Slacker portrays a city and a scene that are delightfully different and offbeat, and the best kinds of places for many emerging creatives today are that way, too. You don’t have to leave the state or run off to the biggest city to do something big: there is a real beauty and opportunity in the less-sung places.
Lincoln wishes to promote Jeffersonian virtues by Hamiltonian means. In a Jeffersonian vein, Lincoln wants to encourage small, independent operations that free people from dependence on “the man.”
Wendell Berry pleads with us to see that true joy and fulfillment— the very motivations at the heart of Huck Finn and Christopher McCandless—are to be found not in escape and isolation, but in willing membership and participation in community life.
As utopian as "religious education" and "local food tours" may seem, that doesn't mean we can't approach them with a hope for real formation work in mind.
An empathetic approach to the kind of lofty goals named by Princeton’s aspiration to serve “humanity” might empower talented young people to serve their communities rather than selling out for personal financial success. You have to be very smart and very powerful to save the world, but serving your community begins with empathy, which is a trait we can all cultivate.
In a world mediated through technology, the common arts bring us into daily encounters with a material world where we have not made the rules. They orient us to truths outside of ourselves and foster humility as we subject ourselves to realities beyond our control.
Was the experience of “community” in an Ohio town during Ervin’s lifetime fundamentally more compelling and authentic than has been possible after the post-war economic boom? Or should Ervin’s passion for organizing and social service be seen as an attempt to compensate for an actual fragility of communal life?
Pete Davis lauds the “long-haulers,” people who long ago ignored the chorus which urges our younger people to “keep your options open,” and to keep building up for your Main Chance in life, the payoff after all that meritocratic, sweaty ladder-climbing.
In “American Divine,” it would seem that the pursuit is not so much a pursuit of divinity but rather the experience of it—the awe, which in this instance is private and individualistic, potentially addictive, and more an expression of personal epiphanies than a community-shared theology.