Communes and TV Puff Pieces

The Yahoo Parenting and ABC Nightline news pieces have drawn attention to Twin Oaks in the small screen media world. Most recently they have brought Richmond’s ABC affiliate.

There are a number of minor parts of the reporting that are wrong. They mess up the sequence of the visitor period and acceptance process. They also said we had a waiting list, which as of recently, is not actually true.

Keenan and one of the few pictures which makes us look densely built. Photo Credit: WRIC

Keenan and one of the few pictures which makes us look densely built. Photo Credit: WRIC

But overall, it portrays the community accurately and is mostly upbeat.

Whenever the mainstream media comes, it attempts to exotify us. The reporter said basically, “You can live in this comfortable paradise, but you have to give up most of your material possessions.” What is true is that you can bring whatever fits in your room and a bike. You can bring larger furniture items if you are willing to lend them to the community (you can take them when you go if you want) for use in the common spaces.

For many people, this represents a significant scaling down of what they have. No one says, “You have to give them up.” It is not a mandate from the community. If you move to a smaller place, you shed things.

Scott working the saw mill, less noble then tech work?

Scott working the saw mill. Is this less noble then tech work?

The video makes a point of mentioning that Scott, who is running the saw mill, used to be a computer programmer. It implies that he gave up programming to do this lower paying work. However, Scott does not think about it this way.

Perhaps in an effort to make home viewers comfortable, the news people talk about how this would not work for them or how they can’t imagine seeing their colleagues at a place like Twin Oaks. The terms “hippies” and “communists” are thrown at us and quickly batted away. You can try to see it as stereotypical or comically diminished, but really what is happening here is more complex and i would argue more important.

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

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