www.microcosmpublishing.com) My first reaction to this zine, before even reading it, was instincts of disinterest and disapproval. As far as the former, nothing is more boring than hearing someone talk about their kids, and the hipster parents with a baby in a Misfits onesie seem particularly grating. As far as the latter, while dedicated, caring, progressive fatherhood is commendable, actually commending it seems problematic. That's because men are the men of the world (that's why it's called patriarchy), while women are marginalized and discriminated against, so even if there are situations where a man is a minority or made to feel inferior, it feels distasteful to stand up and say "Let's give a hand for the dads" or to whine about injustice. When a white person is discriminated against by blacks, declaring White Pride may not be the best move, and that often applies to Man Pride as well.
Then I read the zine and clearly the few times my fears were confirmed by lesser writers (there's a ton of contributors) it was far outnumbered by the interesting, original essays. It didn't hurt that the first issue I got was a sex-themed issue featuring a ton of topics that genuinely were outside of mainstream, common parenting discussions. The three recent issues don't seem as radical, even if the current one features intelligent discussions and interesting journals about involving kids in the Occupy movement. But these are generally good reads, despite one pet peeve I have: the regular issues have a lot if short essays that feel bloggish, which I guess is OK, but I'm not super comfortable with print feeling like printed out Web. The book collecting the best of early issues, plus new interviews/features, does not suffer from any bloggishness, as each chapter stands strongly alone, and builds towards bigger themes, as do concise but insightful interviews with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Raj Patel, and Ian MacKaye. I was particularly into the section about dealing with teens and pre-teens and the discussions of introducing gender and race issues to your kids. It's still never as interesting as the author thinks it is when they talk about their kids, but these examples are definitely not vacation slideshow boring.