October 1, 2009

"Johanna wants to make communal vegetarian meals and keep chickens. Mariel Berger hopes for social, artistic and political collaborations. Harmony Hazard is into hula hooping, book groups and anarchism."

Look out, the NYT has a new style piece. It's very Stuff-White-People-Like. Very women-reader-pleasing. But I actually really love that first paragraph quoted above. Not that I'm not a woman reader. I am.

The writer is Penelope Green, and the subject is the new urban communal living. Actually, one of my favorite subjects is evolved hippiedom. So, I'm going to read all this:
... Ms. Berger and others seem to share the ideals of the old-fashioned communes of yore, except that their groups are tiny, urban-centric and linked to outside interests like fixing bikes or, here in New York City, membership in the Park Slope food co-op. And like communes, many collectives give themselves names: The House of Tiny Egos (a name that’s decidedly more evocative than, say, Findhorn, that of the hoary Scottish commune) is a five-person collective in a century-old brick bungalow in Bed-Stuy. Not only do they aim to remain of the world, they hope for a convenient location, one that’s near all the major subway stops....

Ms. Berger met Ms. Hazard, who had been living in the East Village in her mother’s town house and looking for work in “social justice”...
Looking for work in social justice... Why does that strike me as so funny? And another thing I like about Penelope Green is: She put "social justice" in quotes.
... she said, at a permaculture conference in Vermont last summer. Permaculture is big with the collective-living crowd...
Permaculture?
... it’s a model for sustainable living that extrapolates principles from natural ecologies — like how different plants grow together for their mutual benefit — and applies them to other systems like, well, group housing.
Culture... as if it grows. Permanent... when even plants are not permanent. But why not have an ugly and silly word to denote your dreams?

I've had enough Hazard-Berger. On to the next exemplary communalists:
[I]n Philadelphia,... three roommates... needed five more.

Their advertisement on Craigslist [included:]

“You will probably not feel at home here unless anti-ableism, anti-ageism, anti-classism, anti-racism, consent, trans-positivity and queer-positivity, etc., are very important to you,” the ad read.
Very important? Not just important. I love the way they didn't reject the non-like-minded. They just threatened to make them feel uncomfortable. Appropriate, for folks so in love with the prefix "anti-."

One of the housemates is "Gauge, 30, who is transitioning from he to she and works in an S&M store, and also declined to give a last name. ('My family has no idea where I am — or if I’m even alive — and I’d like to keep it that way,' she said.)" No last name, but her first name is Gauge. They'll never suspect it's their Gauge.
Ms. Feigelson explained that they were being “super-selective,” because an activist house, which is what she hopes theirs will be, she said, “can create tension.”
Yeesh. And ha ha. Penelope Green is, I think, totally trashing them... and the whole "activist" self-image.

At this point in the article, Green consults Helen Fisher," a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University and a relationship expert (she is the scientific adviser to Chemistry.com, a spinoff of the dating site Match.com)." Fisher reads these ridiculous Craigslist ads and says, not what I would say — i.e., these people seem way too annoying to try to live with — but:
The idealized, small-scale communities they described reminded her of the hunting and gathering bands of pre-history. So she was a bit concerned that their creators didn’t seem to be searching for individuals with different skill sets. Dr. Fisher, whose new book, “Why Him? Why Her?” explores the neurochemistry of gender differences, concluded that the ad writers were by and large “estrogen-expressives, or what I call Negotiators,” which she defined as “compassionate, verbal and emotive,” as well as “Explorers, meaning those expressive of the dopamine system, or people who are energetic, creative, politically liberal.”
Negotiators? Compassionate? The hell! Could you please squirt a little more buy-my-book juice into your analysis, Dr. Fisher? Do people who are politically liberal really deserve to be brought down in this queasy sea of estrogen?

I think most people — most people I'd be at all interested in living with — would read this article and dream only of a solitary cell to live and be left alone in.

And, I should add, I never wanted to live in a hippie commune either, back in the old days.

99 comments:

m00se said...

The funniest thing about all this is about 80% of these people will, in about 10 years, be living in a condo working as an accountant or lawyer.

But they'll have their memories. And reconstructive surgery to replace what they had removed...

