Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Asked "What is the Commons?," the Tutor says:
The owned by all, rather than a few. Folklore as opposed to Disney, air as opposed to bottled water, the town green as opposed to a mall.
One could say, by way of wrestling with such protean notions:

The commons is owned by no one. Folklore, sure, but whose? Don't give me Johnny Appleseed and whitey. In fact, one might ask why the United Corporations of America has consistently had to borrow folklore instead of acknowledge its own. Town greens are fine, though in some towns in New England and elsewhere, the commons are so pristine that aliens from six miles away are asked to move on if ever so bold as to venture in. The problem isn't the commons, but the anal, squinting towns around them. Icons invoking tradition come loaded with unreassuring overtones of American heritage, violently waved little flags, and bad marching music. How about zocalo instead?

Why bind the discussion of commons within the constraints of property and ownership when the sense of commons, and common sense, work to undo those leathery straps for the sake of a different order of access to reality that involves sharing, custodial trust, and unalloyed giving?

The Tutor is justly critical of tidy sites that employ "the high dry style of the MBA, the manager, the venturer." Would he agree there is more than style to the "purchase" of style? On the occasion of a conference in Banff devoted to Collaboration, Technology, the Arts and Democracy, we are helpfully reminded of a sort of vernacular, the speaking of the vulgus:
To hold out for the commons is to hold out for traditions, including literary, philosophical, religious, and democratic traditions, of giving and "being in the world." These traditions include Mardi Gras, The Feast of Fools, and the Carnivalesque world of Rabelais.
This is the saturnalian style, a mode of subversion of which white papers and conferences are blessedly innocent. So far. The Tutor seems hell bent on their deflowering:
may we never forget where we come from - the dumpster of broken lives.


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... from Commons Bondage to holding out for bonding, in our broken lives, on the commons ?

9/29/2004 9:31 AM  
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