Re: Washington Post Article
From: Eliot Hurwitz (Eliot_Hurwitzadidam.org)
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 20:50:49 -0500
A typical Washington Post cute story - light on the substance, heavy on
the attitude. Placement on the front page of the Outlook section is
where, along with the daily Style section, the Post features this kind
of material. Of COURSE it does little to serve any real appreciation
for the actual subtlties of CoHousing or intentional communities and
the ways in which these alternatives are important explorations of our
cultural options. This is not the point of the piece. Pity. In general,
I think that with mass media exposure it is extremely difficult to pull
off a positive presentation of any non-mainstream issue, unless you
have a writer/producer who is really educated and committed to
presenting a thoughtful piece. And even then, the pressures from
editors to preserve a kind of cynical, skeptical tone, to "balance" a
positive view with some (however bogus) negative opinion, make this
kind of media communication hazardous.  My feeling is that much more is
accomplished in the direct longer term, person-to-person relationship
that each community builds with its neighbors and "significant others"
(bankers, local government, family etc.).  This is the only kind of
insurance I know that can innoculate non-mainstream groups from this
kind of mass media moronism.  If people really know you, they will not
buy the pablum. People do have, I think, a ground of healthy disrespect
for what they see in the media and this is confirmed when people
realize, because they KNOW you, that the picture they're getting is not
true. (This has been confirmed over and over for me especially realitve
to media treatment of alternative religious movements). I wonder how
the story played on Vashon Island and how this is a function of the
existing relationships there.  I would hope that they have already
cultivated a relationship with their local paper that has been able to
treat them like ordinary human beings doing something interesting!

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