Lists, Miscellanea, Reviews

Bad Dads: A Top Ten List

As I celebrated fiction’s worst mothers in honor of Mother’s Day, I think it’s only fair I celebrate fiction’s worst fathers for Father’s Day. In an effort to combat the sentimentality of the day, here are five spiteful, violent, or just plain neglectful fathers from fiction and music. I happen to be an expert in the bad dad category (not that I have one anymore) – why yes, I’m being flippant about abandonment and death here – distasteful jokes for the win.

Jack Nicholson has a complicated family lineage of his own. In no particular order:

In literature:

5. Heathcliff in Wuthering Height by Emily Brontë. I consider Heathcliff a bad guy all around. Suffer, son, for I’ll never allow you to live near my enemy.

4. Humbert Humbert in Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Even though he’s not her real father, it’s still inexcusable.

3. King Lear in King Lear by William Shakespeare. He wouldn’t know good thing if it stood in front of him. Obviously.

2. Tywin Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R. R. Martin. I cannot tell you how excited I am for the upcoming season, I’ll be positively gleeful after…

1. Jack Torrance in The Shining by Stephen King. Although you can blame the hotel all you want, Jack wasn’t exactly the model image of fatherhood before The Overlook overtook him.

In music:

5. Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. It took me a long time to realize how sad this song was.

4. Janie’s Got a Gun by Aerosmith. Janie’s got a gun – and a good reason to use it.

3. Country Death Song by Violent Femmes. Just…no. Violent Femmes have some good options – runner up Gone Daddy Gone.

2. The Father Who Must Be Killed by Morrissey. Morrissey – always the picture of good cheer.

1. Story of Isaac by Leonard Cohen. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son. Anything I have to say on this topic could easily be skewed as disrespectful (which is probably because it would be).

As always – thoughts? Suggestions? Obvious omissions aside from George Michael’s Father Figure…


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