Magazine article The New Yorker

Daddy-O

Magazine article The New Yorker

Daddy-O

Article excerpt

David Michael Perez and August Heffner, both thirty-three, both of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are the founders of Kindling Quarterly, a new journal devoted to the subject of fatherhood. The first issue received more attention than one might have expected. Much of this attention was favorable. But in some commentary Perez and Heffner have been called not only "hipster dads" but also "narcissistic assholes," "pieces of shit," "d**chebags," and "insufferable."

Anyone irritated by artisanal, twee, nouveau Brooklyn may not find Kindling Quarterly to his or her taste. Its subjects, when they are not busy being dads, are a food blogger ("On a mission to provide locally-sourced food for his daughters and partner Kim, he began gardening, hunting, fishing, foraging and bartering"); a composer (inspired by lullabies); a "handcrafted"-furniture maker; the creative director of a comedy Web site; and a wallpaper designer. No one, in other words, who is operating heavy machinery.

The food blogger provides his recipe for gnocchi; a fashion spread ("Lotuff Leather Working Tote, Chocolate, $750") runs over several pages; the cover has a picture of a man carrying a child on his shoulders, and a similar image appears three more times inside. The names of the children are Helena, Tia, Nico, Beatrice, Cormac, Ingrid, Sebastian, and Rheinhart. Surely an unsympathetic person might say, "Here is a catalogue of effete pseudo-bohemianism, featuring locally sourced, artisanal children as the ultimate affectation."

"I really wasn't so conscious of the 'Brooklynness' of it," Perez said on a recent Sunday, in Heffner's apartment. "When you're living in something, you aren't so aware of it as a stereotype."

Heffner said, "People made a lot of assumptions. I am not hip. I am a nerd--I'm a nerd father. Even before I had a child, I was already going to bed at eight-thirty."

Perez grew up in Dallas, the son of a lawyer and a paralegal; he majored in Gender and Sexuality Studies and has worked as a freelance writer and as a manager of philanthropic projects. (His current employment seems a little vague.) Heffner is from St. Louis and is a design director at J. Crew. Present along with Perez and Heffner were their respective wives--Molly, who works at what can only be called a hip restaurant in Williamsburg, and Willow, who is a freelance film editor--and sons, Amon, ten months, and Phoenix, sixteen months. …

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