What do migrant strawberry pickers, marijuana growers and Internet pornography users have in common? According to Eric Schlosser, they are all part of America’s black market economy, a massive system that contributes little to the tax base but keeps many Americans in business.
People remember where they were on September 11. It's a date so emblazoned on our memories that we don't need to mark it by year. It's up there with the 4th of July or Cinco de Mayo--dates that shape us so intensely they become mythological, days outside of chronological time.
Last September over 700 hundred people were arrested in the largest civil disobedience in New Haven, Connecticut, that anyone could remember. Those arrested were standing up for a new social contract between the city of New Haven and Yale University, as well as improved wages and pensions for Yale workers and the right to organize new unions.
One Sunday soon, I’ll have news to share with my congregation. I’ll announce, with great fanfare, my denomination’s latest partnership agreement with another denomination. Or I’ll share the latest vote on full communion. And then I’ll look out into the pews and see members showing polite interest at best, or yawning.
In these litigious days, fast food restaurants warn us of the obvious. Before biting into that deep-fried McDonald’s apple pie, we read, “Caution: Contents may be hot.” What looks like soft, sweet, greasy comfort food could scald your trusting tongue. The familiar treat is not harmless. It may bite you back.
When members of my family introduce someone, they always give that person an automatic promotion. If she’s a doctor, they will exaggerate, introducing her as a brilliant surgeon. A teacher’s aide becomes a full professor. I am told that I do the same thing, even after ten years of living in New England, the land of understatement.