Sunday, November 26, 2006

Community (II)

I'm of course wrong. It's not the insularity of communities that's a problem, but the difficulty of creating a genuinely engaged community - ie overcome the insularity of individuals.

Perhaps Lucipo has been the best example of such community-building in the recent past. But the first time I came upon that list it was when I googled myself and found that someone on it had argued that my fellow Athenians and I were not a true communitiy (because we didn't baby-sit each others babies or play baseball together). That's exactly the kind of utopian rhetoric that makes me suspicious of "community"-building ventures.

Nevertheless they seem to have done a good job of generating a kind of critical reading/writing community. The same perhaps goes for various mother/women/baby lists out there.


Blogger Amish Trivedi said...

I think Athens, as far as I was aware, was more of a professional relationship and not so much a place where everybody was friends with everybody else. I mean, I hung out with folks from classes or something, but there was never the feeling that we'd be friends without poems at the center. I think it's a little to idealistic to dream of the kind of community of Inklings or Lost Generation folks. I don't think it's possible anymore, though I myself would love something like that.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I think he was specifically talking about the graduate students. And while it's true that we all moved to Athens for "professional" reasons, we've engaged in very close artistic exchange since we all got there. I'm very dubious about defining some kind of pure community.

The other thing about Athens is that it really is a super-communal type of town. I'm thinking about all those indie-rock kids out in the woods, Cal's yoga palace, the REM-pals, the painters etc.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Amish Trivedi said...

Wait- Who "he" are you talking about? What did I miss?

Also, I must email you a question..

1:57 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

It wasn't the baby-sitting (if that's what you refer to by domestic division of labor) that made me anxious but the rhetoric of defining some people as a true community and some as lesser (the categories for making such a judgment seem less important).

Why don't you think poetry can be the "central organizing force of any sustainable social grouping"?

6:12 PM  

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