The shop was closed, for the most part, the last few days. It was the kids spring break and we went to visit my family, the day following our great Municipalism assembly on the MidTown Greenway with Alan Moore. I closed up the shop in high spirits, but I can’t deny that I’ve returned feeling a little low.
All throughout my childhood, like so many others my age on the tail-end of the Cold War, I felt like the bombs could drop at any moment. Annihilation was not a possibility, but a promise yet to be fulfilled. In an essay I wrote a few years back, I wrote:
“Somehow within our conversation Erika and I started to discuss ideas around uncertainty, fear, everyday terror, and simply the plain unease of the unfamiliar in mass, and this evoked for the both of us our states of feeling in relation to being a kid… It may seem odd to anyone growing up post-1989 but the underlying feeling of ‘maybe today’s the day’ seemed ever present.”
This “everyday terror” is, of course, a familiar trope, and atomic bombs are simply its most intersectional weapon. This terror isn’t unique to nuclear war. Nuclear war is simply its endgame. A well oiled system dispenses terror bespoke, tailoring our fears as a form of control for various publics based on race, gender, class, ethnicity… Nonetheless, the bomb is one-size-fits-all.
I want to find middle ground though. Facing not the reality, but the existential threat of nuclear war, how does one confront the problems and desires of home and neighborhood through a lens of hope and togetherness? How to avoid the nihilism of the “what if…?” I know there’s an answer, a compelling proposition to suggest that, if we all focus intently on where we’re at we’ll get through this to a better place. It’s not an easy road to travel. If anything, that’s a certainty.
As one method of working through these feelings I made this poster this afternoon. Feel free to stop in and take one.