So! I spent Saturday at this cool localist/alternative economies nerdfest in Hartford, representing Solidarity Hall and distributism and whatnot, and one of the most wonderful moments was when I came back to the Localism table where I had all this stuff set up, and the guy who was occupying (actually kind of #Occupying, if you get my drift) the table next to me was writing down the info for the Allan Carlson book Third Ways, which I’d brought along with Chesterton and the usual suspects.
“This is GREAT!” he said, jotting “ISI Books” on his legal pad. I felt my heart warm. Allan Carlson: ambassador to the left! And I started thinking about a fantasy ISI book, put together just in time to buy for your grandkids for Christmas, that would reflect this embassy.
It would be a picture book called Where’s Allan? and each two-page spread would be a very busy, elaborately illustrated scene showing a cultural zone of some sort where Allan Carlson might find his ideas welcome. And somewhere in each of these scenes… there he’d be, distinctive mustache and all!
The spreads would include:
— an outdoor market in Northampton, Massachusetts, populated almost entirely by young farmers and food-crafters who, after they graduated from Hampshire, started small businesses selling kombucha, and who go barefoot because they believe that it’s healthier. And there’s Allan, with a copy of Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions tucked under his arm!
— a Claremont Institute wine-and-cheese post-reading reception for someone’s paper arguing that Abraham Lincoln was actually a Catholic, according to a rather tendentious definition of Catholic. And there’s Allan, chatting with Hadley Arkes! (From the illustration, Hadley clearly enjoyed the talk but agrees with Allan that the argument is ultimately unconvincing.)
— a benefit dinner for the National Parks Service, held at Franklin Roosevelt’s house, attended mostly by ladies of a certain age who have voted Democrat ever since they graduated from Vassar in the 60s and who are all dressed in Eileen Fisher linen shifts and jewelry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop. And there’s Allan, pulling out a chair for a woman whose husband hasn’t pulled out a chair for her in thirty years! She is very happy. Her husband’s expression indicates that he’s decided he needs to start doing this also.
OK. Who can think of other spreads? Who wants to illustrate this? It’s a natural marketing opportunity.