Grocery stores are the intersections of life. They are sites of culture, commerce, and exchange where we traffic in power relations, interpersonal connections, and political commitments. They are stages for enacting liberal guilt and way stations for the study of food politics. I have become highly conscious of this complexity while trying to wean myself of my unhealthy addiction to Walmart. I am getting better. Months pass between my visits to that pernicious place. There are few alternatives, however. Lately the Baton Rouge liberal community developed a deep interest in solving the “food desert” problem. The savings at Walmart are considerable. I force myself to
As a nation, we are ontologically insecure, yet we define ourselves as exceptional. We are ontologically homeless in a state of exception. Political theorists and pundits talk about American exceptionalism as a global stance, as a doctrinal extension of our manifest destiny. In the American Monomyth, Jewett and Lawrence elaborate on this bedrock of our national imagination. We conceive ourselves as superheroes rescuing the world. The problem is that at the end of the story, closure is attained when paradise is restored, and the hero fades into the background. American exceptionalism inherently prevents this closure. We believe we are all special snowflakes, and hence we
Smart phones have changed the easy e do business, to putt it mildly. i Swype with my druid and voice text orvoice tore sulk the tinge. Come again? Smart phones have changed the way we do business, to state the obvious. I use the Swype keyboard app or the voice feature on my Droid (not druid, though it is a druidic phone, in my opinion), so I’m forever making gross errors. I typically use the voice feature while driving – friends don’t let friends text and drive – so correcting errors is rarely an option. Worse still, voice texting ignores vocal inflection, so my texts
Forgetting to post gratitudes makes me forget to be grateful. 1. The BRCC community for fortitude in the face of uncertainty. 2. The Boomerangs of Baton Rouge for planting the seeds of cosmopolitan life in this city. 3. The LGBT activists for persistence and vision. 4. Dialogue on Race Louisiana for forging ahead. 5. The LSU Performance Studies folks for unwavering spirit and creativity. 6. BRPN for progressing in spite of it all. 7. The Unitarian Church for providing an early haven, however brief. 8. The women I worked with at the LSU Women’s Center. You built something wonderful and sustainable, and I am honored
I am not doing what I want to be doing.
Big Bird was almost executed in the last election, and his stay of execution was a relief to progressives and liberals. An email exchange with a colleague reminded me about using Sesame Street in a class activity for teaching about the “death of the humanities.” Introduction to Humanities that semester focused on public humanities and the democratization of the humanities through new technology. New technology meant writing, the printing press, up to the internet, of course. Maybe students would feel empowered if they could connect “great art” or “high art” to DIY art [we watched performing arts fundraiser Ben Cameron’s Ted Talk for this]. By
In a picture, when a child touches a black president’s hair, representational politics changes the world. In the 90s when academics and television pundits were busily engaged in the culture wars, I believed mastering the politics of representation was revolutionary. Surely, transformative images would en/gender transformative politics, and that social change could come from studying and politicizing media, popular culture, language, and discourse. There had to be some momentous connection between representation in images and representative democracy. In those days, young Turks in English departments fought old white guys about the canon, which entailed fierce battles over ethnic/area studies, women’s studies, and the relative merits