Curious Culture

My communities relationship with technology is quite unusual.  When the community was founded in the late 1960s, it was felt that television was a social toxin.  As such it was banned.  But the world did not stay still, and new entertainment and information technologies became available. And each time one did, we said “yes” to it.  So while there is no live television anywhere on campus still, we do have video players and ipods and ipads and the internet as well as some video game machines.  When we started putting wireless internet from our fractional T1 line into our residences i asked the question “Is T1 = TV?” The answer which came back, paraphrased was “Maybe, but we dont care”

One of the technologies we do restrict is cell phones.  The norms for controlling cell phone use are almost as strict as the ones limiting cigarette use.  Because the community does not provide members with cell phones and because there is a strong desire to limit the public use of cell phones, there are only a handful of places you can use cell phones at my community.  The abbreviated version of these norms are:

1) Put your phone on vibrate

2) You can only use it where there is an existing landline.

The actual policy is more complicated than this and is described here.

The theory is that since we have current locations for phone usage, the new non-egalitarian cell phones should be restricted to those locations and no one should have to hear you current crazy ringtone anywhere.  These guidelines also make me more aware of peoples cell phone etiquette in the mainstream culture.  People oft seem to think that having a phone call exempts them from being respectful of those around them.  And i am far from perfect in this as well and Hawina and Willow both tease me often about how much i hang on my electronic leash.

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.

6 responses to “Curious Culture”

  1. Abigail says :

    It sounds almost as complicated as the “family” cell phone plan. Which reminds me, can you tell Angie Im well paid up.

  2. paxus says :

    Kenna Josephene sez on FB – Regarding cell phone etiquette: I found it to be horrendous in Southern California, although this is not surprising considering that most forms of social consideration are absent in Southern California. After a movie at a museum in Santa Barbara, I went to the bathroom. All the stalls were full, and there was a line. After I got into a stall, a woman in the stall next to me started talking VERY loudly into her cell phone, recounting the entire plot of the movie to someone and evaluating the relative attractiveness of the actors. This was in an otherwise silent and packed bathroom. So rude. I left the stall to wash my hands. When she emerged from her stall, I turned to face her, holding my arms out to the sides, palms forward, and sang, “The Star Spangled Banner” to her with gusto and at the same volume as she was talking. She kept yakking, giving me weird looks and looking confused. I kept facing her as she went to the sink, dried her hands, and left. My date later reported that the woman emerged from the bathroom saying into her phone, “Yeah, she’s singing and she won’t stop!” She clearly had no idea what I was trying to communicate. As soon as she was out of the room, I stopped singing and turned to wash my hands. The really freaky part was that absolutely nobody responded to my action. Everybody kept moving about the bathroom, doing their business, exactly the same as they would have had I not been singing and the other gal had not been yakking. Nobody looked at me, commented, or even changed facial expression. Disturbing. Aside from the fact that both populations speak English, I would say that Twin Oaks and

  3. Wendy says :

    I was at TO when Princess Di died, and my experience of that event is so different from most people I know. There was a 3 X 5 card that said simply, “Princess Diana is dead” pinned to the community bulletin board. I was never exposed to all the images, outpourings, etc. that others experienced. I don’t consider that a loss, just a funny memory of the different way mass pop culture events land there.

  4. Anon says :

    Wondering if Twin Oaks has a policy on cameras and other recording devices?

    • Angie says :

      We absolutely do. Video, sound, and photographs are permitted without the express permission of those who will be in view, and permission must be asked each time. Many Oakers will say things like “yes, but not of my face” or “yes, but no posting on the internet” or “you can take a photograph, but no video.” Outsiders as well as community members must abide by these policies. It’s mildly annoying for documentary makers, and fantastic for us members.

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