Why New Scare City? Some have wondered if that title is perhaps too dread-ful for writings that celebrate the thought of as peaceful person as Ivan Illich.
Originally, the blog appeared under the title Back Palm. That referred to a certain move in card conjuring, and it's still part of the blog's URL.
As we devoted more time to the blog, though, and as we found ourselves reading Illich more closely than usual, we suddenly remembered a pun we'd come up with years ago. The current title, for those who've not noticed, is a play on the word scarcity, a key topic for Illich. We have no claims to being the first to stumble onto this pun, but we do remember when it came to us, in 1981, while we were living in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We had just discovered Illich's books, we were listening to a good deal of punkish, political music (The Specials, Gang of Four, The Clash, Talking Heads, etc.), and we'd become politicized, even radicalized, by the election of Ronald Reagan. At some point, we even wore a t-shirt we'd emblazoned - using a brush and a dark, blood-red fabric dye - like so:
New Scar City
New Scare City
Sadly, we moved away from Brooklyn 11 years ago, but the t-shirt still exists, we believe, stashed in one or another box of stuff. Alas, we are, to (mis)use another important term of Illich's, no longer of proper proportion to that garment. But we're glad to recycle its slogan.