From Iggy Pop to Godard: Our Favorite Culture “Daddies”


Who’s your daddy, punk? No, really! See, some children aren’t just flesh and blood. Some “dads” breed cultural revolutions and art movements. Father’s Day is upon us, and for that occasion, we thought we’d round up a few of our favorite proverbial “Fathers of…” world-altering happenings. Here’s to the virile musicians, writers, and scientists and their rumored, disputed, and celebrated paternity of something new and potentially wonderful. Naturally, it’s a subjective little group, so do feel free to contribute. We’re all family here!

The Father of Punk: Iggy Pop

He was once a young kid from a Michigan trailer park who was mesmerized by Jim Morrison’s stage shenanigans… so he one-upped him. Years before the Sex Pistols arrived on the scene all styled out by McLaren–Westwood, Iggy Pop fronted the Stooges with that sound and those moves. He bled, he vomited, he convulsed, he reveled in excess and survived. According to some, he even performed the first ever stage dive at a concert in Detroit, but who knows.

The Father of Rap: Gil Scott-Heron

Songwriter, vocalist, novelist, poet, and legend Gil Scott-Heron is credited as the father of rap and listening to his most known ’70 recording “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” should clear all doubts. His cadence, social message and power kindled it all and played an influential role in hip hop at and since its birth. He continued recording relevant work until he died recently this year.

The Father of the Beats: William S. Burroughs

Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs is dubbed as one of the fathers of the Beat movement, albeit he disliked labels. Maybe it was the heroin, but he was different, darker. His nightmarish streams of consciousness spoke to a future breed of rebellious, vicious youth, hence Burroughs’s other familial moniker that he resisted — “the Godfather of Punk.” It’s true though. Just ask Iggy.

The Father of the American Literature: Mark Twain

William Faulker dubbed Mark Twain “the father of American literature.” Ernest Hemingway was quoted saying that: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.'” Huck Finn “himself” has praised his creator: “That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.” Those are some reputable references.

The Father of Pop Art: Andy Warhol

We can argue at length on who came up with the idea of idolizing banal objects in art and whether Andy consciously copied Roy Lichtenstein or vice versa. Pop! There it is. If this phenomena is the Father of anything, then the Factory was his lucrative foster home where wild socialites and stoned exhibitionists could spread their creative wings, provided it was on camera.

The Father of Photography: Louis Daguerre

While Joseph Niepce’s first permanent photograph was quite revolutionary, what exactly is this? Enter theatre illusionist extraordinary Louis Daguerre who was looking to usurp and improve Niepce’s technique to make better replicas of his dioramas. He ended up inventing the first commercially successful method of photography and took the first ever daguerreotype of a person in 1838, over there in the distance, by the pump. Does that make him the Granddaddy of Paparazzo?

The Father of the French New Wave: Jean-Luc Godard

Here, also, we can debate whether it was Jean-Luc Godard or François Truffaut that played a greater role in birthing and parenting the French New Wave. Since Godard aggravated conventional audiences last year with his newest Film Socialisme, subtitled entirely in scattered nouns and verbs dubbed “Navajo English,” let’s point to his first born feature Breathless and the now-common jump cut that aggravated conventional audiences in 1960.

The Father of LSD: Albert Hoffman

Swiss plant chemist Albert Hoffman accidentally touched some LSD-25 in 1943 in a laboratory in Basel and had a dreamlike, kaleidoscopic, revelatory dizzy spell. Twenty years later, his trippy spawn is being passed around in drops on stamps in Haight-Ashbury and serving as a catalyst for all kinds of countercultural wonders. Much too much, Hoffman tsk-tsk-tsked. Still, he declare his “medicine for the soul” to be a tool of human evolution. He died in 2008 at 102.

The Father of Modern Electricity: Nicola Tesla

Yeah, fuck Thomas Edison! Serbian immigrant Nicola Tesla who invented radio X-rays, robotics, the Tesla coil, devices for high voltage discharges, concepts for electric vehicles and the alternating current system. He was was doing quite well until he was crushed Edison’s professional jealousy. He ended up dying in a hotel room in love with a pigeon, or so this historical video starring John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover and a drunk dude illustrate. We’re too sad to talk about it now.

The Fathers of the Internet: Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn

In 1973, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn co-invented Internet protocol (IP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), the two original protocols of the Internet protocol suite, its architecture and communication. Long story short, they revolutionized how we do everything ever, bridged continents and changed the world. But could these geniuses have foreseen LOLCATS?