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#nodads
June 17, 2012 5:01 AM   Subscribe

The philosophers have only sought to impregnate the world in different positions; the point is to pleasure it. "What is it to Philosophise Fatherlessly?" The inaugural post of the (slightly NSFW) #nodads Tumblr, which celebrates the #nodads Twitter hashtag. #NoDads Is Our Principal Of Solidarity. Happy Father's Day!
posted by gerryblog (61 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
What? "What?" #what
posted by DarlingBri at 5:41 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


No dads.
posted by The White Hat at 5:44 AM on June 17, 2012


Rather than figure out what this is supposed to be about, I'm gonna make pancakes with my son.
posted by sciurus at 5:53 AM on June 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh, right. That's why graduate programs have comps.
posted by R. Schlock at 5:59 AM on June 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm confused.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:04 AM on June 17, 2012


If I were #nodads, I'd point out you guys are being a total bunch of dads about this.
posted by gerryblog at 6:04 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I grew up largely fatherless, and I can't help thinking this is skeevy before I click the links.
posted by Mezentian at 6:09 AM on June 17, 2012


I'm confused.

I honestly tried to find the least confusing introductions to the #nodads line, but as you can see they tend to refuse that kind of discourse. The point, if I can summarize, is to argue that philosophy, politics, and theory have been predicated in a kind of dad-ness -- these discourses seek to discipline people, to reproduce themselves, to boss everyone around, to shout everybody else down, to do all the sorts of (bad) things dads do. #nodads as a slogan (or a "principle of solidarity") is an attempt to think outside those tendencies.

Now, in practice, #nodads seems to be mostly used to troll people, but there is a kernel of an idea at its core that I thought might be interesting to talk about on this, the most daddiest of days.
posted by gerryblog at 6:10 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


She's great. I'd really like to see more from her.
posted by likeatoaster at 6:22 AM on June 17, 2012


You know the phrase "too clever by half"? This is half as clever as that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:26 AM on June 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


#nodads
posted by crayz at 6:30 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is very clever, actually, as most criticisms of #nodads can be dismissed out of hand in exactly the way old gerryblog does up there, by pointing out that the critic is being a total dad.

I will, however, critique it as a peer, rather than a patriarch.

My critique is: This is boring.
posted by Sokka shot first at 6:33 AM on June 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Isn't a hashtag basically memetic sperm though?
posted by condour75 at 6:37 AM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know the phrase "too clever by half"? This is half as clever as that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:26 AM


Exactly clever enough = 1
Too clever by half = 1.5
.5(Too clever by half) = .75

Still more clever than dumb?

I think this is the sort of thing that is incredibly easy to say and incredibly difficult to pull off, which is probably why it gets responses like naked ladies with painty cardboard heads and giant balloony pink dildos (those are sure some whacky kicks she's got on tho). Break out of the whole dialectic altogether! Why not? Yet the author cannot begin to explain what it is on about without invoking the very concept that is supposedly being rejected.

A monk asked Joshu, a Chinese Zen master: `Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?’ Joshu answered: `Mu.’ [Mu is the negative symbol in Chinese, meaning `No-thing’ or `Nay’]

Mumon’s comments: To realize Zen one has to pass through the barrier of the patriarchs. Enlightenment always comes after the road of thinking is blocked. If you do not pass the barrier of the patriarchs or if your thinking road is not blocked, whatever you think, whatever you do, is like a tangling ghost. You may ask: What is a barrier of a patriarch? This one word, Mu, is it.

This is the barrier of Zen. If you pass through it you will see Joshu face to face. Then you can work hand in hand with the whole line of patriarchs. Is this not a pleasant thing to do?

If you want to pass this barrier, you must work through every bone in your body, through every pore in your skin, filled with this question: What is Mu? and carry it day and night. Do not believe it is the common negative symbol meaning nothing. It is not nothingness, the opposite of existence. If you really want to pass this barrier, you should feel like drinking a hot iron ball that you can neither swallow nor spit out.

