If you're a fan of the cancelled Fox TV show Arrested Development, you'll get the subtitle of my new blog. If you're not, rent or purchase the three-season series. Even if you don't care about my subtitle, I recommend the show. Between it and Family Guy, Fox owns the franchise on smart comedy these days.
We're here about the neighbors, though. As someone who's had both the greatest and the worst, I know how important the neighbor relationship is. So do you. I'm a former news reporter, so after having a pair of total losers living beside me during the 1990s and finding the situation uniquely irresolvable by traditional means (police, other authorities, my own diplomacy, etc.) I began researching and investigating the phenomenon of modern-day neighbor disputes. I found they are growing in numbers, and worsening in their effects. And the people themselves are worsening, forming into what I call the Nouveaux Trashe (NT).
Now, the NT aren't white trash, black trash or any other color trash. They're not necessarily poor or young, nor do they hail from any particular social background. A trash mentality has swept over our culture in the last couple decades, and the Nouveaux Trashe -- who were born and raised to know better -- have opted to run into its embrace. It's fun, it's sexy. It's the basis for what I call Noise Culture, and the en-masse movement away from neighborly behavior we're seeing on television and in person.
Perhaps the worst part of all this is that problems of noise, kids, boundaries, pets, trash, smells, privacy invasion, threats, intimidation and dozens more headings below the "Neighbors From Hell" banner are notably becoming more and more accepted by everyday people, police, legislators, judges, the news media, and many good neighbors. This acceptance of crap in the culture further boosts the worst un-neighborly types, pushing the rest of us into what I call the Good Neighbor Underclass.
We get no results, no satisfaction, no respect. We're demonized in ads catering to the masses who've embraced the un-neighborly ways, we're viewed as uptight and intolerant by many authorities, and we're continually pushed into this group that's okay to mistreat. I wouldn't say it's like belonging to a minority group before it was a protected class, but it's certainly like being a non-smoker before smoking indoors and out was allowed and widespread.
When I began writing I set up NeighborsFromHell.com, intended as a marketing device once the book was published. The site became a global support center for thousands of people, and I found myself gradually becoming an online counselor to people who, like me, were unexpectedly finding themselves up against it with terrible neighbors.
Now, with the book coming out this summer (if all goes well), I thought I'd start a blog. My site has its own message board with nearly 30,000 posts and hundreds of registered users, so this spot on Blogger will be my own ongoing venting and discussion forum.
I welcome one and all.