Fred4Pres said...

“You will probably not feel at home here unless anti-ableism, anti-ageism, anti-classism, anti-racism, consent, trans-positivity and queer-positivity, etc., are very important to you,” the ad read.

Sounds a lot like Little Green Footballs lately. Are Charles Johnson and Sharmutta starting a commune?

Henry said...

1. My commune will be called The Totally Fantastic House of Tiny Egos

2. Sure, her name is Gauge, but she pronounces it Gauge.

ricpic said...

Not that I have the vaguest idea what communal living is all about but I do know it's important to be near an express subway stop.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Looking for work in social justice... Why does that strike me as so funny?

One of your other commenters nailed it when you posted about a similar piece some time ago: quoting from memory, "it's tough to live the life of a trust-fund baby without the trust fund".

Fred4Pres said...

I suppose with a lot of dope and a good supply of veggie munchies, it might be fun for a couple of weeks.

But will this utopian society break down when they start battling over whose turn it is to clean the dishes and the bathrooms?

rhhardin said...

reminded her of the hunting and gathering bands of pre-history.

Women were present at the Creation, and have long memories.

rhhardin said...

I don't see how you get vegetarian meals with chickens.

Fred4Pres said...

I was watching Ken Burns documentary last night and noting how incredibly visionary rich trust fund and industrialist Americans were in preserving places they loved, not for themselves but for the nation.

Progressive, yet so much more substantial than this nonsense.

ironrailsironweights said...

This sounds like something out of the Onion.

Peter

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Doesn't calling one's self the "house of tiny egos" pretty much indicate extremely large egos? I mean, it's sort of like bragging about how humble you are.

rhhardin said...

I'm not an expert on estrogen group dynamics, but two flowers-drawn-on-notes yearbook co-editors doesn't work.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And, I should add, I never wanted to live in a hippie commune either, back in the old days.

Me either. I also agree...way to annoying to live with and way to self absorbed.

Silly people.

Roger J. said...

what a bunch of idiot twats--oops twits--pardon the sexist reference

Quayle said...

because an activist house, which is what she hopes theirs will be, she said, “can create tension.”

These never work unless you have people that don't do tension.

kwood said...

We sure as hell weren't a commune, but I lived in great big rock and roll / computer nerd house-hold full of room-mates for almost 10 years in Boston and loved it. I do think we'll see more of this in the future, people of all sorts (not just leftist toe-weaving nitwits) making the amazing discovery that it's easier to band together and share some basic resources when times are tough.

Lem said...

“You will probably not feel at home here unless anti-ableism, anti-ageism, anti-classism, anti-racism, consent, trans-positivity and queer-positivity, etc., are very important to you,” the ad read.

Where would somebody go for those kinds of references?
Or do they just take somebody’s word for it?
How does that interview happen exactly?

t-man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

If I am starting a commune and being picky about who gets in, I think I am taking people on the basis of whether they have any skills and or money to bring to the table. I want the guy or gal who can fix a leaking pipe or broken down car or knows how to grow things. I am sorry, but the tranie who works at the S&M store is probably not making the cut. And I am not really going to care about what their political beliefs are as long as they bring a skill to the table.

Also, I am surprised that HUD isn't all over them with fair housing lawsuits. These ads seem very discriminatory. If you just wanted to cause trouble and make a few bucks, you could go around and pose as a evangelical Christian and sue these people for housing discrimination.

Quayle said...

I'm an anti-antiism, so I wouldn't qualify to live there.

t-man said...

These things don't always turn out so well. Don't the Philadelphia hippies remember MOVE?

Fred4Pres said...

Why is the sex so bad in free love communities?

And why do vegetarians cook vegetables so poorly? Why do steak houses cook vegetables so well?

It is a mystery.

Bissage said...

You all can make fun of these people as much as you want. But I think it’s a great idea to find perfectly suited housemates through Craigslist!

Mrs. Bissage and I have lots of room, so I’m going to post an ad today:

WANTED. One jack-in-the-box named Charlie. One elephant with polka dots. One ragdoll with self-diagnosed dysthymia. One bird that swims instead of flies. One cowboy who rides an ostrich. One train with square wheels on its caboose. One boat that sinks instead of floats. One water pistol that shoots grape jelly.

