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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Counter Culture Alive and Well In Madison

I was born and raised here, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1977, and moved away in 1985. On my second full day back in the Mad City (or Mad Town, if you will), I was amazed at how little the culture has changed.

Stuck in a time warp, perhaps, or an eddy from Einstein's General Theory of Relativity?

Protesting is a way of life for many Madisonians. In the first photo here, the man's sign says "This Is Class Warfare." It refers, of course, to the ongoing battle over the "right" of public sector employees to collectively bargain.

Is this the spirit of 1776 or the spirit of 1917? A little of both, perhaps? There are a lot of "Impeach Gov. Walker" tee shirts walking around up here.

The targets of the protests may change from year to year, decade to decade, but the spirit that drives the protests remains the same in Madison: A paradoxical pro-big government/anti-authority attitude.

It's not all protest and class warfare in Madison, of course. I strolled down State Street, from the Capitol toward the U.W. campus, and had a hamburger at the U.W. Memorial Student Union.

The Memorial Union is still beautiful, virtually unchanged from when I haunted it in the 70's, and still has that world famous terrace with its stunning view of Lake Mendota.

State Street Brats (once known as The Brathaus) sports a couple of cow tables on their patio.

Food carts have been very popular in Madison since the late 60's and are going stronger than ever.

The assortment of cuisines is amazing: Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Jamaican, Chicago hot dogs and beef, Italian, and much more are available around the Capitol Square and at the campus end of State Street.

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