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The War on Dads

February 17, 2012

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The War on Dads

When Nicki Minaj flailed around satanically onstage in front of a scared fake priest at the Grammys last week, the Catholic Church was understandably upset. “Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of the Recording Academy,” Catholic League president Bill Donohue wrote. “Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam.”

Donohue is right. Christians—but especially Catholics—are the last bastion of people you can comfortably offend. Piss Christ wins awards sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts, but when Van Gogh’s great-grandson makes an arty film about Islam, he gets a rapier in his chest. Racism is even more sacrilegious. Can anyone even conceive of a Piss MLK winning awards? What about a Shit Oprah? I’m annoyed by the Get Out of Jail Free Card that Catholic-bashers and nonwhites get, but Minaj’s performance reminded me of an even less talked-about victim: dads.

That’s right: dads.

“A man’s home used to be his castle. Today everyone sits around the castle laughing at TV’s court-jester dads.”

Insulting the American dad is more than acceptable; it’s viewed as laudable. Minaj wasn’t insulting her dad, because she doesn’t really have one. Minaj was mimicking Madonna’s relentless taunting of the Catholic Church. Madonna’s motive for her blasphemous imagery was a reaction to her oppressive Catholic father. I realize that saying Minaj’s bizarre performance made me feel bad about dads is a bit of a stretch, but I needed a segue. Plus, I’m a dad and our feelings are valid, goddamnit! We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!

When did saying, “Fuck you, dad” become a symbol of strength and independence? Why is depicting the American father as a retard a comedic mainstay? I’m not talking about deadbeat dads or all the self-indulgent boomers who trade in your mom for a younger model when her looks start fading. I’m talking about shoe salesmen such as Al Bundy in Married…With Children—men who stick by their family and are the only breadwinner in the house. He has stinky feet stuck in his face all day so his family can have a roof over their heads. Ha ha ha, what a nobody.

Homer Simpson isn’t simply dumb. He is less capable than someone with Down syndrome, but if the nuclear power plant he works at ever experiences a China Syndrome, he’s the only family member in danger. Ha ha, what a loser.

The Irish Catholic dad in Family Guy is equally useless, though he works in shipping at a brewery, one of the more dangerous jobs in America. Ha ha ha, he got crushed under a forklift while paying the bills. Black dads such as Bill Cosby tend to be a heartwarming combination of humor and wisdom, but if you went by American pop culture alone, you’d think us white dads lose all our brain cells when we ejaculate and as soon as we get our wives pregnant, we become the baby.

My kids were watching a show called The Amazing World of Gumball the other day and I got annoyed by their pink rabbit dad who is so dense, he thinks breaking into school and doing a Mexican drag queen dance will earn him a sausage. So I put in a DVD of 1964’s Mary Poppins. Although the father figure in that movie isn’t as dumb as Gumball’s dad, he is at least seven times shittier. He vows there shall be no laughing in the house and gets angry every time someone starts having fun. The kids get him fired from his job at the bank, and the only time he appears human is when he laughs at his boss for doing it. Wait, dads can’t do that. We need to be polite if we get fired because we need a reference to get another job. We may not know who Nicki Minaj is, but we do know how to make sure you are all safe and taken care of at all times. Even as we sleep. That’s why there’s a baseball bat under the bed.

My wife recently tried to switch sides with me on our bed. I explained that I had to stay on this side because it was closest to the door and if we ever had an intruder, I have to be the first one there. She never thought of that, nor had she noticed the bat—a mainstay under all dads’ beds. How many of us have leapt out of bed in the middle of the night after hearing a strange sound? Just about every dad in this country has been in the kitchen at 4 AM, dressed like Piglet with just a T-shirt and nothing else, heart pounding with adrenaline, Louisville Slugger in hand, planning the first strike while saying, “Who’s there?” in the deepest voice possible. Then we go back to bed and say nothing of the false alarm. Do you know how hard it is to go back to sleep when you were prepared to murder some teenage junkie mere seconds ago—in the nude!?

Though we never complain about it, us dads always have a Sword of Damocles dangling over our heads. As I’ve always said about men wearing flip-flops, “What if someone slaps your girl and you have to chase them?” What if a car cuts into the pedestrian lane and almost hits your pregnant wife? We are the ones who have to bang the hood and threaten to kill the guy, no matter how huge he is. Dads have to be ready to fight to the death every waking moment. We have to make sure everyone at home is taken care of, even after we’re dead. Why are we the bad guy? A man’s home used to be his castle. Today everyone sits around the castle laughing at TV’s court-jester dads.

What is the root of liberal rage? It seems so hyperbolic and illogical. They can’t possibly mean what they say. They hate Wall Street but have no idea how the country would function without it—nor do they care to investigate. They claim race is a lie and proudly tell the world we’ll all be brown soon, yet barely 3.5% of them marry outside of their race. They proudly state gays live the same lifestyle as straights and if you think otherwise you have a mental disorder. Yet they know that statement is false because they know what a circuit party is. Liberals tell us abortion is an empowering form of birth control, though I have yet to meet a mom who, after seeing what babies are like when they come out, would ever consider getting an abortion again. I believe liberals adopt their beliefs not because they actually believe them but because it makes dad mad. Patriarchs are an easy villain and antagonizing them has become a political doctrine in itself. The left’s entire raison d’être is nothing more than a teenager puffing his chest out and saying to his father, “Oh yeah?”

Moms can make humans come out of their genitalia. This is a miracle that deserves an almost religious reverence. The fact that it’s seen as some kind of medical side effect is a whole other article. Moms deserve respect and for the most part, they get it. But dads are a joke at best. I’m not sure exactly what begot this universal lack of respect. Maybe the father figure is the only one who doesn’t believe our bullshit and has the audacity to tell us to grow up. Maybe liberals feel guilty their father spent tens of thousands of dollars getting them a Master’s Degree in Native American Pottery. While these kids were studying Dadaism, they should have been studying dadism. It’s probably the most prevalent but least-talked-about prejudice there is.

 

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