No smokers. No pets. References required.

Bissage said...

We should have a happy home in no time!

J said...

"My family has no idea where I am — or if I’m even alive — and I’d like to keep it that way,' she said"

Shouldn't that be "it said"?

I wonder how quickly anti-ableism would cease to be important after somebody decided they weren't able to pay their share of the rent.

t-man said...

OTOH -

One of the things I loved studying about 19th Century America was the experimentaion with utopian communities. With federal and state antidiscrimination laws, it is impossible to found a town like New Harmony today, but these 21st Century communes are really is nothing new. They are just more pretentious.

Lem said...

Hi.. my name Charles Manson.. where do you want me?

traditionalguy said...

It is all about boundaries. Removing traditional boundaries for a "better world" leaves everyone unsafe. The the patriarchial head of the house role must be filled by someone (male or female) who either does the job or lets the place devolve into a an unstructured place where no one is comfortable because no on knows his or her boundaries. And the idea of permanent plants must be a satire. Plants are gone in a season...only their seeds carry on. Do they plan to procreate or steal children (seed) from others?

Shanna said...

It sounds like a bunch of roommates who have a garden, but want to be really annoying about it.

John said...

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38517

There you go traditional Guy. I suspect that these places will end up being real life Onion stories.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Ha ha, transgender people! Ha ha, permaculture!

The reaction reminds me of middle school, when deviation from norms was at once hilarious and shameful.

And you may think these chicks are namby-pamby, but most of you would take one step into Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and soil yourselves.

Skeptical said...

A Hazard-Berger is definitely not vegetarian. It's about half a pound of beef, medium rare, with chili and cheese so heavy that the bun falls apart in your hands.

I could go for a Hazard-Berger right now.

tim maguire said...

My wife and I actually considered one of these earlier this year. It's a little different then most people in the comments seem to be picturing. The typical urban communal living space is a coop building with full individual apartments, but also large common areas and some services like day care, etc.

My initial fear was that I wouldn't be able to walk in the door without someone sticking a flier in my face, but that doesn't seem to be what they're about (they weren't aspiring to be an "activist communty" or whatever, though they were more or less uniformly liberal).

But they made one fatal mistake. Last year they put down a deposit on a building that turned out to be inappropriate and they broke the contract, surrendering the deposit. The need to absorb that cost made the group too expensive to join for nearly anybody who is the sort to be interested in joining. I expect it to fail.

John said...

"And you may think these chicks are namby-pamby, but most of you would take one step into Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and soil yourselves."

Twenty years ago maybe. But not now or anytime in the last 10 years the only reason anyone would soil themselves would be in shock over the rents.

These people are anything but deviating from the norm. They are conformist hipisters. As someone said above, "they are just roommates who have a garden, but want to be really annoying about it."

chuckR said...

Mine is not an activist house.

Its just sits on its foundation like a lump.

Simon Kenton said...

We all lived in a huge, wonderful old brick house with rooms and rooms everywhere. About 5 of us, and constantly seeking more. There was Peter Rama. When Don's drivers license arrived from Kentucky, Rama remembered he needed one, owing to some humorless misconduct on the part of the police. So he took it. There was X, whose named sounded so much like Jack-off that he was so called. Jack-off had this adorable puppy, which he locked into an empty room while he went to class. When the room got dense-packed with shit, he moved the puppy to the next room; and so down the hall. I think Jack-off's name was on the lease. Isn't it pretty to think so.

Now I live in a large house on a few acres with wildlife coming by every day. I never want to live communally again. Ever. This house is, will be, is dedicated to being, anti-co-housing.

wv coliking

madawaskan said...

Maybe she stuffs her chickens with vegetarians.

AJ Lynch said...

Bissage:

I've seen the elephant with polka dots but only with the help of some Jack Daniels! I'll try and remember to put in a good word for you and the Mrs.

DADvocate said...

social, artistic and political collaboratins

Isn't that what the NEA just got caught doing?

Looking for work in social justice... Why does that strike me as so funny?

Because it's always funny when grown-ups believe in fairy tales.

PatHMV said...

