There’s a good chance if you receive – or give – a Father’s Day card this weekend, Dad will be portrayed as a farting, beer-obsessed, tool-challenged buffoon who would rather hog the TV remote, go fishing or play golf than be with the kids.
Such cards are top sellers among the 87 million Father’s Day cards that will be given this year. But just who are these dads, and what decade are they from?
The cards are “about grilling – there are a bunch of those – or handyman stuff,” Peter Walker, 26, said as he shopped in the greeting card aisle at a Rockville CVS this week.
The dad-as-buffoon cards seemed “corny and stereotypical,” too, he said. “I don’t think my dad’s a buffoon. Quite the opposite.”
The greeting card image of Dad as lazy, incompetent boob is increasingly out of sync with today’s fathers, many of whom spend as much time packing lunches and helping with homework as their own fathers spent in the Barcalounger.
But stereotypes sell, greeting card companies say. The Father’s Day bestseller for NobleWorks Cards, a New Jersey-based publisher, says, “Keep Calm We Found the Remote.” The next bestseller shows kids surrounding Dad as he opens a card misspelled as “Happy Farter’s Day.” The third-biggest seller shows “The Evolution of Dad” from ape to caveman to a guy hunkered down in front of the TV.
An informal Washington Post survey of local drugstores found dozens of cards based on images of beer, golf, a fishing pole, a TV, a recliner, caveman, hapless handyman or a fart joke.
Paul Raeburn, author of the new book “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked,” said he’s found bungling dad cartoons dating to the 1920s, long before Homer Simpson began belting out his forehead-slapping “Doh!”