The Punk Dad Manifesto

One parent’s struggle against the man, the machine, and cul-de-sac fascism
by Thomas Pluck, from The Morning News
July-August 2011
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This missive was found in the mailboxes of the members of the Marigold Gardens Homeowners’ Association on Wednesday morning. We have substituted the @ symbol to depict hand-drawn, encircled capital letter A’s used in places throughout the document. 

Let it be known: 

We do not recognize the authority of your crypto-fascist Homeowners’ Association, whose pantsuited army rules illegitimately through fear and intimidation.

The Anarchy flag will NOT be removed from the balcony of 38 Marigold Court (hereon forthwith referred to as “Rebel Commune”).

Until the day the fire department extends its ladder across the cul de sack [sic] and breaks solidarity with us, in no doubt threatened with loss of their jobs by the appointed thugs supported by your bake sales and tricky trays, proudly will it flap as the last banner of true freedom in our sub­division.

Rebel Commune will make NO promise that children left for playdates will not return with their hair colored with unsweetened Kool-Aid and moussed into fake mohawks. Thank your petty gods for the mercy we show in not getting out the clippers and sending them home with REAL ones.

Take note that we said unsweetened Kool-Aid. After the incident with Britton and the Geldsteins’ weinmaraners [sic] it was decided this was a wiser course. Also, Punk Dad will ensure all handcuffs, safety pins, and spiked leatherwear are collected before sending children (hereon and forthwith known as “L’il Anarchy Warriors”) home.

A decibel meter has been purchased, but the Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, Bad Brains, Ramones, and Misfits will continue to be played during playdates to teach the L’il Anarchy Warriors the true meaning of punk.

Riot Grrrl Mom’s playlist of Bikini Kill, L7, and Sleater-Kinney will also continue to be played, whether or not girls are present.

Green Day are poseurs and will ONLY be played during time-outs (or “sell-outs,” as we call them). This is not negotiable.

Exception may be made for American Idiot.

Vegan snacks will be available, and Cassidy’s nut allergy will be accommodated. An Epipen (and an adrenaline shot for that matter) are kept on Rebel Commune premises at all times.

Sk@teboarding at Rebel Commune WILL be restricted to between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. as per city ordnance [sic]. The swimming pool will be used for this purpose and NOT filled with water until the first day the temperature hits 80. Chlorine and Ph ARE properly monitored! The “greenish” color of the water is due to the Kool-Aid. If this offends you, please stand in solidarity with us against Maggie’s Salon until they agree to carry Manic Panic hair products.

Riot Grrrl Mom says when you buy Manic Panic online, you can’t really tell what exact shade you’re getting, particularly the difference between Toxic Turquoise and Kick Your Azure.

The art mower project is now defunct. After three bottle caps were sent flying through the bay window of your fascist HQ, we surrender: It is just not feasible. Rebel Commune’s homeowner’s insurance has cut check #1348912, and we are told it is being processed.

The Black Flag sticker on Punk Dad’s riding mower will NOT be removed.

Rebel Commune will take measures to ensure no more pot plants start growing in the cul de sack [sic] compost facility. The sign said “only organic materials.”


Punk Dad will refrain from referring to police as “fucking pigs” around the L’il Anarchy Warriors. He will call them “fascist thugs” instead. Also, after much argument, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off!” has been removed from the iPod playlist. It has been replaced with “Take the Skinheads Bowling” and “John Wayne Was a Nazi.” This will instill the lesson that Nazis are not cool, without Li’l Anarchy Warriors getting sent home from pre-K for dropping the “F” bomb.

“Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” has also been removed. Please give Mrs. Farber our condolences about Hoffman’s nostrils. We paid for the ER visit co-pay. We have told the L’il Anarchy Warriors it is not cool to make fun of the red marks on Hoff’s nose.


L’il An@rchy Warriors will ALWAYS be rewarded for fighting the power and questioning authority, even when the power is Punk Dad and/or Riot Grrrl Mom!

Exception is made for sneaking our beer. Then they get a sell-out and have to listen to that “Time of Your Life” song on the iPod, because only POSEURS steal Punk Dad’s beer or Riot Grrrl Mom’s “special” cola!

In closing:

Rebel Commune will persevere to put the Subculture in the Subdivision and the SACK in our cul de sack [sic], and to FIGHT THE POWER between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.!


Excerpted from The Morning News (March 22, 2011), an online magazine published weekdays since 

cover-166-thumbnailHave something to say? Send a letter to This article first appeared in the July-August 2011 issue of Utne Reader

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Post a comment below.


9/28/2015 8:26:36 AM
What a joyful and humorous comment on living in a conservative and homogeneic community. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Now we need an equivalent black culture equivalent:I'm thinking of the likes of meshell N'degoncello, Erikah Badu P-Funk and cats like Miles, Charlie, Monk...What a great world it would be if we fuzed all that crazy music all together. Love you mister Plunk!!!

Thomas Pluck
7/22/2011 1:29:14 PM
I love the illustration drawn to accompany this.

steve eatenson
7/22/2011 6:11:32 AM
YES! Encouraging free thought and action is far too neglected in our so called free society. If you don't use it, you lose it. Unfortunately, when it comes to getting a job in White Collar America, tatoos, punk hair and wild clothes will get you a thanks but no thanks. Better encourage the kids to be plumbers, electricians, diesel mechanics and welders ..... more honest and often better paying jobs anyway! Oh, and lose the marijuana, most trade association jobs drug test these days.

7/20/2011 11:38:47 AM
This letter serves as an absolutely fascinating juxtaposition of modern culture with subculture. Much respect to "Punk Dad" for standing up to and out from the bland horizons of Neighborhood Association land. While I must admit that punk rock (and trust me, I'm a long time subculture enthusiast) can be almost as crypto-fascist and stymieing as the clone housing culture, those with spirit and defiance in their hearts will always bring a gleam to my eye and a curl to my lips. Cheers Punk Dad! Keep rattling the fences along the nicer side of the tracks!

7/20/2011 4:46:52 AM
All hail Punk Dad! We stand united against ALL crypto-fascist Homeowners’ Associations!!

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