The Park Slope Food Co-op has been a lightning rod for criticism for years, from people complaining about the co-op banning bottled water, nannies covering members the mandatory work shifts, and most recently, the meeting to decide whether to decide if they should boycott Israeli products. Because the Israel boycott flap got so much attention, Reuters Chadwick Matlin decided to “live-tweet” the most recent Food Co-op general meeting (which had nothing to do with banning Israeli products.)
Oh how the hilarity ensued. And all the blogs laughed and laughed. Oh those silly, stupid co-op members/Park Slope residents/Brooklyn resident/Liberals/Democrats etc. (the derision broadened as the comments went on.)
But why is a business that is truly democratic, and gives everyone a chance to speak, including the kooks, subject to such ridicule? (Full disclosure, I was briefly a co-op member, so I am familiar with the fringe element of a number of the members…let’s face it, some of them are genuine squirrel-bait.)
But rather than just take pot shots, the Atlantic puts it in perspective with the article The More Things Change the More Food Co-ops Stay Mockable, “The temptation to mock is irresistible. We love to laugh at the Park Slope Food Co-op as the ne plus ultra of overwrought political correctness and smug social consciousness. We need that in our disgruntled, cynical lives.”
Maybe the Park Slope Food Co-op is a naive cockeyed optimist who thinks they can change the world, and that might make them seem a little batty. But I’m sure if someone live tweeted a Reuters board meeting, you’d hear a few things a little more scandalous than people concerned about plastic bags. Chadwick Matlin, are you willing to direct your clever smarm on David Thomson and James Smith?