After reading this, I’m pretty much done with Jeff Wells. I can handle his super-sounds-of-the-70s taste in movie and alpha-male posturing, and hell, I find his comically thin skin as amusing as anyone. But after reading his comments about child abuse I don’t think I can take any more. To tell abused and neglected children to “grim it up” in response to poor parenting is insensitive at best and dangerous at worst. I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who didn’t abuse me, but I know plenty of people who weren’t so fortunate, and I know from experience that the suffering adults inflict on children causes lifelong wounds, both physical and psychological. I came of age in a time when the idea of physical punishment of kids was being seriously called into question, and I wholeheartedly agree with nearly every child psychologist today that hitting your children does far more harm than good. Likewise, to willfully cause pain to someone you live is, to me anyway, fairly unthinkable.
But what really gets me is his remark that he “can tell you stories about my own messed-up childhood that’ll tear your heart out.” Oh, so you had a terrible childhood and you turned out OK, so that means every kid should be able to do it? I call foul on that remark. If you made it out fine, then bully for you. However, most children don’t have the temperament or the inner strength to suck it up when things get bad for them, especially when the bad stuff is coming at the hands of the person they look to first for help and guidance in life. For him to downplay the cost of child abuse so casually is, to my eyes, a glaring lack of the sort of empathy I abhor in others. If you can’t extend your heart to someone who’s suffering- particularly if you suffered from the same sort of pain- I don’t have much use for you in my life.