Friday, January 05, 2007

review of rad dad in clamor magazine

Rad Dad
Issues 2 & 3
Tom Moniz
Self-published, 2005-2006

In mainstream culture, our models for parents are those portrayed in commercials as frantic, protective, and usually white. The stressed out but selfless mother is shown driving a mini-van or SUV carting the kids to dance or karate lessons. The father, when present in popular media, remains the breadwinner who doubles as Little League Coach. Folks like Ariel Gore, Bee Lavender, Ayun Halliday, and now Tomas Moniz are making the prospect of childrearing more appealing to those of us who retch at the image of family presented by magazines like Good Housekeeping.

Moniz, publisher of the zine Rad Dad, shines a light on the need for men to awaken to their responsibility as fathers. But in "Fathering the World," he expands this idea to include accepting the role of father, whether or not they have biological children. Instead of criticizing the individual, he writes, "the society we live in disempowers men to break from the prescribed role of the 'male' parent, the role that supports patriarchy, capitalism, hierarchy, and authoritarianism!" According to the American Psychological Association, "Fathers who batter mothers are twice as likely to seek sole physical custody of their children than are non-violent fathers." If for no other reason, we need to support men like Moniz who are interested in being fathers out of genuine concern for their children, rather than for selfish, manipulative, and abusive motives.

In his second issue, he addresses the stigma attached to public assistance, the emotional aspects of having a vasectomy, poetry, and a reprint of Alfie Kohn's article on thoughtless praise. Again, I am taken by how this zine covers issues so far out of the consciousness of mainstream ideas of parenting. From my perspective as a resident of Hartford--the nation's second poorest city--I see the need for discussion on public assistance. On television, families are represented as middle-class. On occasion, they may struggle with the possibility of job loss, but rarely does that play on the screen. In reality, most of us are not living in luscious penthouse apartments. When children are added to the picture, the financial situation becomes more important. Rad Dad is unlike television or those magazines found in grocery stores - Moniz tells it like it really is, and not how he might fantasize life as being.

The third issue of Rad Dad includes Moniz's struggle with his child's marijuana smoking and subsequent lying, the importance of storytelling, as well as contributions from other writers. Rad Dad, while humorous, deals with real life questions that range from queer parenting issues to raising a child according to anarchist ideals. I would like to see this zine evolve into a glossy companion to Hip Mama magazine.
-Kerri Provost

1 comment:

Ingrid said...

Kudos Tomas!!
Thinking of you and wihsing you well.
Much love,
Ingrid