Dad is fat. Is Dad fat? How fat is Dad? Why is Dad fat? When did fat Dad move from skinny Dad? Can Dad get skinny doing the 7-minute workout? How, in the end, is the female gaze responsible for the fat Dad as expressed in media and literature? Was Joyce the epitomized skinny Dad and, in reflection, Bukowski the fat one? Was Bukowski a Dad?
These are the questions philosopher Jim Gaffigan explores in his treatise entitled Dad Is Fat. This short tome taken from his public speaking engagements and personal writings, explore the problem of the fat Dad in this modern age. Gaffigan, who, I believe, is a professor at Oxford studying the Other As Dad when he is not performing stand-up comedy, is an able guide to the realm of the fat Dad, he being fat himself and a Dad.
Those familiar with the Gaffigan ouvre will find themselves comforted by this book. It recaps many of his famous lectures, most recently a chautauqua on the Übermensch entitled Mr. Universe. Much of his stand-up content appears here, verbatim, which you would assume could put off longtime followers. However, there is enough new material here to be eminently enjoyable and it is nice to see his stand-up recast as sparkling prose.
As Gaffigan explores the fatness of Dad, we are reminded of Wittgenstein's work in Logik with shades of Didion's situational artisanship in Slouching Towards Bethlehem. While Gaffigan's arguments are not as razor sharp as, say, Kant's, his efforts are not for naught. In fact, it is a pleasure to read his book while drinking three beers and eating pork rinds, something that cannot be said of many geniuses of his caliber.
Should you buy and read this book? Do you like fat Dads? Do you like Jim Gaffigan? If you fall into the overlap of this Venn diagram of puffy men and the women who love them, I encourage you and yours to share this book and enjoy the treasures within. Are you one of those Dads who is dour and skinny and strangely menacing at Little League games? Perhaps this is not your speed. Regardless of your relative fatness, however, we can all agree with Gaffigan when he writes "Buy this book. I is a good writer."
Dad is Fat [Amazon]