What is "ableism"? I'm scared to look it up. I suspect, based on the rest of the list, that I am in fact an "ableist," but that's truly a new one on me. I know about sizism and looksism and all sorts of other isms, but ableism?

Henry said...

Montage -- Ms. Berger and friends live in Park Slope. Their biggest risk on the way home from the food co-op is getting run over by a McLaren stroller.

madawaskan said...

Ever wonder why they always seem to be recruiting?

Looking for losers?

People no one would miss?

[wv:holesses a really bad movie title for the really bad movie this sounds like-that maybe only white people would like.]

Widmerpool said...

Earnest use of the meaningless phrase "social justice," in any context, is a sure sign you are dealing with pretentious bullshit.

AJ Lynch said...

Madawaskan said:
"Ever wonder why they are recruiting?"

That is an interesting question because the NYT never seems to run out of material for stories like this. That suggest there is no shortage.

wv = ansil

reader_iam said...

Pat, "ableism" is a preference for the able-bodied, privileging them over people with disabilities. Alternatively (and/or additionally), it's discrimination against people with disabilities.

Triangle Man said...

Introverts need not apply.

Bissage said...

Thanks for that, AJ.

And when you see a winged lion wearing a crown, sitting on a golden throne, that’s when it’s time for bed.

That’s my practice, anyway.

Triangle Man said...

MTV should film these people. It would far more hilarious than Real World.

reader_iam said...

That's the short version, anyway.

paul a'barge said...

I never wanted to live in a hippie commune either, back in the old days.

I did. It was hard work. I don't think I would have the stamina for it today.

Especially if the others were gruel like those in this article.

When not one of the people appear to be even remotely boinkable you know there's trouble afoot. Stay away.

reader_iam said...

Can you tell that my first full-time job out of college in the early-mid'80s was with a private non-profit which worked with adults with disabilities so that they could live as independently as possible, within the least restrictive environment possible, out in the community?

madawaskan said...

AJ-

You put your question with paul's boinkability factor and the only conclusion-

they could be like yeast-and always risin'..

Which reminds me I hope to hell no one from Zombieland signed something lately...

I have to go see it-reminds me of a place I visit in Cali-coulda been filmed there.

reader_iam said...

I did live communally at that time, with various roommates and such (the best configuration was me and 3 guys, with none of whom I was involved), but never in a *commune.* Perish the thought.

I did sincerely enjoy *visiting* some friends who did live in commune-type arrangements (and just as sincerely enjoyed leaving at the end of the visits).

Freeman Hunt said...

Permaculture

If only, if only, if only I could link scenes from the worst movie I've ever seen. It has not been released, so I can't. Permaculture features prominently.

It sounds like a bunch of roommates who have a garden, but want to be really annoying about it.

LOL

Freeman Hunt said...

I had a friend at a summer camp once who was raised in a commune. Her mother was a model. I suspect it was more of a commune for beautiful or rich people. A fancypants-ist commune.

rocketeer67 said...

"I don't see how you get vegetarian meals with chickens."

Reminds of the place I visited in New york with my wife and toddler last year - called "Farm Sanctuary." They housed farm animals "rescued" from the "ravages" of "farm exploitation." All of the guides were vegans. It was a nice place for my 2-year-old to pet animals, but the lecturers tended to be amusing and wrong in the way that only earnest city kids that have only been around farm animals for about 5 minutes can be wrong.

At any rate, the most amusing moment for me happened after I asked what they did with the eggs they collected from the hen houses. Keep in mind that this is, after all, a vegan enterprise. I was genuinely intrigued to learn what the answer would be.

Turns out, they collect the eggs, hard boil them, and mix them in with the regular chicken feed. So on the vegan farm, the chickens are not only forced into being omnivores, they’re unwittingly cannibalistic abortionist omnivores. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was hilarious in a way I can never quite accurately communicate.

John said...

Freeman,

A commune of fashion models. That is a commune I might join.

Smilin' Jack said...

Do people who are politically liberal really deserve to be brought down in this queasy sea of estrogen?

They so do.

BJM said...

I'd like to see the focus group data that is driving the ongoing stream of woman-pleasing-can't-we-all-just-get-along-while-looking-fabulous-saving-the-earth-from-evil-capitalism pap.

