Prof. Levinson publishes op-ed on civic engagement in the U.S.

Associate Clinical Professor Jessica Levinson posted an op-ed on Pacific Standard on the lack of civic engagement in the U.S. 

Excerpt from the article, "I am Luscious, and other Campaign Slogans":

I have a new idea to increase civic engagement, and it is all about vegan food.

Some background for the non-hipsters out there. So all three of you, listen up. There is a vegan restaurant with locations, unsurprisingly, in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Berkeley, the birthing centers of true hipster culture. The fun (or perhaps failure, depending on your perspective) of this chain is how they name their dishes: Each is a personal, positive, declarative statement. Instead of rice with lentils, you’ll order the “I Am Humble.” Feel like hummus and pesto? You’ll dine on the “I Am Abundant.”

If you’re a rain-on-your-parade curmudgeon like me, you’ll do your best to avoid ordering the dishes by their given names. Instead of confidently telling my server, “I Am Terrific,” I prefer to spend three minutes describing the dish, which is, as the name fails to indicate, made of kelp noodles. One of my very favorite dining companions suggested that I should “pick my battles,” but the opportunity to avoid announcing, “I Am Liberated” (another kelp noodle dish) is well worth the time I spend boorishly pointing at the menu.

As I glanced around the restaurant on one of my recent visits (and yes, despite my aversion to the names of the dishes, I frequent this establishment), I noticed that notwithstanding my Debbie Downer demeanor, the rest of the patrons really did look humble, filled with abundance, terrific, and liberated. This got me thinking: Could this naming technique be an effective tool on political campaigns?

You can also read the article on the Summary Judgements Blog here.