The Pig

Saturday mornings find me in our local rendition of Bouville at the Makers Market. Due to the demise of my bees I am resigned to peddling my own wares this year. The Makers Market is a shadow market to the official farmers market run by the Downtown Business Association. It is caddy corner to the Makers Market and is quite pricey to break bread with. One of the benefits of being a spider at the Makers Market is that one gets to observe the flies across the way. Parents bring their kids (of course), some leashed, some not, and some in strollers or belly/back packs. People bring their dogs (yes, more than one); some leashed, some not, some even in strollers and belly/back packs. Sometimes a cat makes the scene. Never a dull moment. This past week end a little pink pig appeared on a leash leading a slender young lady. She was accompanied by a tall man in a bona fide chef outfit that gave him a certain Ramsey-esque authority (crowds parted before him as they perused the offerings). Both wore name tags, “Chef” and “Head of University Dining Services”. The nearby college has recently contracted for locally sourced gourmet cuisine to be served in the dining halls.

The woman attached to the pig wore a long grey dress that brushed the ground. She had only stubble on her head, one step removed from being bald, and she suffered from bad acne. She was barefoot. Health was exuded, head to toe. OK, point made. All the aesthetic markers created by a lifetime (and more) of art history scholars presented themselves. Statement made, performance art, commercial at that. Fifty years ago hooter madchens handed out packs of Marlboros and Virginia Slims on fringes of universities. Today it is acne and a pig.

That evening Moyers ran a rerun with Marshall Ganz on Making Social Movements Matter. The overall theme of the show was How People Power Generates Change. “Change” would be the optimal word, something that ostensibly unites Moyers, the lady with the pig, and myself (without others we cannot be whole!). My résumé having included “swineherd” at one time, a certain peculiar kind of nostalgia swept over me there in our very own beautiful downtown Bouville. For some reason, I did not experience this sense of solidarity; with Moyers, the pig and Sartre’s Roquentin maybe, but not with Chef Ramsey, his ward, and their employer. Within the course of the interview Marshall Ganz iterated: “You know, Albert Hirschman, the development economist wrote this book a number of years ago, I’m sure you know about it, “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty.” And sort of the idea was, okay, so you got an institution. And it’s screwing up. And so one way to fix it is to exercise voice. The other way is you can exit. The market solutions are all exit solutions.” Followed by: “Well, so you don’t like the way the schools work, exit, make your own over here. And that way you exercise choice. You don’t like the way public health works, exit, over here, make your own. Now the only problem is you can only exit and make your own if you got the money to do it. And so the result is that you create these parallel systems of elite systems that are, you know, that fragment the whole.”

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