Daily the NYT grows more desperate and isolated from reality and/or there are a great many very confused women living in the Times reader demographic.


wv: ficsqu = critiquing haiku.

Joseph said...

This article purports to be about me and my demographic.

The article is successful if its goal is an entertaining read for an audience of snarky old people who like to mock young people testing out new/old idealistic notions. The voice of the "reporter" screams middle-aged sarcastic white mom whose primary gestures are rolling eyes and making air quotes.

But if the article's goal is to identify and describe evolving cultural trends, its a pretty poor job. This living situation has become much more common over the past generation for several reasons the writer declines to investigate. People get married later (or not at all), people are much more likely to get postsecondary degrees (and more likely to incur more debt doing it), people are less likely to live near their families. So, there is a population of people from their early 20s to early 30s who spend a long period unmarried, too poor to buy or rent a nice place, far from families, in urban environments. What is the best option in this situation? To live in a tiny studio by yourself in the ghetto or far from the city center? To bankrupt yourself paying for a nicer place in a nicer location by yourself?

I'm one of those people and I decided communal living was the most cost-efficient way to live in a nicer place in a nicer location. And if you're going to share kitchen and bathroom and living room with other people, you want to make sure they are the kind of people you like. The author cherrypicks the most self-unaware quotes from the most obnoxious people she could find and pretends that they represent the median urban twenty-something living communally.

I searched for and found people and a house on craigslist in DC. I said I wanted to share communal vegetarian meals, have a garden, compost, maintain a clean and friendly house environment, host parties and dinner parties. Eventually seven of us signed a lease paying about $550/month each for a beautiful big house. We are all kinda nerdy, vegetarian, social, easygoing people who are committed to making the most of our living situation. We each pay $100/month for all of our food expenses. Someone else is responsible collecting the money and doing the grocery shopping. Someone is responsible each night to cook a big meal for the house (with leftovers for our lunches). Others do planting, watering, harvesting the garden or chores around the house. I guess its easy to mock this but I honestly can't imagine a better way to live given my limited resources. We have a lot of fun, eat very well and live in a great space. Instead of seeing anything smart or responsible in the trend, the author (and Althouse and most commenters) make it sound like its all trustfund babies living in unreality. On the contrary, I'd say most people in this situation are doing so for eminently responsible and sensible reasons.

rocketeer67 said...

The author cherrypicks the most self-unaware quotes from the most obnoxious people she could find and pretends that they represent the median urban twenty-something living communally.

I cherrypicked this from the four paragraphs you wrote. Granted, you wrote a lot of funny stuff, but this was the funniest line of all.

Roger Sweeny said...

it’s a model for sustainable living that extrapolates principles from natural ecologies — like how different plants grow together for their mutual benefit.

That's actually a very practical concept. In economics, we call it "division of labor." The two disciplines that being with "eco" have a lot in common.

And though individual plants aren't permanent, the species pretty much is. That's what seeds are for.

Henry said...

Joseph wrote: The article is successful if its goal is an entertaining read for an audience of snarky old people who like to mock young people testing out new/old idealistic notions. The voice of the "reporter" screams middle-aged sarcastic white mom whose primary gestures are rolling eyes and making air quotes.

I think you are right on the money. This is typical of New York Times Lifestyle articles. One day yuppie moms are running over people with designer baby carriages. Another day, vegetarian commune lovers are chasing the good life. You can't worry too much about it.

David said...

And why do vegetarians cook vegetables so poorly? Why do steak houses cook vegetables so well?

It is a mystery.

Actually, "it" is lard.

On topic? If you told these people that heterogeneity beats homogeneity, they would just stare at you like you weren't even speaking English.

WV: furrepti. Don't even go there.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Joseph makes some very good points about sharing living space in a communal type of arrangement and the economic benefits of doing so.

People used to live in this style all the time. We called it extended family, where the parents, children, grandchildren and an occaisonal aunt or uncle all lived in the same house or on the same property and pitched in to help the group out. It was only really since the 1940's and especially after the War when people began to live in their individual and isolated family circumstances.


It sounds like Joseph has a practical arrangement and as long as everyone can get along and not treat it as some sort of "boldly going where no man has gone before" moment these types of living situations can work out just fine. (Oh and also....don't eat that leftover cake marked with my name in the fridge!!!)

