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Doting Dads and Douchebag Dudes? My Favorite Weekend Panels

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By Joelle Pearson

As a festival newcomer, I was excited to see how much panels differed in content, and how creative some got with their presentations. Two of my favorites dealt with men in media – more specifically, daddies who blog and “douchebags” behind the camera.

At Not Your Mommy’s Blog: The Evolution of Dad Blogs, mom and dad media moguls came together to discuss the cultural impact of “Dad Blogs” such as DadCentric.com  <http://www.dadcentric.com> . Panelists agreed that a slumping economy has led to an increase in dad blogs, but also agreed that dad blogs will never wield the clout or influence that Mom Blogs have. For starters, more women read Dad Blogs than men ( maybe, as an audience member noted, that’s because women are naturally more empathetic than men and turn to blogs to commiserate).

The conversation shifted toward the importance of personal branding and entrepreneurial efforts, and how bloggers should be aware that this is just as important as good writing. Bloggers’ endorsements are more influential than celebrity endorsements, explained a panelist, and their roles in marketing are yet to be fully realized. “Social Media is key,” explained veteran blogger Catherine Conners. “We’re in an age where anything we put out there must be a conversation, not a broadcast.” The final point? Most men have a lot to learn communication-wise before they can become a successful Dad Blogger.

“Dad Blogs” was tidy, organized and informative, and I was hoping that The Evolution of Douchebags in Modern Cinema would follow suit. Why are women so obsessed with the Rhett Butlers and Bradley Coopers of the world, anyways?

But after an opening 20-minute speech about Thomas Edison, many audience members started to leave the panel. The moderator began arguing with the professor, and one panelist even took a call. Finally, Slate.com writer and social commentator Dan Kois began pouring himself straight whiskey and leaving the room intermittently.

It took the audience a while to get the joke: real live douchebags are every bit as bad as they are in the movies, but, we kind of love how shocking they are. We didn’t learn much (except that it’s OK to hate Gerard Butler). “

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