Culture & Entertainment

How to fight a baby: Did Gavin McInnes go too far?

By: Stephanie Zolis
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

How to fight a baby: Did Gavin McInnes go too far?

By: Stephanie Zolis

Parents know the power of a cute baby video. Some YouTube uploads even make the nightly news. The latest viral sensation is from Canadian comedian Gavin McInnes, co-founder of Vice magazine. Dubbed "hilarious" and "cute" by most viewers, his video entitled "How to fight a baby" is also prompting some parents to call upon Child Protective Services. At this point I'm sure most readers have seen it (within two days it drew three million views), but for those of you who haven't, it's a light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek wrestling match between McInnes and his 10-month-old diaper-clad son, which you can watch below. [HTML1] Some maneuvers are completely harmless: tickling and the baby's so-called Achilles heel, "wind," a.k.a. blowing in his face. Others are virtually so: McInnis guides parents through numerous body slams and what he calls the "sleeper hold" (a headlock). Many defenders of the video point out the baby didn't appear to be "distressed" at any time. But aren't there things that children enjoy, which we refuse them for their own good? A baby might like to be fed a spoonful of sugar, but we might think twice about giving it to him or her. In his introduction that prefaces the wrestling, he tells viewers they shouldn't be intimidated by babies, which he describes as "easy-pease." He might as well have been talking directly to me. I held my newborn niece like she was more fragile than an egg only a couple months ago. Granted, my sister is an overprotective control freak and hypochondriac to boot, but I wasn't taking any chances. Today's culture coddles our children. Guilty as charged. But there's a difference between emotional coddling and physical. I love Jimmy Kimmel's YouTube challenges in which parents tell their kids they ate all their Halloween candy. These clips inevitably lead to tears and tantrums, and it's all in good fun. But I would never throw a baby, whether it's toward a brick wall or a down-covered bed. Do I think McInnes should be stripped of his parental rights? No. There's no evidence the baby was in danger and his playful wrestling was far from abusive. He took some precaution as many have pointed out—supporting his son's head, for example. But accidents happen. An accident could have happened. There are physical dangers in the most seemingly mundane things. It's normal and perhaps appropriate to let a baby stumble and fall so he learns to pick himself back up. It's a lesson every child must learn at some stage of life. We can't keep our children in bubbles, protecting them from everyday harms. Most parents I've talked to love "How to fight a baby." And many parents play fight with their kids. But the question remains: At what age does a baby beat-down become appropriate? If McInnes's son was a bit older, I don't think we'd be having this conversation at all, nor would the video have gone viral in the first place.
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How to fight a baby: Did Gavin McInnes go too far?

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