I think the snark in the article comes from the ridiculousness of the people she is talking about. They are so pretentious and completely unaware of their parody of themselves, that it IS funny.

Speaking from a "been there done that" perspective, the people in this article who are taking themselves so very very seriously deserve to be laughed at and will be laughed at because we recoginize them. And hope they eventually grow out of it.

Joseph said...

Thanks DBQ. My issue isn't with the author's reaction to those individual people she chose to include. My issue is with the fact that she frames the article as an exploration of urban communal living but seems to have gone out of her way to choose ridiculous people to make fun of rather than seriously exploring a social trend. This article is not about urban communal living. This article is about freaks you can find on craigslist.

The first paragraph describes someone who is apparently into "hula hooping, book groups and anarchism." When you're searching craigslist, that's the kind of thing that makes most people think "freak" not "good housemate material" unless you are Penelope Green.

madawaskan said...

Joseph

Try being military and reading the snark in a NYT article, or a liberal blog.

The hatred or what they get wrong...

This in comparison -small potats.

Freeman Hunt said...

Are we talking about roommates or communes here?

Roommates: Share living space, go into together on many expenses, divide chores.

Commune: Share living space, share all income and possessions.

What are we talking about? 'Cause if it's just roommates, who gives a rip?

Freeman Hunt said...

Reading this does make me want to live in the middle of a vast expanse of land in Montana.

Clyde said...

If permaculture melts, does it emit methane? Because that would be so not cool, since it would add to global warming.

WV: thsting - and I'm hearing a Marvin Hamlisch tune.

Freeman Hunt said...

Everything I know about Findhorn I learned from My Dinner with Andre.

Joseph said...

Also, whatever your view of the transgender phenomenon, the inclusion here of a transgendered person is pretty shamelessly designed to further up the "freak" factor and make the article conform to the author's preconception about what kind of people live communally.

AllenS said...

From the short story book

Fun With Vegetables
by
AllenS

You can make any animal you want to out of string beans making stick figures.

The End

Freeman Hunt said...

When did having roommates become "communal living?" Give me a break.

There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about having roommates.

bearbee said...

Seems to be just part of the trend to restore a sense of community.

rocketeer67 said...

'When did having roommates become "communal living?"'

Sharing meals without declaring to the world that it's "eminently responsible and sensible" = roommates.

Sharing "communal vegetarian meals" and bragging about it under the guise of defending against the calumny of being lumped in with those other earnest, pompous asses = "the median urban twenty-something living communally."

Joseph said...

"Communal" doesn't just mean commune. Here, in the sense used by Althouse and Penelope Green, it means renting a place together and sharing kitchen, bathroom and living space, meals, whatever else you decide to share. Yes, you can also call it "having roommates" but the phenomenon the article is discussing is having a relatively large number (5-8?) of roommates and some expectation of organized chores, meals, community. I used the term "communal living" because that's the term Althouse and Green used.

I don't know why my comments seemed to offend rocketeer67, but I wasn't "bragging" about anything (I'm not sure what's to brag about). I was pointing out that, contrary to this article, finding likeminded people to share a house and meals and whatnot is not the freakshow Penelope Green portrays. Its just a normal thing people do for financial and social reasons and that it can be a very positive experience.

Paddy O. said...

So, like monastics have done for centuries?

There's a small, growing movement in Christian circles reviving this as well. Shane Claiborne is one of the interesting leaders at his "simple Way community. The great thing about his work, and similar, is that it's not about self-absorbed being. It is intended to be a light in the midst of a community, illustrating peace and contribution to the whole community by an embedded model.

In the 70s, the Jesus People USA (JPUSA) were pretty influential in all kinds of ways, even though the movement itself wasn't huge. Some musicians who worked with them helped ignite the contemporary worship/Christian music scene.

Freeman Hunt said...

ignite the contemporary worship/Christian music scene

A point for or against?

Joseph said...

John: Also, I am surprised that HUD isn't all over them with fair housing lawsuits. These ads seem very discriminatory. If you just wanted to cause trouble and make a few bucks, you could go around and pose as a evangelical Christian and sue these people for housing discrimination.

