It was one of those weeks on the Listserv where you just want to throw in the towel.
Have you ever regretted saying something as you are actually saying it? That happened to one Listerv member last week as they wrote an email poking fun at either Parkinson’s disease or fecal matter transplant (FMT) therapy. That same person replied to themselves in a second email admonishing the previous one.
Someone who decided to take a walk after dinner was spotted by a large helicopter equipped with a searchlight. First responders were thanked profusely.
One member said that someone used the word “ADU” or “Additional Dwelling Unit” during a The Sea Ranch Association committee meeting. Another member replied that ADUs are The Sea Ranch’s answer to the affordability crisis and would provide a nice rental income to some of the retirees here. A long debate ensued, about whether recent California State laws would supersede California Commission rules about density at The Sea Ranch, or vice versa. Not a single person had the courage to ask the obvious questions, which were “How many member passes would properties with two homes receive each year and what would that printing cost do to our overall TRSA budget?” Since these questions were not posed, there was no opportunity for someone to say increased membership card printing costs would be a deep and unsettling, “injustice”.
One Sea Ranch member declared that their word for one evening would be, “panopticon.”
Another member called the TSR Buzz group (separate from the Listserv), “outrageous” and that “they’ve never seen anything like it.”
Someone said they saw a rumor about an airport expansion at The Sea Ranch. Someone else asked, “when did the ‘private airstrip’ transform into an ‘airport?’” A discussion emerged on the ontology of airstips, airports, runways, and airfields. One member said that everyone was focused on the wrong thing and that everything is an “airport” because, in the FAA’s glossary of terms, it is the only noun used to describe any sort of place where planes take off or land.
Someone shard an article about The Sea Ranch’s very own D-list Fox News commentator, counsel to Donald Trump, and anti-LGBT rights advocate, Harmeet Dhillon*. Several Listserv members said she was beyond the pale and her presence here is a disgrace. Another member said that even neo-facist enablers, like Dhillon, have the right to to live at The Sea Ranch without harassment. One member that identifies as a member of the LGBT community disagreed and hoped The Sea Ranch community would join together and “make her feel uncomfortable”. During a few hours of catharsis, many others came forward in support of that statement–a sign of solidarity against bullies and collective faith in the power of shame.
But that didn’t last long. Others told the person who said “I hope we make her uncomfortable” to chill out, since being nasty “never changes minds.” To the contrary, everyone should grab a beer or a tea with Harmeet, and have a conversation with a person who wants to make LGBT community members feel vile and strip them of their civil rights. Both sides have a point of view that should be heard, right?
Another person sent the self-identifying member of the LGBT community a brief message: “leave.”
After several days of back and forth, the Listserv moderator intervened and said they would no longer tolerate “personal attacks” on Harmeet Dhillon. When another member asked why they didn’t intervene during a worse situation several months ago, when a young couple received hundreds of harassing messages after they held a small afternoon wedding ceremony in their yard? In that case, dozens of people shamed, doxxed, and threatened legal action against them. The rhetoric was far worse, against a much more minor offense than bigotry.
The moderator provided the following explanation: “If you don’t like it on the TSR Listserv, you can always go to the TSR Buzz.”
*The Sea Ranch Reader editors, as a matter of course, never mention specific The Sea Ranchers by name, out of respect for their privacy (unless we ask permission in advance). In this case, we took a vote and decided to mention her by name, out of abundant disrespect.