Judge John Hodgman Episode 250: Phone of Contention


Allessandria brings the case against her husband Kevin. Kevin is a stay at home dad and has a cell phone, but is selective about when he chooses to use it. Al wants him to pick up when she rings. Kevin says he gets back to her in due time. Who's right? Who's wrong?

Thanks to Craig Eliason for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.



Submitted by Allessandria

Evidence Part 1

Evidence Part 2


Tip for Kevin

It wasn't addressed in the episode, but if one of the reasons you are averse to texting is the input method because:
A. You didn't grow up in modern times and maybe didn't take typing in school so you don't type well.
B. You have a "feature phone" where you need to mash buttons multiple times to get different letters.
C. Your hands are usually coated with clay.
there may a way to overcome this.

This is for iPhone but probably has an equivalent in Android, you can create phrases that insert when you type the predefined shortcut phrase.
For instance, you type brb and "Be right back!" pops up.
or: niwgyc and you could have "no i won't get you candy."

these need to be set up ahead of time, but you could make enough of them that you could carry on (what may seem to your wife and friends) a normal conversation.

Also, there is Speech to Text on the iPhone and probably on Android.
Just push the little microphone icon, speak clearly and slowly into the microphone and your words become text messages.

You may also consider researching which phones have the best speakerphone volume and use that as your default so you don't have to hold the phone to your face with your clay encrusted hand.

If you can commit to always answering your phone you could eschew texts completely.

Just trying to help because Allessandria and your kids sound like they're worth the extra effort.

Rupert Holmes secret crush

While clearing out my late father-in-law's library, I noticed an autographed copy of "Swing: a mystery" by Rupert Holmes. "Yeah, Dad was his high school English teacher". I moved it to the "keep" pile.

Reading it, there was a scene where the detective is arranging the countersigns for a clandestine meeting. "Tell them you're there to have a word with Miss Patnode."

Hmmm... my father-in-law was Ed Patnode. Later there is a vivid cameo, irrelevant to the plot, but a striking character sketch, smolderingly erotic, kinda like Dorothy Malone's bookstore clerk in "The Big Sleep". The woman's name was Kip.

Funny, that's my mother-in-law's nickname. Oh, no! Mr. Holmes had a crush on my mother-in-law, his teacher's wife. She was quite cute in the sixties, in a Betty White way.

The page was dog-eared. I'll never know if Ed or Rupert marked the page.

fair treatment

I'm finding it substantially less fun to listen to this show as the treatment of men has been particularly uneven. While this is a comedy podcast, I would ask that you consider your words particularly when speaking to men vs. women. In the early days of the podcast you all acknowledged that you had become the marriage ref and that you almost always sided with women as a bit of a bias. Given the historical (and continued) patriarchy, this is understandable to some degree, however, it has continued and gotten to the point where you are respectful to women in general and disrespectful to men in general. This makes the podcast substantially less fun even if, given the patriarchy, this disrespect is warranted in your minds. The current episode (250) has taken it too far for me. After mocking the idea of stay at home dad's for a while, you gave a disclaimer saying you weren't mocking stay at home parents. This was a weak disclaimer at best, that did not suffice to undo what you had done, in my mind. Stay at home dad's do in fact suffer from many prejudices (see below articles, though I'm sure you are aware):



I don't want to tell you what to do; this is a respectful request to be more considerate to keep a fun podcast that I like, fun for me and perhaps others. I also understand that this treatment of men vs. women is acceptable in todays society, I just ask you to consider whether it should be. Why let the pendulum swing the other way, when we can just be respectful to all?

Phone of Contention humor

I gently agree with the criticism of your treatment of the stay-at-home dad in this particular episode. Mocking him for never answering the phone was fair game, and I know from the many prior episodes I relished that both hosts have the ability to do that in many ways. But you can't nullify an extended joint riff of sarcastic musings about all the potential "important" jobs he might have been doing when ignoring calls with a disingenuous disclaimer that you weren't doing exactly what you did. You can't tell me you would've made the same jokes if the parties' roles were reversed. I'm a great fan of the podcast and continue to look forward to each episode. I just think this time the jokes, especially early on, were a little smugly off target. I can only imagine how hard it is to produce a witty but insightful podcast every week, so I understand Better luck next time, your honor!

Phone of contention - not as insidious as it seems

While I agree that if the roles were reversed, they likely would not have made the same jokes, I feel like what they were saying wasn't that stay at home dad isn't an important job. They were listing off several jobs in which it would be unwise or dangerous to take a phone call. Stay at home parent is an important job, but it is not so critical that one cannot be bothered to answer their phone, or at least respond in a timely manner.

Read the job description, folks

"Stay at home dad" generally involves taking full responsibility for children, pets, and the home during work hours - and handling all communications about the above. Stay at home moms do exactly the same thing. His Honor's mocking, if there was any, was a way of saying "if you're not doing the job you signed up for, there must be something pretty darned important that is distracting you."

There was no gender bias involved, bro.