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All Hail the Boy-King! All Praise the Glory of Will Phillips!

I… love this kid. LOVE HIM. He showed up in my inbox this morning with a message from a concerned friend, reading, “did you by any chance have a son ten years ago that you forgot about?” And my answer to you is, MAYBE!

(Clicking through to the page this is on will bring you a surprise. Good job choosing a classy YouTube name, video-poster!)

Oh, Will Phillips. You tiny infant wonder, you. I agree! You shouldn’t have to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance! Your country is telling you it values a thing which it manifestly does not value! But also:

  • I like how Dad is clearly just thrilled to be on the teevee! And it could be worse, you know, and GOOD JOB with your kid and his enormous startling brain and all. But also, if your kid turns out to be Will Phillips, and your first thought is, “this should be on CNN,” maybe you need to recalibrate your values a bit. Because what you should REALLY be thinking about is how long it’s going to be before your son is crowned Lord Emperor and God-King (a title of his own devising) and rules us all with his diminutive iron fist, and whether or not you have managed to stay on his good side. “Grounded? Oh, no, father. I do not think I am, as you say, ‘grounded.’ TO THE PLAYSTATION MINES WITH HIM!”
  • Starting at around 4:15, you will have some guilty yet sympathetic LOLs. “What has the reaction been like from your fellow students?” “Not very good.” OH, FOR REAL? Awww, but it is OK, Will Phillips. I too have been called such names in my lifetime. And you will soon have your revenge! But also, before that is going to happen, you are going to learn some slang, for the path of a tiny bespectacled boy with painfully precise diction and a polysyllabic vocabulary which he arranges into grammatically complete sentences is not an easy one. You think this makes you seem smart! And it does! Because you ARE smart! But seeming smart, in this particular way, also makes the people who witness it TERRIBLY, TERRIBLY ANGRY. Why? I don’t know. Being faced with the prospect of someone smarter than they are makes people act like “smart” is automatically equivalent to “terrible.” You are going to learn the art of linguistic disguise, Will Phillips. For when you learn this, no enemy shall withstand you, and you shall conquer.
  • At 6:15, you will sort of want to smack the interviewer a little. “Dear Ten-Year Old, Please answer a question that has been perplexing activists forever, namely: the fact that same-sex marriage initiatives are defeated when put to a vote.” The appropriate answer, of course, is “I don’t fucking know, we need to work on that.” Or perhaps, “putting the equality of a population TO A VOTE has really never led to anything that great, but also: check me out! I’m fucking ten! And also possibly Harry Potter! Maybe when more people MY AGE are voting, the sexual politics of the twentieth century and/or wedge politics won’t be dictating what we do. So, you know. Enjoy the next eight years, old man!”


  1. DBN wrote:

    Oh my god, I LOVE him! Shit, now I’m rethinking my beloved childless spinsterhood…

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  2. snobographer wrote:

    You know how people who advocate for the Pledge of Allegiance and, similarly, prayer in public schools are always saying that it’s not an impingement on any kid’s rights because it’s not mandatory? That it’s no big deal if a kid who doesn’t believe in pledging or praying just sits it out? Well look at all the hubbub when a kid actually does that.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  3. Joanna wrote:

    Smart AND brave! I wish I could give him a hug. He’s standing up/sitting down for my family.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
  4. Farore wrote:

    This totally made my day, Sady, omgthankyou. I was feeling really bad, but Will Phillips has made me feel much better! I would like to send him some sort of card, similar to a ‘congratulations! it’s a baby of specific gender!’ sort of card, except it would be more of a ‘congratulations! you are, at 10, more awesome than most people will ever be in their whole lives!’ sort of card. Perhaps I will send one to his school.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  5. caffeineadddict wrote:

    I love how patient and proud the dad is 😛
    I want to kick the asses of the other little kiddies at his school.
    Also, I don’t like how the teacher automatically presumed the kid was trying to create trouble. How many other incidences of kiddie protest go unrecognised because people in positions of power ( e.g. teachers, parents etc.) define the child’s actions in such a way as to conform with simplistic stereotypes of childhood insolence and insubordination? And presume the kid is just too young to be capable of critical thought? It is worrying :/

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Permalink
  6. There is hope. 🙂

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 3:21 am | Permalink
  7. Gnatalby wrote:

    What IS a gaywad?

    My friend works for Threadless and they’re sending this kid a bunch of free shirts, since the shirt he’s wearing is from Threadless.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 6:08 am | Permalink
  8. Hannah wrote:

    This kid is awesome. Although, to be fair, I think I decided in around second grade not to say the pledge of allegiance for similar reasons, and I never got on CNN. I think people underestimate the intelligence of kids, which makes them overly surprised when ten-year-olds exert any kind of intelligence or independent thoughts.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  9. ChelseaWantsOut wrote:

    Oh! I saw this! The interviewer was pissing me off through the whole interview, actually. Condescending asshole. “Haha, you’re a child and therefore it’s amusing when you say smart things! You have opinions about the world? That’s even more amusing!”

    CaffeineAddict, in my experience many people who work with children operate under the assumption that kids are just waiting for the right moment, the slightest lapse in adult vigilance, to run amok and cause trouble. It sickens me.

    Nerds 2^2 ever.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  10. Laura wrote:

    @Chelseawantsout: I KNOW. That TOTALLY irked me. As a kid, I was constantly getting pissed off when adults acted patronizingly towards me just because I said something smart. “Oh how cute! You’re just so SMART, aren’t you!” Drove me nuts. And it makes me angry when I see it happen to kids now.

    What a cool kid! I also like the way his father handled the whole thing. Totally understanding and respectful of his child’s opinions and motives, yet also encouraging his child to act in a civilized manner towards other people (just because you WANT to tell someone to jump off a bridge, doesn’t mean you necessarily SHOULD!). Now that’s classy parenting.

    Has the anchor seriously never heard the term “gaywad?” Or was he just trying to see what Will would say?

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
  11. roesmoker wrote:

    Seriously, this kid rules. And I agree the father is also amazingly cool. Who knew not everyone in Arkansas was a total redneck?? Wow, news to me.

    I can’t wait to crown Will our ruler in 15 years max.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 1:23 am | Permalink
  12. Laura PHillips wrote:

    as will’s mom, i freaking love you. this waas the best blog (of the many many) about him and his story. really. You nailed him. he told me after the interview with cnn that he was trying to use little words so that john roberts (the interviewer) would understand him. find me on facebook for all things will 🙂

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  13. Tom Sawyer wrote:

    To send Will a letter:

    Will Phillips
    c/o NWA Center for Equality
    PO Box 9014
    Fayetteville, AR 72703

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  14. Tom Sawyer wrote:

    “Original” Facebook Fan Group

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  15. belledame222 wrote:

    This family wins. 😀

    Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by pixiepurls and FilthyGrandeur, Dave Heal. Dave Heal said: The almost-always fabulous Tiger Beatdown on Will Phillips, the nerdy 10-year old refusing to say the Pledge. […]

  2. This Kid Is My Hero | A Bridge Will Be Written on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    […] For real. Period. (h/t Tiger Beatdown) […]