End of utopia?

Posted: 13 July 2016 in Uncategorized
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I’ve been reading and writing a lot about utopia and utopian communities these days.* As a result, I’ve done a lot of work on the Shakers, including Hancock Shaker Village (which I’ve visited a number of times, with family and friends), the community they built in the Berkshires that became a vibrant example and source of aid for Shaker and other utopian communities across the United States.

And now look what it’s become after some 233 years: the “impressive setting” for a Millenial nuptial [ht: ja]. In that most celibate of places. After all that baby-boomer, yuppie junk we’ve been fed about the “simple” life of the Shakers. It’s wild to see this combination of extravagance (Swarovski crystal beading, even!) and convenience (with the “availability of backup indoor locations in case of inclement weather”).

The couple married at Hancock Shaker Village in The Berkshires on July 25, 2015. They selected a location, established in 1791, that was the exact opposite of their ultra modern proposal. They chose it for its impressive setting and availability of backup indoor locations in case of inclement weather – a round stone barn and brick dwelling, both built in the early 1800s. . .

Alexa’s dress, by Maggie Sottero, was an ivory chiffon sheath dress with nude underlay, accented with Swarovski crystal and pearl beading along the neckline and back. A thin pearl and crystal beaded belt accented her waist.

I guess the utopian “gift to be simple” has been replaced by just gifts. Expensive, returnable ones, I imagine.


*For the talk at the University of Sydney and a new book, tentatively titled “Utopia and Critique.”

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