Monday, November 28, 2011

The Other F Word Review

The Other F Word

At some point in the movie The Other F Word, Fat Mike--punk rocking, spike-haired, dominatrix-tattooed singer of NOFX--discusses his parenting philosophy. His wife and he decided from the beginning that they were not going to change. Unlike so many parents who divide their lives to before children and after children, and who end up with an inevitable midlife crisis of identity, Fat Mike and his wife decided to pull their daughter into their own punk-rock world, he says.

The Other F Word is a great documentary that needs to be seen by everyone. Everyone! (It is currently screening in a limited number of locations, so meanwhile take a look at the trailer below.) The filmmakers interview and follow well known punk rockers (as well as honorary punk rockers, like Tony Hawk) who spent the first part of their lives rebelling against any and all authority, and now find themselves in the position of authority figures for their kids.

While the movie is about the ironic struggles of punk rocking dads, the lessons of the movie belongs to all parents. While some of our childhood authority figures were more worthy than others, all of us rebelled to some extent, and all of us faced (and still face) the conflict between our proud rebellion days and our transformation into the targets of the rebellion. While turning into a rebel made perfect sense at the time, we're now shocked when we see the next generation dismiss us as the keepers of the old world we've turned out to be, at least in their eyes.

While some of us had more involved and loving parents than others, we all hope to do better, and while this is very central to the movie, where many of the musicians grew up pretty much by themselves, and are now determined to do a better job as parents, we all hope to do our best, certain our best can be at least as good as our parents'.

And all of us--even Fat Mike--delude ourselves, thinking our identities are strong enough to withstand the onslaught of kids... Soon after he makes his identity-guarding statement, he walks away from his daughter's princess bed to the kitchen to make toast with butter on a plastic plate with a picture of skull & cross bones. While the parents tried to pull the kid into their world, the kid had other plans. Looks like they met somewhere in the middle.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How to Get Chick-Fil-A Out Of School

I have recently succeeded in getting my kid's school to stop doing fundraisers at the local Chick-Fil-A restaurant. If you want to know how I did it or why, keep on reading.

Most people know only that Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays, and they rightly assume it's owned by Christian people. Obviously no one has or should have a problem with the religion of a restaurant owner. People should have a problem, though, with what the restaurant does with their money, and that's especially true when it comes to a school associating with that restaurant.

Chick-Fil-A is a restaurant chain owned by Fundamentalist Christians. The owners are very proud of their religion and in the way they push their version of Christianity in their restaurants. In the past, a Muslim employee was allegedly fired because he refused to thank Jesus Christ during a staff meeting. Now that the company had to settle with the employee for an undisclosed sum, they simply do their best to avoid a similar situation by careful hiring. According to Forbes Magazine, "They screen prospective operators for their loyalty, wholesome values and willingness to buy into Chick-Fil-A's in-your-face Christian credo."

More to the point is the company's very public donations to anti-gay groups (some of these groups have been labeled "Hate Groups" by the Southern Poverty Law Center). Supporting a restaurant that is so explicit in its opposition to gay marriage is taking a stand on a very controversial issue. If a school agrees with the restaurant that gay marriage is evil, then the school should hold events at Chick-Fil-A, but if the school opposes that idea or even chooses to avoid a political debate about civil rights, then the school should avoid associating itself with a company that has become the leading voice against gay marriage. News came out recently that Chick-Fil-A has given $2 Million to anti-gay organizations. When a school holds an event at that restaurant (or even worse, allows the cow mascot to visit the school for photo ops), it sends a message of support for the anti-gay agenda. By allowing your kids' schools to associate with Chick-Fil-A, your schools stop being neutral.

Now, don't get me wrong. My battle is definitely not with Christians in general. In fact, my battle is not with Chick-Fil-A or with anyone who dedicates his life to fight gay rights. People have a right to do that. However, the same law that guarantees their right to fight against the civil rights of others, gives me (and you) the right to do everything I can to stop my kid's school from having anything to do with them.

Here are some of the links I found.

Well, now that you know the facts, there are two things you can do. If you think your kids' school should take a stand against gay rights, enjoy your chikin'.

But if you think your kids' school should either support gay rights or avoid taking a stand on a controversial issue, please bring these facts to the attention of your kids's schools. I feel very fortunate that the principal at my boy's school informed me the school and the parents' association would no longer have anything to do with Chick-Fil-A. I do believe that most schools, when faced with these facts, would do the same.

A random picture found on the Internet. From


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