It happened again. You had an argument with your child. But this time, something was different. Instead of the usual concise vitriol from them like “I hate you” and “I can’t wait for my emancipation to be approved,” your child was speaking in nonsense aphorisms and dense, ostentatious paragraphs.
And when you squint and ask your child why they’re speaking that way, they say the one word that haunts every parent and every Poli-Sci professor: Nietzsche.
Fear not. Here’s what you do to (hopefully?) avoid your teenager from becoming an über-douche.
1. Counter Nietzsche’s writing style
Remind your child that just because Friedrich Nietzsche—or really any philosopher—writes in dense, erudite prose doesn’t mean he’s right or even has a point. Explain to your argumentative teen that speaking in seemingly clever maxims doesn’t lower or even address their douchiness. After all, a hyperliterate shithead is still a shithead. Just look at Sam Harris.
2. Explain that Nietzsche destroyed music criticism as a respectable profession
If your quarrelsome teen likes music and/or music criticism, point out that Nietzsche made it impossible to be taken seriously as a music writer. He wrote an entire essay discussing Richard Wagner’s work in which he pioneered the pretentious music critic aesthetic and made goddamn certain that “pretentious music critic” would forever be redundant. What an asshole.
3. Bring up that fucking mustache
Show your polemic child a picture of Nietzsche. Seriously, his mustache is sarcastically over-the-top. It’s a hairpiece sitting above his lip. It’s the douchiest thing about him, and he wrote an entire book with chapter titles like “Why I Write Such Good Books” and “Why I Am A Destiny.” His mustache screams, “I ride a unicycle to work, deal with it.”
4. If all else fails: Reductio ad Hitlerum
It’s a cheap but effective ploy: tell your pugnacious offspring that Nietzsche was German and might’ve inspired the Nazis. Use their reaction as a barometer. If your child rejects him, there’s still a chance your kid will turn out alright. If your child embraces him, you made a huge mistake somewhere as a parent and you’re kinda fucked.