Recently, I traveled to the Midwest to visit my Father and for the purpose to taking him on a trip to visit his newest grandchild, my nephew. During that trip, I noticed that he started, in certain instances, to refer to me as “Mom.” Regular readers at American Greatness may recall that back in January, I wrote an article paralleling my father’s old habit of calling my (sadly missed) mother “Mom” with Mike Pence’s penchant to call his wife “Mother.” That habit, I explained, demonstrates a good, decent, and very Midwestern respect for motherhood. I know many men like my Dad and Mike Pence, and it never occurred to anyone I knew growing up that there was anything weird or disrespectful about it.
But when Dad started calling me “Mom” on this trip, it did throw me for a bit. I even started to worry about him having a “senior moment” until he saw my concern and explained that he was perfectly well and was not mistaking me for my deceased mother. He called me “Mom” because I am now the “Materfamilias.” I am not taking her place, but am asked to wear her crown, with all the honors and responsibilities now bestowed upon me to fulfill. I was doing this then by bringing him to my brother, his wife, and their new baby. I was helping to keep the family connected. This duty of motherhood being passed from one generation to the next is in danger of being lost in our culture today. Yet, I remain hopeful.
Jimmy Kimmel’s episode from May 11, 2017 , is a reminder of that the left’s cultural “War on Mothers” continues through subtle and even sometimes humorous cultural nuances and how it confuses the better angels of our natures. We would do well to realize that many episodes like this are intentional and calculated. But this irreverent way of thinking and behaving is so ingrained in our popular culture that it can also happen unintentionally—even when we are trying to convey the opposite meaning. There is just a reflexive default of disdain that gets the laughs, and we sink into it.
Kimmel did two segments poking fun of the supposed terrible gifts mothers often receive on Mother’s Day from their families. Most of us can probably relate to the all too human humor in this, but it is also an example of humor serving as a gentle rebuke to our inclinations to ungratefulness and thoughtlessness. In this segment, Jimmy Kimmel demonstrated a fundamental agreement with Mike Pence that mothers deserve to be held in the highest esteem by pointing out how they sometimes get a raw deal. It’s only funny because it hits home and because we know most Moms love us enough to forgive us these deficiencies—sometimes even more than we deserve. This is a kind of self-deprecatory humor. Motherhood isn’t the target. Our unworthiness of its awesome power of love and forgiveness is.
Jimmy Kimmel even referenced Mike Pence in a joke, but he could not bring himself to show the blatant contempt and disgust he has demonstrated in the past as seen from him and his other comedic colleagues. To his credit, Kimmel dedicated several segments in his show to honor mothers while others only paid them lip service. Kimmel, whose wife recently gave birth to their son, seems as if he may have a bit more sympathy for the sentiments of Mike Pence in the aftermath of that drama. His child’s life saving heart operation is a reminder to us all how precious life is, and that mothers in their role of bringing new life into the world and caring so deeply and solicitously for it are not to be diminished.
Jimmy Kimmel stated, “You saw there some bad Mother’s Day gifts and obviously you do not want to be in that boat.” “You know, Mother’s Day is not just what Mike Pence calls “date night” with his wife. It’s an important day. It’s a day to express your love.”
Unfortunately this momentary adoration digressed. Kimmel went on to state, “And if you don’t have a gift yet, here is a creative idea from those who live in Colorado and California and a handful of other states—Marijuana.” Moving the Left forward in their rediscovery of reverence for motherhood, it seems, is going to take both literal and figurative “baby steps.”