Photos, Names, Mixed Messages

By JoCo September 22, 2008

I know the internet wants names and photos. Here’s the thing: being a semi-famous person, I know a teeny-tiny bit about fame, and I can tell you that while it’s awesome most of the time, it’s also a little weird every now and then. My kids aren’t really old enough to make a decision about whether or not they’d like to be part of this particular circus, and while on some level I’m dying to share all the personal details with you, this is one place where I’d like to draw the line. I’m not so naive as to think that I’m going to keep this information totally secret forever, and it’s not so much about not wanting anyone to know what they are called and what they look like. Nor do I think I’m so famous that their pictures are going to end up in tabloids and that they’re going to start getting recognized on the street or anything. I just want this part of my life to be as separate as possible from the rest of it – non-public, all rights reserved. The kids are not licensed with Creative Commons, they should not have their heads photoshopped onto robot bodies, they should not have their baby pictures blasted out to thousands of people without having the opportunity to choose privacy. And they may yet end up in my Flickr photostream, just not here in this place of business (which is also kind of a weird gray area that contains a good bit of my personal life – see next paragraph).

Thanks everyone for your congratulations. Having an excellent time – the wife is honing her Zuma skills, the elder child is very excited to be a big sister, and I need more coffee most of the time. But in short: whee!


Luke M says

Good decision. Enjoy!

Shopmonkey Chris says

You could always go the Micheal Jackson route, and make your kids wear bizarre "Eyes Wide Shut" style masks whenever they went anywhere.

Hmmm... Now that I see it written down, I guess that's not such a good idea afterall.

Dave says

Good for you. Cradle, music, life: is there ANYTHING you can't soft rock?

Bob says

Too cute.

Farris says

Do not encourage JC to be a baby dangler... It's his decision.

CC says

Good for you! I'm with you on that decision. Keep your private life private. Looking forward to the next song. Keep rockin!!! ...but be quiet, the baby's sleeping. Don't forget to get him some 25.

MarcyT says

I respect your decision and think you're very smart to make it.

Paul R. Potts says

It's definitely the right thing to do. We're just sad that you don't invite the whole internetz over for Sunday brunch and let us meet your wife, poke through your apartment, paw all your guitars, tickle your babies, and see what's really in your medicine cabinet.

Did I mention it was definitely the right thing to do?

Bob says

Congrats JoCo! Whee indeed! Your thoughts on the privacy issue are completely reasonable and I'm with ya 100%

Must be hard to be so well-liked :P

Billiam says

Congrats JoCo and as Bob above says, I think you're definitely doing the right thing when it comes to privacy. As fans, we already have you at a distinct disadvantage: we know so much about you through your blog and your songs, and you know next to nothing about us. Keeping your kids safe is definitely a #1 priority.

I mean, I love kids as much as the next guy, but I just don't think I could eat a whole one, ya know? ;)

Was a real blast meeting you at PAX!

Jesse says

I didn't think it was possible to respect you anymore than I already do, but that post just did it. You are a wonderful person and the respect you wish will be bestowed ten fold.

MitchO says

This whole thing left me in a very awkward state with JoCopedia. I consciously chose not to add the kid's birth to "This Day In JoCo" :D, but had to debate whether or not to add the explanation of why you had to drop out of Masters of Song Fu (I eventually just briefly explained it).

Won't someone please think of the Moderators?!~

Wayne says

Nope. Sorry, you gave your rights to family privacy when Strollertown was released under CC. We know what they're driving, anyway. How am I going to know what name to give my daughter as an homage?

Susie the Southern Geek says

I totally agree with you - keep what privacy you have as long as you can. And enjoy the little baby toes - they grow up too fast.

My kids were so excited when I told them your wife had another baby - they are looking forward to more kid-friendly songs about robots and doughnuts.

Wishing you all the best!

Stephen S. says

I think you are making a very wise decision.
You are awesome, and I wish you a happy fatherhood. :)

Barstool Prophet says

Smart move that's good to see. Enjoy the time because when they're little they might step on your toes but as they get big they step on your heart!

JoAnn in VA says

I totally agree with your decision, and hope you get some sleep soon *grin*. I just wish I had known to add an itty bitty baby boy squid to that picture I had done for you...

Roman V. says

@MitchO I was just going to use the filler name "JoCoJunior" if it ever came up again.

But yeah, you're absolutely right, and so far you've held a pretty good balance about keeping personal and professional stuff as separate as it needs to be, IMO.

Congrats again.

Demetrius says

Good decision, JoCo! The young ones have a right to a more or less normal life. Not having a single stuffed animal that isn't a pony/monkey Frankenstein might make them weird in ways that will require expensive therapy later.

You, however, aren't off the hook... I look forward to more songs (ostensibly) for or about kids - yours, or otherwise!

