From: Cohousing-L listmgr (
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 12:48:47 -0500
Rob Sandelin  Sharingwood   floriferous [at]   
is the author of the message below but due to a problem it was posted 
by the Fred the list manager: owner-cohousing-L [at]

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OK, I just have to jump into this thread again. (Boy, this reminds me of the 
Christmas tree thread we had a couple years ago...Whew! Lots of buttons 
getting pushed here)

I agree with Stuart, if I were god of my community the ONLY TV I would allow 
would be IN the commonhouse.  I agree totally that TV is an isolating 
activity, and like drinking, should never be done alone. TV is FUN! in 
community. A bunch of us all watched the basketball playoffs together (not in 
the commonhouse) and I think there was more commentary about the ads than the 
game. This made a big impression on the 13 year old who was also watching, and 
I have heard feedback since that he now mocks TV ads for subliminal 
hucksterism that they are. This is from one exposure to a bunch of critical 
thinking adults commenting about TV ads. Imagine the fun you could  have if 
you did it regularly?

Yeah, most TV is junk, but its fun in community, with a bunch of others to 
share it with.  I don't watch it, and I don't let my kids watch it, but I am 
always glad to hear about TV parties happening in the neighborhood. 

Rob Sandelin
Where 10 of us watched the movie, James and Giant Peach last night till late 
in the commonhouse (7 of us were under 10).

From:   cohousing-l [at] on behalf of Stuart Staniford-Chen
Sent:   Saturday, April 12, 1997 12:03 AM
Subject:        Re: COHOUSING & TV

Tom Nelson Scott wrote:

> well now let me relate this to the coho list: if i have anything to
> say about it, there won't be a tv in the common house of any
> coho/ecovillage i live in. tv sucks. i mean that: it sucks brains in
> like a vacuum. a person's consciousness goes right down the tube as he
> sits there and watches the awful thing. worse than drugs because it
> seems like such a nice thing.

It may seem strange, but I'm now going to turn around and argue that Tom  
should not take this position (particularly not in the context of a  
consensus based cohousing group - you have to live with people who will  
feel very differently about it than you).  I have personally been there  
and done that - feeling as I do about television, I initially was very  
concerned when people in N St wanted to put a TV in the common house.

However, after it was there, it turned out that the uses of it were  
pretty unproblematic.  The common house TV does not get watched  
excessively, and when people do watch it, it tends to be movies or  
particular events of interest (eg elections) and the TV watching is in  
part a social occasion.  Nobody ever tried to watch it during community  
dinner or anything like that.

In my experience, TV watching in cohousing is not a major problem.  It  
is, for the most part, moderate, targeted at particular favorite  
programs, and social.  This is in sharp distinction to TV watching for  
most people in the U.S. which is immoderate, indiscriminate, and  
isolating.  That's one of the reasons cohousing is so cool.


[I'll try and shut up about this now.:-)]

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