Then your previous lesser knowledge disappears. As a fruit ripening in season, your subjectivity and objectivity naturally become one. It is like a dumb man who has had a dream. He knows about it but cannot tell it.

posted by nanojath at 6:41 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


How does one respond without authority when to respond imbues authority?

[tips over the pitcher]
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:46 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


To put my critique in a less drive-by snark sort of way, #nodads is a weak meme because it reifies and affirms so-called "daditude" even as it claims to begin in the absence of the dad-child dichotomy. Why cling to the idea of "fertile" philosophy as being like sexual reproduction, let alone with the "dad" as the only active participant? Why aspire to "infertility" when this meme is no more or less "fertile" than any other meme? Why did people read a screed on beginning in the absence of daditude, a screed which accurately claims that rejecting daditude may actually affirm daditude, but then backpedal by getting back into what is functionally a mere rejection of daditude? And why does the screed itself allow daditude to encompass so many ideas which do not need to be rolled up with daditude at all, such as so-called fertility?

Exactly clever enough = 1
Too clever by half = 1.5
.5(Too clever by half) = .75

Still more clever than dumb?


Nope, sorry. One-half of three-halves clever is three-fourths clever. A quarter away from being clever.

I do agree, though, that an approach which actually broke out of that dialectic would have been more interesting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:47 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


How does one respond without authority when to respond imbues authority?

• By forcing authority into an obvious paradox.
• By acting and existing, regardless of anything that says you do not or should not.
• By reframing the discussion.
• By realizing that accepting current authority may be part of a larger, longer strategy to achieve greater justice. After all, a blanket refusal to accept current authority affirms the current social order just as much as acting like "a perfect citizen."
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:52 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


#nodads is a weak meme because it reifies and affirms so-called "daditude"

This is it exactly. Their claim seems to be that they now exist in a void of daditude. But points 1-6 in the first link are precisely a confrontation with dad: an attempt to meet him in combat and overthrow him once and for all. And points 7-9 are just as precisely the seed by which they hope to impregnate the world with the idea of philosophical infertility.

In other words: looks like the condom broke, and #nodads is becoming a dad.
posted by moss at 7:10 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Though in fairness, I suppose the act of explaining #nodads was inevitably going to run the risk of dad-ness, and you did say "they tend to refuse that kind of discourse".)
posted by moss at 7:14 AM on June 17, 2012


Oh, I get it: Self-regarding bafflegab=philosophical rigor. Dear god, I miss Richard Rorty.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:14 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The point, if I can summarize, is to argue that philosophy, politics, and theory have been predicated in a kind of dad-ness...

Can you explain what "dad-ness" is? 'Cause Father's day seems like an excellent time to learn this and I await your nuanced definition.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2012


You must become your father, but a paler, weaker version of him....Begin by whispering, in front of a mirror, for thirty minutes a day. Then tie your hands behind your back for thirty minutes a day, or get someone else to do this for you. Then, choose one of your most deeply held beliefs, such as the belief that your honors and awards have something to do with you, and abjure it. Friends will help you abjure it, and can be telephoned if you begin to backslide. You see the pattern, put it into practice. Fatherhood can be, if not conquered, at least 'turned down' in this generation—by the combined efforts of all of us together. Rejoice.
-- Donald Barthelme, "Manual for Sons" #nodads
posted by Catchfire at 7:20 AM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, just look at the sentence half of that sentence for a start: "these discourses seek to discipline people, to reproduce themselves, to boss everyone around, to shout everybody else down, to do all the sorts of (bad) things dads do."

Most of this is just a cutesy, kids-today way of talking about patriarchy.
posted by gerryblog at 7:21 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your daddy issues are not a philosophy.
posted by rocket88 at 7:24 AM on June 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well, just look at the sentence half of that sentence for a start: "these discourses seek to discipline people, to reproduce themselves, to boss everyone around, to shout everybody else down, to do all the sorts of (bad) things dads do."

