This spring, the most interesting question for me about the Occupy movement isn't whether it will find focus or whether it will revive or whether it will make a difference in the election. What I want to pay attention to is the ongoing and generative outpouring of creative politics.
The Occupy movement is rich in unedited signs. In my mind, creative placarding will forever be its legacy.
Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz is opening a
food-truck this week, a date set to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the
beginning of the Iraq War.
Through his project Enemy Kitchen, Rakowitz has been using
Iraqi food and culture to break down cultural barriers for several years. He is
launching the food truck as part of the Smart Museum of Art's new exhibit
called "Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art."
A comment on my
recent rush-hour-communion post mentioned the Episcopal Church's recent practice of Ashes to Go, a form of "liturgical evangelism" that
has brought congregations out into streets, bus stations, train stations and
subway stations to dispense ashes on Ash Wednesday.
When I started
to read about Ashes to Go, I had many of the same questions that I brought to
early-morning communion. At first I thought, ashes to go? Whatever happened to
liturgy and community? Aren't we just feeding into our culture's unwillingness
to stop for anything at anytime? Can ashes really be offered like a fast food
item at a take out window?
But once again,
in the midst of these restless and protesting thoughts, another reality has
In January, the Century published my interview with Kerry Cronin, who teaches at Boston College and gives
students an unusual assignment: go out on a date. Since then we've asked some
college students to respond to Cronin. Do they find her
dating advice off-putting? Valuable? Impractical? Strange?
After glancing at recent headlines and listening to rumors,
I was under the impression that the Chicago City Council had passed repressive
new restrictions on protests leading up to the G8 summit in May. The
newspapers' pictures of Mayor Rahm Emanuel looked dictatorial. I pictured
Emanuel strong-arming the council into passing a crackdown.
The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka. Otsuka tells the story, in collective voice, of Japanese women who traveled to meet husbands already living in the U.S. in the first part of the 20th century. She writes of their encounters with American culture and how they shaped their dreams and hopes for themselves and their families in difficult and sometimes harrowing circumstances.