Secrets
Thanks for sharing, DADS.