Chickenbus Chautauqua comes about as a virtual necessity. A necessity to empty my head, start a book, force synthesis, comment on the nature of the world as I see it, and see where I go (it goes?). The title refers to both a popular form of transportation in Central America (camionetas, or chicken buses) and a popular form of education (Chautauqua) in the early 1900s. Taken together they reflect a good bit about what I’m trying to do while I’m here.
From our friends at Wiki:
Chautauqua (pron.:/ʃəˈtɔːkwə/shə-taw-kwə) was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Named after Chautauqua Lake where the first was held, Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America.”H.L. Mencken used the word “chautauqua” (lower case) to refer more generally to a herd of clumsy writers: “When they essay to be jocose, the result is usually simply an elephantine whimsicality, by the chautauqua out of the Atlantic Monthly.” [Vintage Mencken, p.96, ed. Alistair Cooke, 1955]
I particularly like the populist education, and the reference to a “herd of clumsy writers.” In this case, in this blog, there will be but one, yet the clumsiness will remain. I beg your forgiveness.
Regarding Chickenbuses, I fell in love with them in Guatemala, and now own one. It’s a transportation piece to a revolving rolling band of crazies who sing, dance, teach, act, love, and generally make merry. Named Lucinda, it’s been to seven states (Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, California, and Nevada), Burning Man (seven times), and countless spots for camp-outs, writing retreats, honkfests, fly-fishing vacations, and the like.
On the Chautauqua side, I’ll probably spend a bunch of time on wrestling with notions of (urban) planning, the state, neoliberalism, communism, democracy, and their roles in shaping what is, and what could be. I will definitely need to post on the chickenbus side just to keep myself from becoming depressed, overly nihilistic, or picking up the laundry.
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