Tuesday, August 05, 2003
The Farm in The News

The Farm is a commune near Summerville, Tennessee. It was founded there in 1971 by Stephen Gaskin. When Gaskin and his gang of hippies moved there from the San Francisco Bay area, the regional media -- i.e., the Nashville Tennessean and the local Nashville television stations -- had a collective fit, hyping the story regularly. This was still fairly soon, in some sense, after the Summer of Love, after Tate/Bianca, Charles Manson, et al., so who can blame the local powers that be for trying to scare the wits out of the locals? Remember: there's always a lot of grocery store ads on when the weatherman is hyping the upcoming snow storm which turns out to be a dusting, so run out and get that half gallon of milk, some cigarettes, and a few lottery tickets. You may be trapped for days by the DEATH BLIZZARD. Well, those hippies are here for your daughers and sons, ladies and gentlemen.

(Okay, if you've never lived in a snow region, the above might not make much sense. I'm just trying to get across that our commercial information resouces, even if they are well-meaning in many senses of the world, and even if they are extremely professional and dedicated to their profession, are still part of the world, very much a part and not detached or neutral or capable of objectivity in any deep sense. Capable of striving for objectivity, yes; capable of disclosing conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest, yes; capable of being neutral, no way.

And obviously capable of getting caught up in the emotion of a moment: I think it's pretty obvious from watching coverage of the recent war, the way the Kobe Bryant nonsense trumps a terrorist bombing for column inches and time on the radio or television, from the willing mass insanity when Princess Di crashed and burned. Espescially if that emotion sells newpapers or increases ratings.)

Anyway, MSNBC is carrying this AP story about the Farm, which is still plugging along, albiet with a capitalist twist. Link (here) from those libertarians at Reason's Hit and Run.

Disclosure: Someone I knew in high school ran away from home and joined The Farm. See, they were coming for the local daughters and sons. I don't have a followup as to whether he's still there or left, how long he stayed, what happened, or anything detailed. I believe, don't know for sure, that he left his home and went there to live when, by community standards, he should've been finishing high school.