Saturday, April 21, 2007

rad dad review in slingshot

zine Review Rad Dad #6 from slingshot
Reviewed by Hefty Lefty
Rad Dad is a thrice yearly zine on radical fathering put together by
Tomas Moniz. If radical politics and living in ways that are critical
of white-supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy are to be more than just
a phase passed through by young people who have yet to burn out and
buy in, then it is important to consider how radicals can collectively
support each other throughout [all seasons of life]. I am not a parent
and don't see myself becoming one in the near future, however I do
find it helpful to think about how I interact with children and
friends who are parents. Most of us will become involved in a child's
life at some point either as a mom or dad, uncle or aunt, housemate or
friend. It is easy to for radical people, who are often [socialized so
badly], to interact with kids in [messed up] ways, especially if they
haven't reflected on the ways that their politics can inform their
interactions with kids and parents. Writings and conversations about
radical parenting consistently give me things to think about.
Publications that specifically address the concerns of radical men who
are raising kids are valuable because of the way that [society often
attributes nurturing… to women and mothers] It is telling that the
verb 'to mother' evokes an image of active (if not always flattering)
parenting while the verb 'to father' tends to connote a momentary act
without any [necessary] connection to the object fathered. Rad Dad
offers a place for people of all genders to think about issues that
effect parents and here them articulated by men who are often trying
to take a more active role in parenting than was expected of their
fathers and grandfathers.
One of the things I like most about Rad Dad is the way that it
expresses struggles and tensions rather than solutions. Tomas, who
generally contributes 2-3 pieces to the zine each issue, does not set
himself up as an authority on radical parenting so much as share, in a
very personal way, some of the struggles he has raising three people
in a [broken world-messed up world]. His pieces have dealt with
pornography and drug use; how to watch his children navigate the
racism and sexism of the system while giving them the space to make
mistakes, or even just make choices that are different from the ones
he would make. The other contributors bring in different voices of men
raising kids; struggling to exist in a radical scene that is hostile
to parents or a parenting scene that is hostile to radicals, dealing
with colic in infants and questioning the conventional wisdom of
punishments and rewards, being a gay uncle/sperm donor or a dad who
didn't happen to donate sperm. Rad Dad also frequently includes lists
of resources for radical parents, from message boards to children's
Issue number 6 showcases another stunning letterpress printed cover
by artnoose which substantially adds to the visual appeal of the zine.
The theme for this issue is anger and frustration. Tomas starts of
with a personal introduction about how he has been angry a lot lately
and butting heads with his son, and about acknowledging that anger but
not letting it overwhelm all of the other things he is feeling. This
is followed by selections from a message board of men who are
dealing/have dealt with frustration at toddlers are able to share
stories and give each other support. Chip writes about how he
struggles with fears of becoming the 'angry guy' his father was as he
interacts with his teenage daughter. Several other contributions
follow and Tomas concludes with a piece about how his own father was
often unable to communicate the his love, and that learning from his
father in retrospect and doing Rad Dad makes Tomas hopeful about his
own efforts to show his children his love. There are no answers in Rad
Dad, only the wisdom that comes from sharing struggles for back issues
at $3+postage contact If you are in berkeley,
you can find copies at local bookstores and info shops [Pegasus, Long
Haul, etc] Rad Dad 7 is due out in July.

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