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Child Labor


Reality is over-rated. 

I spend some time every day in the world of Agincourt, Iowa; harmless enough, even therapeutic, according to Dr Bob.

It’s a made-up place, concocted from experience; drawn in equal measure, I hope, from success and failure; from accomplishment and its opposite, whatever that is. My goal (other than an exploration of the relationship between narrative and place, which has been the heart of the Agincourt Project and remains its stated objective) is creating something more real than real. I want everyone to wonder if they didn’t stop there once on the way back from Omaha and have that phenomenal five-bean soup; of wanting to google the name of the restaurant and write for the recipe.

My investment of time and other resources in this project has been substantial and worthwhile. To remind myself, all I have to do is watch TV and glimpse another world in the process of being made-up: the Tea Party World of tough love, child labor, indentured servitude, real death panels and so much other calculated indifference to the human condition that I keep a plastic pail in the TV room for vomit. 

My grandparents were Republicans when being a Republican was an honorable point of view. We liked Ike, who warned us of the military-industrial complex. We enjoyed a political process where George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey consorted with the likes of Olympia Snow and Mark Hatfield for the greater good of us all. But what are we offered in their stead?

How can I not despair of Rick Perry, Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain, for krisake, “family values” candidates whose one-eyed trouser snakes cannot be constrained! Gingrich’s revolving charge account at Tiffany’s is larger than the GNP of several Third World countries.

How many jobs has Senator Rick Bergreputedly among the ten richest members of the US Senatecreated with his personal wealth? How many dollars have been saved by Rick Perry’s electric chair or would have been by Herman Cain’s electric fence? This is a world of fantasy, not imaginationand I make an important distinction between the two. I’ll take the constructive imagination of Agincourt—the collective imaginings of so many students, colleagues and friends—over paranoid delusional fantasy any day.

Election Day 2012 cannot pass quickly enough. And, frankly, I’d welcome a coma until then.


Somehow all this angst grows from a recent postcard acquisition: the construction of an unidentified house in an unspecified place; a posed shot with eight unnamed housebuilders and two anonymous horses.

And somehow, also, I suspect my friend Howard Tabor will have something to say about it.

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