I served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in two dreadful cases of child sexual abuse. A thirty-five year old mother working in law enforcement allowed her 19-year-old boyfriend, a former prisoner, to brutally – and then repeatedly – rape her 5-year-old daughter. The mother and boyfriend were convicted and both went to prison, he for life.

The second case involved a stepfather who had sexually terrorized his stepdaughter. The stepfather was never criminally prosecuted, and though civil litigation was initiated, the lawsuit settled out of court for a token payment. The stepfather then married his adopted daughter.

A chorus spontaneously materialized in my head. It was scriptural, in an odd sort of way, an anti-hymn perhaps, composed by Sophocles as a sequel to Oedipus Rex. Fuck Mom, Fuck Dad, Fuck all the memories I never had. Fuck honor, Fuck obey, Fuck the wrath of judgment day.

Possessed by a righteousness borne out of tragedy, and distinguished by the uncompromising force of its rhetoric, this song, impiously titled Fuck Mom/Fuck Dad (2017), is performed by Crying 4 Kafka (Paul Abramson, Marc Bobro, Bryan Kovarick, and Ian Putnam).

Fuck Mom/Fuck Dad (2017) is hardly the first song to juggle provocative imagery with an explicit, disturbing message, Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit being the exemplar:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit. Blood on the leaves and blood at the root. Black body swinging in the Southern breeze. Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Initially performed in 1939, Strange Fruit was a scathing indictment of lynching at a time when White America had not yet fully embraced the cause, perhaps distracted instead by the drivel of Mammy and crew in Gone With the Wind.

Even when dominated by the word fuck, songs can nonetheless be self-affirming, Kesha’s Woman being a case in point. Life however is not limited to enriching moments. Fuck Mom/Fuck Dad (2017) rests upon the notion that art and human suffering are often inextricably bound.

Fuck Mom/Fuck Dad (2017) is available on Itunes.



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