|Re: Wash. Post Article||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)|
|Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 11:30:57 -0500|
I wish such a prime location had gotten a more coherent and focused article. About all the writer conveys is that she is confused about her uncle's, or anyone's, attempts to live more in harmony with their ideals. The organization is a hodge podge of personal and supposedly informational. The latter is a jumble of 60s-type communes, Marty's cohousing, and historical utopian experiments. In no way does it sort them out and show where cohousing, or even this particular cohousing, or this particular family, fits in on the spectrum. The author's distaste for it all, or characterizing it as extreme, comes across in phrases like "quasi-Utopian", communal (repeated), reference to the children's "tiny allotment of sweets", linking homeschooling with Christian fundamentalists. Lack of choice seems to be emphasized: "daily life is governed by written covenants", every house "must" have this and that, Pattern Language as "dicta", reference to Twin Oaks where every family is "assigned a full work week" in the communty's business. It isn't framed in the light of the involved families having chosen certain ways because they make sense to them. One doesn't build a certain way because Pattern Language "dictates" it, but because one finds resonance with certain of the observations which the book catalogues. Makes community people sound like mindless followers of rules. Sounds like Marty attended a meeting, "got religion", and chucked his previous lifestyle, almost without a thought. The mainstream reader gets reinforcement of their preconception that community people, or unfortunately for cohousing, cohousing people, are off on the fringe. The word "communal" conjures up sharing of wives and paychecks, further reinforced with examples from Twin Oaks of no private cars or homes. Marty is referred to as "living off the grid of conventional life." There's "proud rejection of mainstream values," in favor of "values uncorrupted by the society at large" There's a certain disdain or distance in phrases like "denouncing cultural retrograde anachronism" "the sorry state of American culture", hijiki, tofu, soy milk, "we knew what we were against, but not what we were for", "proud rejection of mainstream values", "sparing" the children from the culture's values, the uncle's life as "stripped down" . There's a (triumphant?) tone of "And it doesn't even work, or isn't even alternative after all" in the bits about shopping at Ikea and boys insulting girls and playing war games. The bits about the friendly atmosphere and sense of personal connection at Vashon were positive, but I am afraid the mainstream public will come away from this article with their prejudices confirmed, rather than any real understanding about cohousing or how it can appeal to "ordinary" people. Lynn Nadeau at RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA Where we finally stopped giving interviews to one regional newspaper after the third article in a row referred (despite our specific prohibition to the journalist) to 60s communes. What's worked best is to write an article ourselves and submit it to the paper!
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