Vermont, Ice Cream, and Empire


Vermont’s top tourist attraction is the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. Now, given the popularity of the tour and the product, why not expand the concept? That is, if each coast can support a Disney-themed park, why can’t we get a second (or third) Ben & Jerry’s factory? But this would miss the appeal of the Ben & Jerry’s factory, which is geographical as much as political. At least, that’s my impression after visiting both factory and state.

Vermont is weird, fascinating, and, most of all, independent. Its amazing alt-weekly, 7 Days, ran an op-ed urging middle-class people to use WIC; one of the main arguments was that it would support local farmers. Then, there’s The Vermont Commons, a “statewide news journal”:

As we have argued in these pages for three years, the United States is no longer a constitutional republic responsible to the will of its citizens, but an aggressive empire acting at the behest of the few at the expense of the many.

And let’s not forget Vermont’s alternative universities like Goddard College, famously the alma mater of Mumia Abu-Jabul. In August, Mumia actually returned to Vermont, via audio recording, to give one of Goddard’s commencement speeches.

If you want to see how this applies to Ben & Jerry’s—and I promise all of it does, even Mumia—check out my new essay at Culture11, “Rage Against the Ice Cream.”


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