Al-Jazeera called me from Qatar about 30 minutes before the beginning of the Golden Globes broadcast. They had live-interviewed me twice before, and I suppose I had done well enough to warrant a third invite. Al Jazeera wanted to put me on the air during the broadcast, at about 6:30pm California time. I said yes, although my wife and I were about to use our house to throw a friend a surprise 50th birthday party. That all went fine. He was surprised! We ate the delicious dinner and I brought out the cake with 50 flaming candles at 6:00. I had to be quick.
I have two kids, one autistic. On another day, he might have been tee-tee-tee-ing all over the house. Yesterday, he was feeling sick. I guess that was lucky for Al Jazeera. Our other kid, our 5-year-old, Rainier (Razor), seemed happy in his room. We even let him take a screen up there to make sure he remained distracted.
I went into my office to get ready for the interview. I was mentally running through my #metoo and #timesup talking points. I told them that the screen looked too blurry, but the Al Jazeera producer said it was enough for broadcast. I tried to wipe the camera on my end…hated it. But I thought it wouldn’t really matter much. I, uh, was wrong.
I waited for over 15 minutes for the interview to start. Why oh why didn’t Razor come in then? I could have shooed him away, then.
But a minute later, the interview began, and about thirty seconds after that, Razor walks right through the office door. My eyes went crazy. I’m on live TV! Which went like…
But I went to bed without ever expecting that Al Jazeera would make anything of it. I didn’t know they’d say they had a BBC moment. (Is that an upgrade or a downgrade in this case?) But they said it all right. They promoted it like…
And then someone from the Today Show emailed me, which turned into…
Someone on YouTube was nice enough to say “FATHER OF THE YEAR!” with a YouTube video. I know it’s only YouTube, but still..
And then the BBC. It’s nice because people were saying “BBC Dad 2?” So I liked the BBC weighing in, in their nice way, which was…
Plus a place called carbonated TV (I like them!) said
And then CNN! Donald Trump’s most hated channel! That’s worth something right there. That went a *little* something like…
Heard from friends far and wide. That was lovely.
The most “likes” I’ve ever had for a tweet was when some jerk told Nancy Sinatra that his dad would have voted for Trump, she rebuked him, he was eerily quiet, and I tweeted “These bots aren’t made for talking.” That got something like 450+ likes. Second-most was this Al Jazeera Dad thing. It looked like…
Or like this.
And it was all capped off by a friendly email from the Chronicle! SFGate! The paper that raised me. I love it. The eventual story went like…
I was featured in the Chron’s “Today’s Top Picks”! I was at least the #7 trending story at one point! On a day when people were busy talking about Trump’s latest follies and what Oprah would do to stop them…crazy.
Good thing I’m between semesters! Of course, this didn’t exactly help my book deadlines…
Now, in all the flurry of activity, there wasn’t time to correct every word. I told everyone I was an adjunct professor, but sometimes that got shortened to “professor.” Razor probably isn’t a toddler anymore, but hey, fair enough, he looks like one. I never said I worked for UC Berkeley, but I do live there, so that gets confusing. I’m not sure I deserve the honor of being the “Al Jazeera Dad.” I’m not even sure I was properly “viral” by real standards. I certainly don’t want to add to any fake news. But through all the blur and questionable terms, an essence pokes through, and you get that.
I…really don’t mind this. I have sometimes thought of more sordid, career-catalyzing ways to go viral, mostly as ideas for a good fictional short story. But I like this. It shows my love for Razor and for current trends in Hollywood, and…it’s good to be working on things you love.
And it’s even better to be properly paid to do what you love, and who knows, perhaps these are tiny, tiny steps in that direction.
And if not, it’ll still be fun to look back on this blog post someday.
Can’t believe I was part of this:
Oh, and the Chron asked for a photo. And sure enough it appeared on sfgate. This was taken in Albania (Razor and I are both wearing our Albania hats), which feels oddly appropriate, looking as it does here like the countries that made up most of Al Jazeera’s audience. And after all this viral stuff is over, I will always feel the love I feel when I look at it. You know, the photo that looks like…
I’m gonna save these here for my future reference:
Cetus News (no it wasn’t staged)