Re: Respectable
From: John M. Gear (
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 95 12:51 CST
Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?????????????????????????????  I can't believe I got ambushed
on this.  If you had bothered to check soc.religion.unitarian.univ you would
have found that I post to argue *for* acceptance and recognition of
polyrelationships by the UUA (along with a UUA resolution opposing the "war
on drugs" and a host of other less "respectable" issues).

It must have been the word "respectable" that caused this.  I meant only
that, given the intensity of debate on polyrelationship in the *UU* list,
you can bet that this is an issue that has the power of making people lose
sight of what
*this* list is supposed to be about--cohousing.  Since I don't remember the
word even coming up on this list before I posted, I'm at a loss to see how
I'm the evil censor tromping the discussion of diversity!  (And I'm sure
sorry I brought it up!)

What I did say, in response to a query about whether any UUs out there
wanted to discuss UU'ism on this list was that, as a UU, "No, I'd rather
talk about it in the UU usenet group" (which I inadvertantly called a list).
And I mentioned poly as an example of what's discussed on the UU group.  And
I suggested that we should leave (and enjoy) that discussion there--since it
can only give ammunition to people who want to oppose cohousing and who
would love for cohousing to be associated with social forms that many people
find (or can be conditioned to find) threatening.

Remember the "bra-burners"?  When challenged, the agents of social stability
(read:  control) in the mainstream quickly seize on (or invent) anything
possible to characterize the challengers as fringe types, not worthy of
respect or a hearing.  As documented in Backlash (Faludi), the most
effective attacks on feminism have been the ones that make feminism appear
to be a threat to the very people it would most empower (males included).

Cohousing is about the most radical and potentially subversive activity
going today, perhaps as potent as feminism.  And that is *not* an insult,
that is high praise.  Cohousing has the potential to fundamentally change
the way the great North American consumer class uses resources and relates
to the corporate state.  Cohousing threatens every pillar of the consumer
society, from washing machine and lawn mower makers to the mass media
(people in cohousing are *not* going to keep buying one of everything for
every adult family for long, nor will they long tolerate a mass media that
depends constantly implanting "needs" and selling people the solutions in a
bottle).  THAT's what cohousing looks like to the 4% of the US that owns 90%
of its wealth--a serious threat that should be marginalized and made to seem
radical/outre/strange/fringy.  There are a *lot* of powerful people who can
see the implications of cohousing very quickly--and can reflexively make it
even harder than it already is.

If you want to play into their hands by letting them create an association
between cohousing and other social forms that have been widely attacked, you
go right ahead.  Just remember that it's a lot easier to do what you want in
your cohousing community *after* you're in one--and that before that, you
have to deal with bankers, builders, neighbors, zoning boards, and city
councils.  Recent posters to this list have discussed at some lengths the
misconceptions that the unenlightened can have about cohousing.  Leaping to
premature conclusions is most exercise that a lot of people get. 

And please, before you decide your tender buttons have been pushed again,
note that *nowhere* in either of my posts have I suggested or implied that
poly is not perfectly acceptable to me.  And if this is the sort of response
one gets for suggesting that a discussion of UU'ism might best be left to
the UU list, then this definately isn't the place to discuss more sensitive


At 11:33 AM 1/31/95 CST, Loren Davidson wrote:
>At 01:52 AM 1/31/95 CST, John M. Gear wrote:
>>, I think.  I frequent that list quite a bit; right now there's a hot
>>discussion on polyrelationships (as opposed to monogamous)--for the sake of
>>keeping coho's image respectable we might want to keep those topics over
>>there.  I think too many people leap to conclusions with the prefix co- on
>>anything; I can almost hear them thinking "co-housing, co-mmune, communist"
>>when I talk to people about it.  I sure as *heck* don't want to bring my
>>religious principles into it, even if they are UU.
>Please pardon the sound of buttons being pushed in the background...BUT...
>We just had a really good thread going here on respecting diversity within
>communities.  Now, John, you want to throw some of that diversity out of
>this group (regarding poly relationships in this case) because it doesn't
>fit your (or someone's) definition of "respectable".  Please note that "when
>you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other."
>I respect your right, John, to live in a community with people who share
>your values.  I respect the rights and views of those in this list who seem
>to feel that cohousing means "let's create our own self-designed
>neighborhood and leave THEM (fill in the blank) out".  I don't agree with it
>I come from the side of the tracks that views "cohousing" (in all its
>incarnations) as a vehicle for enhancing community among people.  I believe
>that if we don't start treating the people next to us as neighbors,
>regardless of who they are and where we are, that our country is likely to
>end up looking like Bosnia.  I think that cohousing as represented by many
>of the people posting here can be a major factor in re-creating larger-scale
>community in our nation.
>Community, to me, means respecting diversity.  Intentional neighborhoods and
>communities such as those represented here are, IMHO, in relation to
>single-family suburbs as poly relationships are to monogamous ones.  It's an
>alternative that works for many that needs to be accepted as such.
>Otherwise, we never get past chaos into community, to use Scott Peck's model.
>If you wait for common acceptance before taking a risk, you will wait forever.
>Loren Davidson 
>lmd [at]
>This document made from 100% recycled electrons.

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