Yeah, but that seems to assume that all dads are alike, that they are simply one Prometheus movie style race, indistinguishable from another.

Which is silly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:26 AM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, you asked me about "dad-ness," not about any particular person's father. The distinction would be more obvious maybe if they'd gone for #noDads instead of #nodads, but that's probably a bit too on-the-nose, and definitely wouldn't be as effective at getting people riled up.

The closest parallel I can think of is when someone's complaining about "white people" and someone responds "Hey, I'm white!" The critique is calling a concept of "dad" into existence; you're only in the set if your dad-ness puts you there.
posted by gerryblog at 7:36 AM on June 17, 2012


I think this is pretty neat. I also liked the close reading of the video in the last link.

It is important to note, just in case anyone who is reading this doesn't spend a bunch of time on theory, that "dadness" has the same relation to "being a guy who has a kid" as "whiteness" has to "being a pink-skinned person of largely European descent".

Although this is not where theory-types would go with the whole dadness thing, it does remind me of how graduate school (and a lot of internet arguing) operates through a kind of Oedipal rage - where people are driven to destroy, obliterate, delegitimatize their intellectual progenitors in a state of compulsive, rageful, snide, 'which side are you on' fury, and that this type of discourse in fact causes the father/son/father/son lineage-is-visible-and-is-all kind of discourse to persist in the academy, and that's why I didn't go to grad school.
posted by Frowner at 7:40 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


ooooh, pwnd. Which is appropriate, I guess.
posted by Frowner at 7:40 AM on June 17, 2012


It strikes me as light-hearted, if not a bit silly -- but I don't know why so many people are so upset by this. Chill out, dads. It's Fathers Day!
posted by Catchfire at 7:49 AM on June 17, 2012


Mansplaining.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:50 AM on June 17, 2012


Post-pancakes, if we take the "dad" derail out of #nodads, what are we left with? To me it seems that we're left with a philosophical position that rejects the concepts of authority and creation (which seems to be more of a "mom" thing) in favor of infertility or unproductiveness and a laissez-faire attitude toward existence. If that's the case, what's the point? I prefer momentum over inertia.
posted by sciurus at 8:06 AM on June 17, 2012


#nodads is stupid and stinky.
posted by zoo at 8:17 AM on June 17, 2012


Dudes dare to ditch dad's dialectic, dip deeply into duditude, display dadness despite discourse?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:20 AM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I prefer my philosophizing with #noads.
posted by bpm140 at 8:21 AM on June 17, 2012


On a less circular note, this whole thing seems to be making grossly simplistic comparisons between authority and masculinity. I'm sure my single mother who managed to bring me up and discipline me whilst running a largely successful business would find this comparison hugely disrespectful.
posted by zoo at 8:23 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


cool has been lame lately
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:29 AM on June 17, 2012


I see what this is attempting but not succeeding at, so meh.

But, because it's better than anything I saw in the post, I give you Alice Donut with their light hearted take on fatherhood, a sweet little song called Lisa's Father. Warning: very dark and fucking awesome.

I'm off to the KEXP Father's Day dance party, to happily bounce around with my boys to punk and indie pop, then bike to Safeco with my older son to watch the Giants/Mariners. Suck it, lame dads.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:29 AM on June 17, 2012


I propose #nodada instead, a rejection of the rejection of rationality and orthography, which because it doesn't claim anything in its place, suggests that intentionally creating nonsense is no closer to no-sense / no-action than any other intentional approach. Wu Wei is without effort and intent, it is neither creation nor a rejection; you will find it only when you stop looking.

"Some say he is a holy man, others say he is a shithead."
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:51 AM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


On a less circular note, this whole thing seems to be making grossly simplistic comparisons between authority and masculinity. I'm sure my single mother who managed to bring me up and discipline me whilst running a largely successful business would find this comparison hugely disrespectful.

