THIS WAS SO JAW-DROPPING i thought about it nonstop for days afterwards
the man chose his trolling over his wife and unborn child
Lawns are stupid. You have a tiny field that exists just so you can cut it and produce nothing.
(slavery content below)
Lawns are stupid! I don’t want to get too preachy (or, like, tell you things you have already heard from one hundred anarchists or alt gardeners otherwise), but lawns are absolute textbook bourgeois muscling. Probably they originate with gardens of British aristocracy and Louis XIV’s tapis vert, which is to say they were developed literally only as a way to extend the cultivated interior into the outdoors. Probably a lot of you know way more about the history of English gardens than I do, but their cultivated exteriors are part of this history, too—“produce nothing” can be argued to have been a status symbol, for sure. And grass has always been the actual most tedious thing to grow in any climate, so lawns require a lot of water dedicated just to keep them alive, and a lot of labor to tend. The first leftist who ever gave me this speech called it “conspicuous consumption of the aristocracy” which is fully fair.
I think most of the time critics of the Institution of the Lawn approach it as a 20th century construct, although everybody knows about Versailles. I think it is almost most important, though, to look at how the lawn came to America, namely, via Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, et al.: transplanting this performance of wealth (and, importantly!, literally transplanting difficult non-native plants into North America) “required” labor that sustained the slave trade. Lawns came to America as a display of slave ownership, and to create another “need” for it.
(I googled some stuff about Monticello, anticipating people being extra-demanding for sources here, lol, and I regret witnessing this shit.)
But, yes, the twentieth century. People who lecture at you about how lawns were invented by fertilizer companies are kind of not wrong! Or, at least, the lawn was fiercely marketed (mainly after WWII) via one million new consumer goods (pink flamingos, rototillers, and so on). What I am even more interested in, here, is how the suburban lawn developed through processes of zoning and neighborhood associations—ie, “your house must be oriented to the road as such, spaced x feet from the street” not distinct from the regulation of farming for food, or things like (surprise!) housing segregation as organized by community associations. (The tending of lawns and a “nice” yard was* actually a big part of how segregation happened, I have seen lots and lots of documents coming out of Flint in the 1950s that show white homeowners associations justifying redlining practices by claiming that Black people were incapable of tending to a house, and a yard.)
I think that’s all the big points!
P.S. A lot of people with depression and other mental illnesses have trouble making decisions or choosing from a bunch of different options. “Wanna get dinner at that pizza place on Tuesday night?” is a LOT easier to answer than “So wanna hang out sometime? What do you want to do?”