We Need To Have An Uncomfortable Conversation About Dads


The maestro of snark, DJ Cranky Pete, has come to light as none other than Senior Cranky from the iconic early 00s Richmond Alt Weekly Punchline, who gifted those of us that remember with his grumpy “scram-off-my-lawn” commentaries on city life. Fast forward to now and he’s rocking huge beard and a funny Substack called Five Song Friday, where his affinity for tunes mingles with his ruminations as a once-cool, now middle-aged gent. This week, he’s taken a dive into the abyss of Father’s Day and in true Cranky Pete fashion, he’s dishing it out alongside his hallmark Five Song Friday. Brace yourselves!

We need to have an uncomfortable conversation about dads.

I’m giving you fair warning, in case you want to skip right to the music.

The following paragraphs will contain wildly unpopular opinions, offensive sexist stereotypes and raw, unedited truths about fatherhood.

Some of you will NOT like what I have to say, because sometimes the truth can hurt.

But remember, it’s going to hurt me a lot more than it’s going to hurt you.

So here goes…

American dads are under attack.

Everybody thinks fathers have it so good.

Sure, we have our perks and privileges.

We have our own holiday!
We always get the remote control!
And we get to take out the garbage!
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right?

I thought so too.

But it turns out that fathers have been the victims of a subversive, cultural smear campaign that has been going on for decades.

While we get regular standing ovations and unconditional love from our families and pets, there are dark, outside forces at work behind the scenes. Forces determined to besmirch the very institution of fatherhood.

Think of the way they’ve rewritten parenting history with ignorant stereotypes.

According to “THEM,” in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, all dads were alcoholic misogynists.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s they were all workaholic philanderers.

Today, dads are nothing more than a bunch of corny idiots.

I know the patriarchy isn’t very popular these days, but 21st-century fathers have gone from mythic male embodiments of strength and knowledge to bumbling man-children who love sports games and beer drinks and truck stuff.

We started as “kings of our castle” but somehow ended up as court jesters.

You can turn on the television and see how they portray us.

When we try to fix things around the house… we always make things WORSE! Stupid pipes! Carpentry is hard!

People are ALWAYS trying to get us to eat right, but that kale just can’t compete with a plate of spicy wings! Dads love MEAT! Meat combined with fire? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Leave us alone with small kids? Two hours later, the place is a wreck and we’re wearing a princess dress and MAKEUP! Pillow forts and glitter! We’re more playmate than parent!

You think I’m kidding? These are the lies they feed the world. Pay attention for like five minutes and you’ll be SHOCKED.

It’s so rude that I can’t even right now.

If an alien landed on Earth from another planet? And everything he knew about humans came from movies, sitcoms and commercials?

He would think dads are SO dumb.

Who could blame him?

And Dads are not only dumb, we’re also LAME.

We’re ancient, out-of-touch oafs. Everything we do or say triggers an eye roll.

We get teased by teenagers for liking boring “old music” until some twee weirdo records a cover of a classic alternative song for some wack Netflix show about witches or werewolves. Then suddenly those same songs are AMAZING.

Let’s not forget that somehow we got blamed for entire genre of desperately bad puns and hacky wordplay gags known forever after as “Dad Jokes.”

Unfunny garbage like: “What did the pirate say on his 80th birthday? AYE MATEY”

And: “How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it.”

Or: “Spring is here! I got so excited I wet my plants!”

That last one isn’t even a joke!

Corny crap like that has been around forever, so why did you have to pin that on us?


Also? Everybody laughs and giggles behind our backs about “dad bods” and cargo shorts.


Just FYI, according to science, belly fat is harder to lose because it releases hormones that affect your health and ability to lose weight. Belly fat also has more cells that don’t respond as well to the breakdown process. So… yeah.

And we don’t hear you mocking our extra cargo pockets when you need us to carry your glasses and keys and makeup. Isn’t it funny that the same article of clothing you find “embarrassing” can also be “useful” and “convenient” at the same time?

The truth is that it’s hard out here for a Pop.

I know the world has changed.

Old notions about “the nuclear family” are no longer the norm.

I’m not looking for us to go back to the days when men ruled their homes with an iron fist and a leather belt.

I’m just asking that, as we all enjoy these days of social enlightenment and wider acceptance of cultural, sexual and gender diversity, you also extend the same basic courtesy to dads.

Please keep an open mind and understand that not every dad is the dorky, bumbling schlub that you see on TV. Not every dad is a corny, awkward, 14-year-old boy trapped inside the misshapen body of a 50-something man.

Granted, I am EXACTLY that… and so is EVERY other dad that I know… but my point is that there are plenty of people who are different.

So do me a favor and cut those other guys some slack.


DJ CrankyPete

Cranky Pete, Father's Day 2023

“The Death of Pop” – The Rub

I’m pretty sure the death of pop happened right around the time of auto-tune and the rise in popularity of the mumble rap. I hate to be that guy, but maybe try to ENUNCIATE? One could also argue that it was that Applebee’s country song or “Gangnam Style.” Of course, “Pac-Man Fever” was pretty terrible. And then there was that Patrick Swayze song about the wind. Oof. Maybe the bigger mystery here is not WHEN pop died as much as HOW pop died. My money is on spontaneous combustion.

“Wozani Mahipi” – Mahotella Queens

I grew up believing that the only music worth listening to was on the radio or MTV. It wasn’t my fault. I was a stupid kid who ate Hostess cupcakes for lunch at the school cafeteria and thought that Members Only jackets were cool. It wasn’t until I matured that I realized there was literally a whole world of amazing music out there that had nothing to do with the mainstream charts or the English language. I stand corrected.

“Simple Girl” – JR JR

I have to admit that I haven’t met too many simple girls in my life. Most of them have been incredibly complex and nuanced human women. I would never say that they were governed by “simple pleasures” or have “simple emotions.” In fact, they are VERY smart and so, so pretty. Especially the one looking over my shoulder as I write this.

“Psychos” – Jenny Lewis

These days, “psycho” isn’t a popular term for the mentally ill. But I think it’s time to bring back an old classic. Especially since the world is batshit insane right now and we don’t have time to be mincing words when dangerous weirdos are afoot.

Boredom (K.I.M. Remix)” – The Drones, K.I.M.

Don’t ask me what this song is about. All I know is that it gets me twitching like Elaine Benes at a wedding reception.

Read more Five Song Friday HERE

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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