You'd think the Internet was invented yesterday with the way a dad blogger who runs The Psycho Ex Wife is going on and on in the news. Anthony Morelli has been ordered by a judge to make a choice: the website detailing his divorce and custody battle or his two kids. And he still thinks he can have them both.
After being ordered to shut The Psycho Ex Wife down (technically, he has, but you can still access plenty of content), Morelli has mounted a counterclaim in court. He says his First Amendment rights to be a disgruntled ex-husband and blog about it have been violated, and his new site Save The Psycho Ex Wife asks for donations from the hundreds of thousands of readers he's had visit the site since he started it in 2007 to keep it running. Of course he wants the site, and to continue sharing custody of his sons, ages 10 and 12, too.
Morelli is within his rights to complain to the court. He may even be right about the freedom of speech. But all it takes is one look at his new website to question whether this guy has any grasp on what it takes to be a custodial parent:
The existence of the website, in and of itself, has no affect on his children. It would forever remain so, provided both parents monitor the children’s computer usage as any good parent should.
Won't affect the kids? Ever? Who does he think he is? Superman who can appear at the exact moment his kids log online, at any point in the future, from anywhere? It's 2011, buddy, welcome to the world of the plugged in kid.
The average 10- and 12-year-old kids have access to computers at school, at camp, at a friend's house. All it takes is a little Googling, and they could easily run across a site that describes their mother as "Jabba the Hut, with less personality." This coming from the man who supposedly loved her once, half of your gene pool. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how a kid would take that kind of vicious name-calling.
And, of course, since it's a description of Morelli's custody battle, the kids themselves make their appearances: in the very same graph where he references the loathsome Star Wars character, he alleges his ex-wife "stuff[s] the children with fast food." Now imagine one of their school buddies reading that and making fun of them, mimicking chipmunk cheeks and a face full of French fries. Suuuuuure, those kids aren't in the least bit affected.
Even supposing Morelli and his ex both managed to keep the kids offline for the foreseeable future (snort), one day they will grow up. And as so many blogging parents have found out, what goes online stays online. It's not as simple as taking down your own website anymore. There are thousands of web harvesters or web scrapers out there, programs that grab copy off of websites and repurpose it for their own use (often without permission, but they're hard to catch and even harder to take down). There are bloggers and reporters who follow the legal route, mining someone's online content for use in a story. Once it's there, it's there to stay.
Divorcing sucks. There's no way around that. But part of being a parent, a GOOD parent, is putting the needs of your children ahead of your own emotional desire to tear your ex a new one in the most public of ways.
Do you think Morelli deserves to keep his kids AND his website?
Image via DeclanTM/Flickr