October 16, 2009

My eyes, my eyes!

Yes, I'm being a bit preachy this week. Suck it up.

Reason 14789235 in our ongoing demonstration to prove that America is a foreign country:
“It seems like such a mundane thing, hanging laundry, and yet it draws in all these questions about individual rights, private property, class, aesthetics, the environment,” said Steven Lake, a British filmmaker who is releasing a documentary next May called “Drying for Freedom,” about the clothesline debate in the United States.

The film follows the actual case of feuding neighbors in Verona, Miss., where the police say one man shot and killed another last year because he was tired of telling the man to stop hanging his laundry outside.

Jeanne Bridgforth, a real estate agent in Richmond, Va., said that while she had no personal opinion on clotheslines, most of her clients were not thrilled with the idea of seeing their neighbors’ underwear blowing in the breeze.

She recalled how she was unable to sell a beautifully restored Victorian home in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond because it looked out onto a neighbor’s laundry hanging from a second-story back porch. In June, the house went into foreclosure.

“Where does it end?” Ms. Bridgforth said of the legislative push to prevent housing associations from forbidding clotheslines.

Americans are horrified by the sight of clean clothes and linen innocently swaying in the breeze.

I guess it helps to explain why violence with a surfeit of bile and blood is honky-dory over there, a daily tele-vvisual diet, but a breast or a man's naked bottom sends the populace into paroxysms of hyper-morality - as does a washed frock and bra left to dry in the sunshine.
“This is not some slippery slope toward government micromanaging of private agreements,” Mr. Merriam said, adding, however, that for these state laws to succeed they need to exempt existing agreements.
No, indeed it isn't. Because government or fellow citizens micromanaging the lives of others would involve, oh, you know, something like making it illegal in most states of the US to dry your undies in a stiff breeze.

Debate follows bills to remove clothesline bans


  1. geoff8:52 AM

    "8 Appearance of lot

    "1) ...

    "2) The occupier of a lot must not, without the body corporate's written approval--

    "(a) hang washing, bedding, or another cloth article if the article is visible from another lot or the common property, or from outside the scheme"


    Standard default body corporate bylaw found in most community title schemes throughout Australia.

    Quite right too, in my typically non-preachy and humble opinion. In fact shooting is too good for serial transgressors.

    Caz, the sight of your innocent undies in a stiff breeze is one thing, I'm certain. But the sight of my 130 kg neighbours's partially laundered boxer shorts guy-fronts billowing in a sharp afternoon easterly, like the leader in the Sydney to Hobart, is something else entirely.

    Trust me with this.

  2. True, true.

    Yet, those same blocks of units more often than not have a Hills Hoist, or several tucked away somewhere.

    So, generally, the rule relates to balconies, for example.

    Besides, in the US, it's illegal, under state law, to air one's clean linen in public - houses and units - it's not confined to body corporates, a key point that this article mutes. Only a handful of states have recently 'eased' the laws, but not actually changed them.

    Every household in the US needs a clothes dryer, which is pretty strange, not to mention wasteful of resources.

    I don't want to know how you know that your 130kg neigbour only partially launders his boxers.

  3. We've had complaints about it from off-shore shipping. A passing US warship once threatened to shell the place unless the boxers were taken down.

  4. I suppose it's a good thing I couldn't find my underpants, I might have offended some Americans if I did.

  5. Anonymous5:22 PM

    These days I spend my time equally between the southern suburbs and the leafy north shore.

    Down south we hang our gear anywhere we want. On balconies, TV ariels, out windows and occasionally on the clothes line out the back, which is under a large tree that attracts the birds - that in turn shit on the washing.

    Live and let live, humans are not always neat and tidy creatures and in a personal sort of way I rather like our colurful untidiness.

    Up north nobody hangs anything anywhere; no rules are broken wise a nasty letter and reminders of the By Laws or whatever. Everyone uses a dryer and all is well in the best of possible worlds.

    Personally I don't really mind it this way for the environment looks ever so ordered and in its place.

    But all things considered I prefer being a Down South sort of guy and enjoy seeing the washing dancing in the breeze from wherever anyone wishes to hang it.

    Towels and panties, bra's n things and stuff I know not can be observer from my southern abode.

    All good fun really in a world where the untidiness of humanity spontaneously reveals itself as art and entertainment.


    Nickers blowing in the beeze....mmmmmmmmm :-)

  6. Timmy - did you check the television aerial? Perhaps you've come to enjoy going commando, either that, or you and your undies have been reunited.

    Geoff - well, yes, it would be a US warship complaining about the washing. Although it's not as if a New Zealand warship will be passing by any time soon, so we can't be entirely sure what the benchmark is for washing complaints from warships.

    Justin - alas, the untidiness of humanity spontaneously reveals itself in some pretty spectacularly revolting ways too. Perhaps clean (or semi-clean) washing flapping in the breeze is one of the more artist and entertaining.