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‘Cash-Mob’ Creates Movie-Like Fairy Tale for Family Behind Ohio Hardware Store – ABC News

The town I live in ("some of the time," my neighbors might say) is known for efforts to promote local businesses as part of a sustainable regional economy. I've written about them and will be writing more. When I came across this article, which mentions the "sense of community," I wondered if such a thing could happen in Great Barrington. And I wondered if the good feeling that motivated the "mob" shoppers would keep them coming back, again and again. While Black has been fending media calls, Shutts and her [...]

“What the Internet is Hiding from You” – @nybooks

Sue Halpern's articles in the New York Review of Books are thought-provoking introductions to aspects of science and technological development that I need to know about, and this essay is relevant to human relationships, the subject of A Smaller Circle: Anonymity, which flourishes where there is no individual accountability, is one of its key features, and behind it, meanness, antipathy, and cruelty have a tendency to rush right in. As the sociologist Sherry Turkle observes: "Networked, we are together, but so lessened are our expectations of each other that we [...]

January 22nd, 2012|Categories: Community|Tags: , , , |

Taking public education seriously

As Berkshire Publishing focuses more on education, on learning as well as teaching, I found myself reflecting on a passage from a book called The Company of Strangers, by Parker Palmer. I read this book in the course of my research on community, and even though Palmer's worldview is Christian and mine is not, I found that there is much to learn from him. We all need community, after all. I like the way he considers education and the public sphere: ". . . imagine what might happen if we [...]

January 19th, 2012|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |

Dogs aren

Pets are all too important in some people's lives, and as real-life community ties decline it seems that more people are getting dogs. I wanted to see what research there is about this, and was glad to find a rational discussion at a site for dog lovers - a dog blog. The writer says that of course it's obvious that pets cannot satisfy our need for human companionship and community. So why do some dog owners insist that their pets are "just like people" or "just like family"? . . [...]

August 27th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , |

The O’Reilly Factor, Great Barrington conservatives, & “bridging” social capital

Great Barrington got national press in December 2007 when the conservative television program "The O'Reilly Factor," which provides the inspiration for Steven Colbert's wacky parody "The Colbert Report," came to town. I wrote about it here on the Berkshire Blog and made the assumption that local conservative George Beebe had been recruited ahead of time for the program. But George called me this morning, over two years after I wrote the post, to correct the historical record (as I see his son John has done in a comment - George [...]

February 16th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , |

“No Berkshares please”

 The small notice below "DONATIONS GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED" reads"No Berkshares please." I saw this at the public library in Great Barrington, where Berkshares, a hugely publicized form of local currency, were launched last year. There was major national press coverage of this wonderful program, funded to the tune of $100,000 by some rich local donor, but it's become something of a local embarrassment. I felt like a real grouch when in its early days I criticized it as ill-conceived, while everyone I knew - well, everyone at the yoga studio - [...]

January 15th, 2008|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , |