I’m John Gunn. I’ll explain the “Junto Gunto” handle later. I’m mostly here to park blog posts and when I want to say something which doesn’t suit what Twitter or Facebook offers. Additionally, I’ll admit to worrying that I might be flooding social networks and comment threads when people would rather just look at cat pictures. If I can scare up some work or allies with what all I’m trying do, that’ll be OK too. I’ve projects aplenty and my graduate work is reaching that final stretch. I hope there’s time left to do a little here. Also, I’d be pleased to offer space and help for honest brokers who might want to park their work but would like to avoid the hassle of maintaining a site.
As for this “Junto Gunto” mess, in high school we had an awesome history teacher with the last name Cato. He was demanding but truly talented. Even those who weren’t history nerds like me liked (except for test time I suppose) Mr. Cato. When I was thinking I’d follow him into the profession, my buddies started calling me “Junto” or “Junto Gunto.” Mr. Cato left this mortal coil in January of 2016. I’d like to think he’s somewhere smoking and joking – as he swills his coffee. The man was one of a kind. I’m among the many blessed to have had such an awesome teacher. At dear old Handley High in Roanoke, Alabama, we had several top-shelf educators and I believe the tradition continues from the intel I get. I didn’t know about Ben Franklin’s “Junto” way back then but thought it rather cool once I did.
The idea of an informal group like what Franklin put together in Philadelphia is possibly timeless. Most folks today are not eager “joiners” and the idea of the public square or common good house doesn’t really fit either in today’s neoliberal, fragmented world. Still, there is something to be said for people coming together to discuss and/or debate politics or ideas. It’s Habermasian perhaps? I’ve made some friends (and a few “frenemies” as well) in recent years who also seem to enjoy and find value in such pursuits. If this site and blogging effort can open doors toward something in the spirit of what Ben Franklin’s group did, so be it. If not, the release and writing seems like a positive – provided it doesn’t take up too much time and energy.