Gay Marriage Seed Art at the Minnesota State Fair

There’s lots to see and do here at the Minnesota State Fair. And most importantly, eat: It’s before noon, and already I’ve sampled the (allegedly) world’s smoothest ice cream, a Norwegian delicacy called potato lefse, and a mini donut. But the coolest thing I’ve seen so far is tucked away in a small room in the agriculture building: seed art. Minnesotans have painstakingly employed a variety of common seeds—flax, lentils, poppy, adzuki, millet, and sunflower, to name just a few—to create incredibly detailed artistic masterpieces. The themes are many: cute animals, aphorisms, and affirmations of Minnesota pride abound. A bunch have political messages; this November there are two controversial measures on Minnesota’s ballot: a gay marriage ban and a voter identification requirement. Here are some of the ways that fair entrants expressed their opinions on these matters:

And here’s a detail:

This one’s in the style of Maurice Sendak’s famous children’s book Chicken Soup With Rice. But look closely:And a detail:And another:

Paul Ryan, in seeds:A voter ID piece:

A nice use of lentils:This one’s from the kids’ division. To me this wolf looks like a Roz Chast character. Save the endearlingly neurotic wolves!

Artist credits: Gnomes by Jill Schaefer, Minnetonka, Minn.; Chicken Soup With Rice by Laura Melnick, St. Paul, Minn.; Mario Brothers by Mark Dahlager, St. Paul, Minn.; Paul Ryan by Kimberly Cope, Minneapolis, Minn.; Jim Crow by Elana Dahlager, St. Paul, Minn.; Occupy by Patricia Mack, Minneapolis, Minn.; Save the Wolves by Olivia Wenner, Shoreview, Minn.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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