Some actual dads might find it a little disrespectful, too, on Father's Day no less.
posted by Edgewise at 8:53 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


#nodads
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:58 AM on June 17, 2012


Star Wars pretty much asked, fully explored, and answered this question 30 years ago.

If mefi were all the universe, this would be a double post :-)
posted by roboton666 at 9:06 AM on June 17, 2012


Your daddy issues are not a philosophy.

They should put that above the Post Comment button here, right where it says "Note: Everyone needs a hug" on the gray.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:06 AM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I appreciate #nodads as a way for adult and near-adult children to disassociate from their parentally-assigned identities and sort out their own sense of self out of the wreckage we parents left behind.

Furthermore, this is, to continue the star wars meme, the rebel alliance teaming up with the ewoks.
posted by roboton666 at 9:18 AM on June 17, 2012


The closest parallel I can think of is when someone's complaining about "white people" and someone responds "Hey, I'm white!" The critique is calling a concept of "dad" into existence; you're only in the set if your dad-ness puts you there.

Right, see, and that's horseshit is the thing. The "critique" is based on a false (not to mention insulting and stupid) premise. You are in fact being put in the set, and if you don't belong there, the person implying the set is a goddamn moron.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:10 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to know a weird guy who would sing "a very merry unbirthday" at people's birthday parties. It was his way of celebrating himself and others instead of celebrating the actual focus of the celebration. It was his way of shitting on someone else's special day.

This post reminded me of him.
posted by Flood at 10:14 AM on June 17, 2012


ThatFuzzyBastard: It's not horseshit. It's a built in "no true scotsman" fallacy that lets people dismiss any criticism that does not accept the premises of the work.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2012


> Catchfire: Donald Barthelme, "Manual for Sons"

By the father of postmodern fiction, no less.
posted by fivebells at 10:28 AM on June 17, 2012


You must become your father, but a paler, weaker version of him....
Actually, that kind of explains the career of postmodern fiction over the last 40 years or so.
posted by fivebells at 10:30 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am a dad. I'm the jerk ruining his own party, thank you very much.
posted by gerryblog at 10:59 AM on June 17, 2012


ThatFuzzyBastard: It's not horseshit. It's a built in "no true scotsman" fallacy that lets people dismiss any criticism that does not accept the premises of the work.

Welll, yeah, when the premises are false, the work merits dismissal.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:07 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a dad. I'm the jerk ruining his own party, thank you very much.

Is that how your mother raised you?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:14 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is an idea in maternal theory (a sub discipline of gender studies) that it's problematic that our society tends to privilege the position of child over mother, because every one (ie. all teh menz) knows what it's like to be a child, but not everyone experiences motherhood.

I feel like #nodads operates in this vein, expanding this sort of critical perspective into realms that are outside of child rearing. The #nodads thing seems to come, like Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus, at the world from the perspective that a) there's a heckuva lot of things going on, and b) the narrative of traditional domestic/familial development isn't always useful for describing the myriad and complex (rhizomatic) world.

The business with infertility is of particular interest, because the gendered notion of 'dad,' of paternalism and patriarchy has historically relied on colonizing fertile (feminized) spaces. By refusing to call paternal acts creative the balance of fertility shifts, becomes radically free, exists outside of the difference between 'men' and 'women.' Engendering becomes ungendered. C'mon, that's nifty.
posted by emilycardigan at 11:56 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anything done for the first time unleashes a demon.
posted by kipmanley at 12:07 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


prostate cancer :( #nograndpas
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:26 PM on June 17, 2012


these discourses seek to discipline people, to reproduce themselves, to boss everyone around, to shout everybody else down, to do all the sorts of (bad) things dads do.

