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UPDATE: Jan. 5, 2021, 9:42 a.m. EST John Roderick, aka Bean Dad, has issued a lengthy apology on his website.

If you ventured onto Twitter during the first weekend of 2021, you were probably wondering why everyone was talking about beans.


The answer: 'Bean Dad' became Twitter’s first 'main character' of the year, the person who has such a bad take that people feel compelled to dunk on them.

On Saturday evening, musician and podcaster John Roderick shared a tale about his hungry 9-year-old daughter wanting some baked beans. Twenty-three tweets later, we got the full story.

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So, yesterday my daughter (9) was hungry and I was doing a jigsaw puzzle so I said over my shoulder “make some baked beans.” She said, “How?” like all kids do when they want YOU to do it, so I said, “Open a can and put it in pot.” She brought me the can and said “Open it how?”

— john roderick (@johnroderick) January 2, 2021

So I said, “How do you think this works?” She studied it and applied it to the top of the can, sideways. She struggled for a while and with a big, dramatic sigh said, “Will you please just open the can?” Apocalypse Dad was overjoyed: a Teaching Moment just dropped in my lap!

— john roderick (@johnroderick) January 2, 2021

Basically, the child wanted to eat the baked beans. Roderick saw this as a “teaching moment.” He wanted her to open the can herself. His daughter did not understand how a can opener worked because she is 9 years old. Roderick wanted her to figure out how the can opener worked herself. Six hours later, the frustrated 9-year-old figured out how to open the can of beans with the can opener.

The story, and the tone in which it was told, infuriated Twitter. “She’s 9,” “Apocalypse Dad,” and an exasperated all-caps “SIX HOURS” trended on Twitter all Sunday morning.

All I’m hearing is “that time I told my dad I was hungry and he wouldn’t let me eat for another six hours for no good reason.”
Like... did you ever go through that as a kid? You go too long hungry and you just feel sick and like you might pass out? No? Then don’t do it to the kid

— Communist Siren ☭ (@a_queer_ius) January 3, 2021

Just open the can and give your child beans you psycho

— Ed Zitron (@edzitron) January 3, 2021

You're an asshole, dude.
From one Dad to another, this story is nothing to be proud of.
You taught your daughter how little you care about her needs, and only your need to show how much smarter you are than she is.
Then delete your account.

— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) January 3, 2021

People also had jokes.

Yesterday my daughter called me and told me she had been taken by kidnappers. She asked if I could use my particular set of skills, acquired over a very long career, to get me back. 'A-ha!' I thought. “A teachable moment!” (1/278)

— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) January 3, 2021

Some day, Bean Dad is going to need her help with technology, or end of life care, and she will have her revenge.

— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) January 3, 2021


The Bean Dad discourse was so much that people felt they had to take part.

The chief hallmark of Discourse™️ is feeling compelled to weigh in, even though you know you don’t have to and kind of don’t even want to. That said, goddammit bean dad

— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) January 3, 2021

Bean Dad obviously had to respond to the negative responses.

The only thing people are touchier about than parenting style is dog ownership.

— john roderick (@johnroderick) January 3, 2021

The best part about being ratio’d by these parenting concern-trolls is that they keep harping on how depriving my kid of baked beans for SIX HOURS is child abuse. Six hours is the length of time between meals. Lunch at noon, dinner at six. They’re literally saying CHILD ABUSE.

— john roderick (@johnroderick) January 3, 2021

Now, as a father of two children (a 5-year-old and a 1-and-a-half year old), I can tell you that I personally would not make my children spend six hours trying to figure out how to open a can of beans. I also try to avoid criticizing other parenting “styles.”

Roderick took 23 tweets to tell a story in the most condescending way possible. It's something you would you do if you were trying to make readers hate you.

And that's what made me think this whole story was written purposefully just to get a rise out of people. A fan of Roderick’s podcast agrees.

Hey, I’ll stick my neck out: This is written in the voice of John on his podcast Roderick on the Line. He’s telling this story in a heightened way and with a tone that long time listeners would recognize as a both joke and self defacing. There’s context that’s completely lost.

— Tyler A. (@Sauce_) January 3, 2021

This tracks, especially when you take into consideration that Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame is his podcast co-host.

Extremely jealous and annoyed that my podcast co-host is going to be a dictionary entry and I never will.

— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) January 3, 2021

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So, what’s the moral of this story?

It's not about parenting, or beans, or joke writing. To me, the moral of the story was perfectly crafted by Twitter user @maplecocaine back in 2019.

Each day on twitter there is one main character. The goal is to never be it

— maple cocaine (@maplecocaine) January 3, 2019

Every day, one person’s take on Twitter is so hot, it sets off an avalanche of criticism, turning that person into the day’s “main character.”

Even though we are in a brand-new year, full of new hopes and dreams... some things remain the same.

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UPDATE: Jan. 3, 2021, 4:51 p.m. ET: One of the consequences of being Twitter's 'main character' of the day is that people start really looking into your background.

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Someone is definitely going to regret not opening those beans https://t.co/G9tr18knpu

— keewa (@keewa) January 3, 2021

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As old tweets of Roderick's are brought to light, perhaps it's time for him to take after his podcast cohost, Ken Jennings, who recently had to apologize for his own old, insensitive tweets.

UPDATE: Jan. 3, 2021, 5:43 p.m. ET: The Twitter account for the podcast, 'My Brother, My Brother, and Me,' announced it would no longer be using Roderick's music on the show.

We appreciate John letting us use one of his songs as the theme for MBMBaM for nearly a decade, but his response to today’s situation is emblematic of a pattern of behavior that is antithetical to the energy we try to bring to the things we do, and so it’s time for us to move on.

— MBMBaM (@MBMBaM) January 3, 2021

UPDATE: Jan. 4, 2021, 2:40 p.m. AEDT: Roderick has now deleted or deactivated his entire Twitter account. Best of luck to tomorrow's main character.