I don't know of any law that bans discrimination in picking roommates. Federal housing discrimination law generally only applies to buildings with four or more units. Craigslist terms of service probably bans discrimination but the worst they can probably do is take down your free ad.

Paddy O. said...

Both Freeman. :-D

rocketeer67 said...

Was Penelope Green talking about you, or not, Joseph? I'm offended because lack of self-awareness always offends me.

Freeman Hunt said...

I had lots of friends with a bunch of roommates... oops, I mean, who lived communally in college.

The roommates, er communal living participants, described in this article seem very cause-y. I think it would be exhausting to live with a bunch of cause-y people.

Like, "Oh, I bought apples today," and Mildred says, "Were they organic?" And you say, "Yup." And Xavier says, "But are they certified sustainable?" And you say, "Yup." And then Georges comes in and he's all, "But are they fair trade?" And you say, "Yup," but only after a pause because you lied that time.

Paddy O., Heh. :)

Joseph said...

Was Penelope Green talking about you, or not, Joseph? I'm offended because lack of self-awareness always offends me.

She was talking about a phenomenon of which I am a part and using examples that make that phenomenon seem like a freak show.

You must spend a lot of time feeling offended. Take a deep breath. You're welcome to join us for a communal vegetarian meal if it will make you feel better.

LordSomber said...

My old band stayed in one of these houses in Boston while on tour. In the morning, while frying up some sausage for breakfast, two feminist residents barged into the kitchen, aghast to find that MEN were staying here. And they were cooking MEAT!

It was funny.

Synova said...

I was definitely envisioning *communal* rather than a co-op. What Joseph describes (and possibly what the article is talking about) is cooperative living, not communal living, and certainly not a collective.

Communes break down for some very good reasons having to do with unequal contribution and unequal benefit having to do with ownership issues.

Roommates can keep everything very separate or they can pitch in together for those things like meals and gardens and whatever else. And housing co-ops where there are separate apartments or even houses but with community areas and services as well seem to be getting more popular.

I think that maybe what is "funny" about the article is mostly that it's framed in a sort of "alternative" snobbery rather than, hey cool... share rent and be less isolated... what's not to like?

rocketeer67 said...

Good lord, man, you have roommates! That you think it's special or that you're part of a "phenomenon" is laughably pretentious. Green was writing about the freaks because, well, that's interesting. She wasn't writing about you. Period.

But clearly you wish she was.

And thanks, but I'll pass on the meal. Breaking bread with self-important twenty-somethings hasn't been especially enthralling since, well, my twenties.

rocketeer67 said...

P.S. - Get the hell off my lawn!

daubiere said...

so "the golden girls" were pioneers. but were dorothys caftans made of organic cotton??

Smilin' Jack said...

"People who live in communes are communists."--Archie Bunker

Joseph said...

Lovely. Well I'm glad I was able to help you get some venom out of your system. I hope that helps you to be able to be nicer to someone you meet in person today.

rocketeer67 said...

Yes. Well, I hope I was able to help you grow the heck up and realize your present living arrangement is completely unremarkable. Maybe it will help you be a little less affected in discussing your housing situation with a real person in future.

MeJerry said...

"And, I should add, I never wanted to live in a hippie commune either, back in the old days."

I know why. Althouse thinks a shower should be attached to each bedroom.

Ann Althouse said...

@Joseph Your arrangement sounds nice. I'm not laughing at that aspect of it. I'm laughing at the annoying qualities of particular individuals. Especially the political crap.

blake said...

Oh, thanks for the alternate definition, reader, I had thought that ableism was (confusingly) about being anti-discrimination against the disabled.

So, being anti-ableism would be being for discrimination against the disabled. An interesting twist, were it true.

Freeman Hunt said...

Althouse could not be trusted to buy the apples.

David said...

Well, she'd buy the apples. Then she'd spend a couple months ridiculing the apples. Then she'd complain that no one warned her that the apples were going to turn rotten.

wv: chaph, which is the oddest coincidence...

Penny said...

But an apple fell from the tree, Freeman, and she took a bite, passing it to Meade.

John Lynch said...

Now you see the violence inherent in the system.

Help! Help!