SmudgeBot says

Yeah, you gotta keep some of your life to yourself. Too much exposure seems to be all too common these days, with all the so-called "Reality" shows, with camera crews following families around and everybody trying to act "normal". I don't understand that crap and I don't watch them, so if I see a listing for "JoCo Knows Best", I probably won't watch it, even though I'm a big fan of your music. Be happy being your kids' daddy, not their agent. I applaud your responsible decision. I am tapping my arm for more music though. Can you help a guy out?

john d'arc says

could you at least tell us if your son is a Jr. or not? It's not like we could Google him if his name was also Jonathan Coulton, and not just get you.

Andrea says

Oh, you WANTED privacy? Sorry. I guess I shouldn't have pointed my telephoto lens into your apartment from the building across the street and then sold the images of little Jonathina and Rodolfo EvilGenius Poopypants III to the Enquirer.

I'll take down the photos from my website, too, though it's a shame, since your son's image heals minor rashes and abrasions, WoW addiction and Asperger's syndrome. And your daughter is awfully cute.

Mr.Nobody says

I agree with you JoCo.

To Andrea: Woah. o_o

barefootorbust says

Good for you JoCo! As much as I would love to see pics of your precious new bundle, the internet is not a good place for family pictures, professional site or no. Though most of us are normal and sane, there are people in the internet who do not have good intentions. It always bugs me to see kids pics up in public forums. You can have pictures available for family and friends without exposing them to potential danger.

That being said...have you been offered a million dollars for the first pics in Star magazine yet?? :P

Derek says

You're absolutely doing the right thing. I've always admired how you've done a fantastic job keeping your family out of the spotlight. Kudos!

Kilted Dad says

"they should not have their heads photoshopped onto robot bodies,"

Well of course they shouldn't. THAT would be silly.

I mean, they already have robot bodies, don't they?

Cambiata says

Of course, Joco, of course. Nobody will love you less because you want to give your family privacy. In fact, from the first time I visited your page I recognized how reticent you were about your family - your bio page says nothing about when you were married or how many kids you have. It's reasonable and admirable. And nice of you to explain it to us, even.

Lara says

Congrads on your baloney loaf (all babies are Baloney loaves). We promise only to stalk you, not the kids. :-)

Rob says

C'mon, JoCo. I think I speak for all of us, when I say I understand. Why your family might hesitate, to submit to our demands. Just open up the door. We'll all come inside. We're not monsters, well, technically...

Paul says

I don't think anyone here will be criticising you, though if the little one(s) join you at a gig then we will take that as an open invitation to at least take pictures. :-)

for now i guess we'll have to use miniJoCo1 and 2 or something - hmm maybe a competition for the most JoCo baby names, Chel for a girl maybe?

I hope that any new songs won't be about nappies or dribble anyway.


Mark Gordon says

I think you're doing the right thing, though I also don't see a problem with obviously (hopefully) fake code names that could be used among fans, by analogy to "Hodgmina." So we can call your daughter Coultina and your son Coultom. Sound good?

Percephene says

I think we all totally understand and respect that! People just love babies and its hard not having a picture to go gooey over!
Perhaps you should just paste a stock image of one as a placeholder for us to squee over!

Again, many congrats and good for you for keeping the family out of it!

JoAnn in VA says

Why be so complex with baby code names? The most obvious, a la Dr Suess and in perfect keeping with the titles of certain collections of songs would be to simply call them Thing One and Thing Two.

TheFifthSister says

Glad everyone is doing well and I hope you never run out of coffee!

Betsy says

Mr. JoCo: THIS.

Lex says

Quoth Percephene:
"People just love babies and its hard not having a picture to go gooey over!"



simbelmyne says

Aww, songs about babies are fun!
Good choice, I'm not even famous and my kids stay off teh webs. (some days they hate me for it)

Congrats again!

Andrea says


though if the little one(s) join you at a gig then we will take that as an open invitation to at least take pictures.

Uh, no we won't...what do you think he's saying? The munchkins are off limits.

AverageJon says

I'm just happy that your cat doesn't mind being famous.

Cody says

Good job. Now the second you release pictures the first thing thats going to appear is their heads photoshop'd onto robot bodies lol.

Frederick Heath-Renn says

@Lex: surely it's s/people/women/?

Jordan says

I certainly respect the decision Mr. Coulton, even though I would like to see what kind of babies you produce. Does this one have wings and a prehensile tail? At any rate, I honestly think you're a better father for attempting to have your children lead a normal life, good for you!

Roman V. says

Honestly though, I can't believe some people seriously expected names and other personal information to be just dumped onto the net. The Internet is not just something you dump something on. It's not a big truck. Srsly.

King Of The Budgies says

It's a series of tubes. Back on topic, as much as baby pics excite me, this is most definitely the right decision. And congrats on fatherhood!

crazy diamond says

such sweet news, even this late i wanted to add my congrats. (is it too nosy of me to ask just one question? does he have your freckles or your mustache or your eyes?)

so, anyway, cool, and cool of you to give them some privacy. i will retrain my lenses elsewhere ;)