How exhausting it must be to be a liberal in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where you can never stop thinking about politics, especially cultural politics. Remember the 2006 Park Slope freak-out over a resident posting a “found” notice on a neighborhood e-mail list involving what she identified as a “boy’s hat”? The gender politics exploded over that one. It started with this:

I’m sorry, I know that you are just trying to be helpful, but what makes this a “boy’s hat”? Did you see the boy himself loose it? Or does the hat in question possess an unmistakable scent of testosterone?

It’s innocent little comments like this that I find the most hurtful…

What does this comment imply about the girl who chooses to wear just such a hat (or something like it)? Is she doing something wrong? Is there something wrong with her?

And then the crazies really came out. At one point:

As someone else pointed out, this was the very same forum where, just recently, all kinds of people wrote of the anguish they felt about their young children already acting in gender-stereotyped ways. Although I myself did not realize at first that there was anything amiss about saying “boys’ hat,” and I say things like that, unwittingly, all the time, I do recognize how such expressions are caused by and contribute to gender stereotyping. Without people to point this out to us, how do we change our language, and thereby change the way our children perceive gender?

Can you imagine? Well, here’s the latest Park Slope bourgeois lefty Gotterdammerung, via the Wall Street Journal:

After three years of heated debate, the Park Slope Food Coop is at last ready for a vote.

That is, a vote on if, in fact, there should be a vote at all.

Next month, the 15,500-plus member cooperative will decide whether to hold a referendum on what may be the most controversial issue in its nearly 40-year history: a boycott of products made in Israel.

The boycott—which has dominated the coop’s newsletter with back-and-forth letters for months—is expected to draw as many as 1,000 people, forcing co-op staff to look for an alternative meeting location.

… The co-op is used to spirited discussions. The decision to introduce meat at an institution where organic and nonorganic products don’t comingle was divisive. The green light to sell beer came only after two referendums spaced more than a decade apart. And a ban on bottled water took two years to push through.

But the issue of an Israeli boycott has evolved into the most polarizing debate yet.

What an exhausting place to live, and to shop. I’m all for mindful eating, but this is insane.
UPDATE: I am surprised that I have to post this update, but judging from many of the comments, well … no, I don’t think that the Park Slope Co-op is really like Soviet Russia or Mao’s China. I was attempting to engage in what rhetoricians call “comic hyperbole.” As an example, see the “Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld, in which the soup shop owner’s attempts to control his customers earns him that comic-hyperbolic moniker. He is not, in fact, a National Socialist. I’m sure Jerry Seinfeld would appreciate you clearing this up for him. Please write to him in care of his agent:

George Shapiro

Shapiro/West & Associates

141 El Camino Drive

Suite 205

Beverly Hills, CA 90212