Re: Do you have TV in the common house?
From: Lon Goldstein (zebulon303mac.com)
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 11:45:02 -0700 (MST)
Thanks for the ongoing comments on TV in the common house and the associated issue of social interactions after move in! Replies to Bob below:

At 12:01 PM 1/9/2002 -0600, you wrote:
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002 16:37:10 -0500
From: Bob Morrison <bomorris [at] cisco.com>

Proposed Wild Sage Cohousing Common House TV Policy:

Note: TV viewing is defined as anything appearing on a TV screen,
such as TV programs, movies, or sporting events, regardless of their
source.  <end quote>

  I interpret this to mean home videos (recorded on a camcorder, not off
a TV) are included in this policy. True?

Yes, True.


> 5. TV viewing in the common house is intended to be an occasional
> event. Three events per week is envisaged as a guideline. An event
> is defined as the length of a movie, program or sports event.

  This seems awfully restrictive to me. What I think is going to happen
is that if a few people from several households want to watch a TV
program or video together, they will usually go to someone's home to do
it because it will be too much trouble to book a slot at the common
house with the TV committee.

Your idea of showing a home video is quite solidly within the spirit of our agreement in my opinion, though it wasn't thought of. Yes, the policy does seem quite restrictive in its intent. Many people in our community feel it is too restrictive. And some others fear it is not enough. I guess that is the sign of a reasonable compromise.

What works for me is that is laid out as a guideline not a strict policy that would call for enforcement. But it does show an intent that gives some re-assurance to certain members who have a fear of the common house environment being dominated by constant TV watching and a culture where people (especially not kids) are always drawn in front of the TV. (One household experienced this situation living in a cohousing community in Holland.) If a situation like that evolved, those people would have some foundation to address the community about it.

Looking around at the folks in the community it really doesnt' seem like there are a lot of people who sit around watching TV all the time. So, a) this is a preliminary policy open to renegotiation if need be, b) it seems at this point unlikely that it will be in such demand that there will be a lot of conflict.

I guess for me it is mostly about keeping the usage of the TV conscious and having some common understanding about the role of TV in the community. I think Peggy from Pathways outlined a lot of the really positive aspects to having a common house TV. Many of these points came up in our discussion. It is nice you reaffirm them.

The only one that certain members of our group would take issue with is the kids movie event. We have a number of Waldorf families who believe in zero (or extremely restricted) exposure to media for kids. This brings up the conundrum of how much is it reasonable to set a policy by the beliefs of a few members in the interest of supporting them and making them feel safe in the community. Some of the Waldorf families don't want their kids to feel different if other kids are able to watch TV - even an isolated kids movie night. This can also be stated in terms of just wanted to create a certain culture in the community to support certain values. Some feel that no kids should ever be able to watch the common house TV even with their parents. Most feel pretty OK with not allowing un-accompanied TV watching by kids. And the age definition of kids is totally open to discussion too! One proposal brought before the community was that no one under 18 could ever watch the common house TV. This was very controversial and elicited much objection mostly centered around the positive uses outlined by Peggy (news, events etc.) and how teenagers can benefit a lot from sharing these events with their parents. Well, more grist for the mill.
Best wishes,
Lon




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