It was news that shook the world, that caused everyone to stop what they were doing and fix their eyes to their computer screens. We’ll all likely remember where we were when those two kids tried to get their dad’s attention when he was up to some very important business.
Well, earth-shaking may be an overstatement, but with the news currently being a constant stream of taunts and Russian intrigue, positive and innocuous things are increasingly feeling like the exception to the the rule–or at least that’s how it felt when Professor Robert Kelley’s very cute kids burst into his home office while he was in the middle of a Skype interview about South Korean politics with BBC News. Part of the media frenzy is based on how utterly perfect the video’s procession is, with Dr. Kelley’s 4-year-old daughter Marion first brusquely entering the room with a playful but authoritative walk. Then, in bursts the baby, 8-month-old James, cruising at an impressive speed for one of those circular baby-walkers. Then, Dr. Kelley’s wife Kim Jeong-ah enters to usher the young children from the room, but the damage has already been done. Watch the video to see for yourself (as if you haven’t watched it yet).
The Professor would later note that “My real life punched through the fake cover I had created on television.” He was certain that his professional reputation had been ruined. “We thought no TV network would ever call us again,” he would tell a room of reporters at a news conference at Pusan National University in South Korea (where Kelley is a professor of political science). Of course, to the contrary, the video went viral, making Kelley and his family minor modern celebrities in the process. At the same conference, he wryly noted, “This is now the first line in my obituary.”
And as for that press conference, Mrs. Kelley, Marion and James all tagged along. And again the two little ones stole the spotlight, with baby James wriggling around in his mom’s arms and Marion playing tough–with a lollipop in her mouth and a steely, thousand-mile stare.
Dr. Kelley also used the platform to provide clarity on some things in the initial video. While he and his wife were offended by a broad assumption that Kim was a nanny, he expressed a desire not to overtly politicize these feelings, noting that “Neither one of us are interested in politicizing this or having this provoke a backlash.” He also made it a point to say that, while some made the judgement that he was trying to push his daughter out of the way in the video, he was actually trying to direct her behind his chair–where there were toys and games for her to play with. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, some surmised that Dr. Kelley’s not standing up in the video had something to do with him not wearing pants, to which the Professor replied: “I was wearing pants.” With all that out of the way, we can go back to enjoying Marion’s gallant stroll over and over again.