You were never raised by my mother...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:08 PM on June 17, 2012


I've decided to pretend that nodads are the philosophical opposite of doodads in the unlikely event that this silly hashtag should impugn on my consciousness any further after I exit this thread.
posted by nanojath at 1:10 PM on June 17, 2012


The main problem I have with #nodads is the politics. On the side of #nodads, we have Berlusconi, Putin, and Bush. They aren't imposing authority figures, they are more one of the guys, guys you can relate to, you can have a beer with, and so on. Crucial to their appeal is their strength and virility. Putin and Bush strut around in military outfits, rejecting the abstract "dad" position of Commander in Chief and personally taking up weapons like they are one of the grunts. Berlusconi is known for his corruption and sex parties -- he openly rejects the "dad" of the law and social norms about public sexual behavior, prostitution, sex with minors, etc.

Just like #nodads, Berlusconi rejects the reproductive function of sex and chooses pure enjoyment. In a similar way, Bush and Putin reject the abstract function of Commander in Chief and choose pleasure, the erotic pleasure of raw violence, physical domination and coercion.

So #nodads definitely captures the contemporary right wing mood. The story of Spartacus is often taken as an inspiration for the struggle and liberation of the oppressed. In this interpretation, the main appeal of Spartacus is that he has moral authority. Passing the story through #nodads philosophy, we arrive at Starz' semi-pornographic miniseries, where the point of the story is not struggle for justice, instead it is just a pretext to enjoy sex and violence.

Today's conservative philosophy of policing is also a #nodads philosophy, as you can easily see in this essay: Against Law, For Order. Mike Konczal refers to James Q. Wilson, the author of the famous neoconservative "Broken Windows" theory of policing:
For Wilson, society took a wrong turn when it viewed the ideal role of policing as detectives solving a crime or a system following clear rules agreed on in advance. The real purpose of the policeman was to preserve order, pushing the limits of his or her authority in an improvisational, eternal combat against an almost self-conscious disorder.
This is a shift from the traditional "dad" ideas that ruled public safety: innocent until proven guilty, due process, Miranda warnings, procedure, law. Today, these rules are thought of as politically-correct coddling of criminals. Instead, we have #nodads police, who are free to use any pretext to harass, intimidate, humiliate and terrorize the people. The order they enforce is not one based on any abstract, rational dad-ish notion of rightness or correctness. It is a kind of chaotic, irrational order of "We do what we want, because we can." The conclusion is that #nodads stands for eroticized power, grounded directly in violence.
posted by AlsoMike at 1:40 PM on June 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Dear god, I miss Richard Rorty.

Five years without Rorty
posted by homunculus at 3:52 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The business with infertility is of particular interest, because the gendered notion of 'dad,' of paternalism and patriarchy has historically relied on colonizing fertile (feminized) spaces. By refusing to call paternal acts creative the balance of fertility shifts, becomes radically free, exists outside of the difference between 'men' and 'women.' Engendering becomes ungendered. C'mon, that's nifty.

But the screed did not refuse to call paternal acts fertile at all. It did the exact opposite. It explicitly identified fertility with a dad-impregnating-mom paradigm, and then it rejected fertility. This reinforces the idea of the dad as that which propagates fertile ideas, and rejects the idea of alternative ways to view so-called fertility with regard to philosophical discourse.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:15 PM on June 17, 2012


Twitter is clearly the most philosophical of all internet platforms.

Also:
Likewise, without the above formulation, #nodads often appears to be less a non-hierarchical project than an elaborate inside joke, a sort of #seapunk for those who spend less time at the Cove. Whether this is stems from the nature of social media, those ‘curating’ the hashtag, or some patriarchal longing on behalf of the dadded, I’m not really sure, but it’s an issue that seems to be worth reflecting on, and one that’s (perhaps accidently) reinforced by the vagueness of phrasings like “Those who are spoken to by #nodads.”
Totally makes sense.
posted by delmoi at 7:07 PM on June 17, 2012


<ctrl-f>lawn

(i) Phrase not found

Wow, no dads indeed.
posted by Reverend John at 8:22 AM on June 18, 2012


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