They don't, for instance, account for the keen interest Jay Gatsby takes in Nick Carraway's lawn, or the scandal my father's lawn sparked in Farmingdale. Or the fact that, in America, we have taken down our fences and hedges in order to combine our lawns. And they don't even begin to account for the unmistakable odor of virtue that hovers in this country over a scrupulously maintained lawn.
In , he received a commission to design Riverside, outside of Chicago, one of the first planned suburban communities in America. Olmsted's design stipulated that each house be set back 30 feet from the road and it proscribed walls. He was reacting against the ''high dead-walls'' of England which he felt made a row of homes there seem ''as of a series of private madhouses.
Olmsted was part of a generation of American landscape designer-reformers who set out at midcentury to beautify the American landscape. That it needed beautification may seem surprising to us today, assuming as we do that the history of the landscape is a story of decline, but few at the time thought otherwise. William Cobbett, visiting from England, was struck at the ''out-of-door slovenliness'' of American homesteads. Each farmer, he wrote, was content with his ''shell of boards, while all around him is as barren as the sea beach.
The land looked as if it had been shaped and cleared in a great hurry -as indeed it had: the landscape largely denuded of trees, makeshift fences outlining badly plowed fields, tree stumps everywhere one looked. As Cobbett and many other 19th-century visitors noted, hardly anyone practiced ornamental gardening; the typical yard was ''landscaped'' in the style Southerners would come to call ''white trash'' - a few chickens, some busted farm equipment, mud and weeds, an unkempt patch of vegetables.
This might do for farmers, but for the growing number of middle-class city people moving to the ''borderland'' in the years following the Civil War, something more respectable was called for. In , Frank J. Scott, seeking to make Olmsted's ideas accessible to the middle class, published the first volume ever devoted to ''suburban home embellishment'': ''The Art of Beautifying Suburban Home Grounds,'' a book that probably did more than any other to determine the look of the suburban landscape in America.
Like so many reformers of his time, Scott was nothing if not sure of himself: ''A smooth, closely shaven surface of grass is by far the most essential element of beauty on the grounds of a suburban house. Americans like Olmsted and Scott did not invent the lawn; lawns had been popular in England since Tudor times. But in England, lawns were usually found only on estates; the Americans democratized them, cutting the vast manorial greenswards into quarter-acre slices everyone could afford.
Also, the English never considered the lawn an end in itself: it served as a setting for lawn games and as a backdrop for flowerbeds and trees. Scott subordinated all other elements of the landscape to the lawn; flowers were permissible, but only on the periphery of the grass: ''Let your lawn be your home's velvet robe, and your flowers its not too promiscuous decoration.
But Scott's most radical departure from Old World practice was to dwell on the individual's responsibility to his neighbors. With our open-faced front lawns we declare our like-mindedness to our neighbors - and our distance from the English, who surround their yards with ''inhospitable brick wall, topped with broken bottles,'' to thwart the envious gaze of the lower orders.
The American lawn is an egalitarian conceit, implying that there is no reason to hide behind fence or hedge since we all occupy the same middle class. We are all property owners here, the lawn announces, and that suggests its other purpose: to provide a suitably grand stage for the proud display of one's own house. Noting that our yards were organized ''to capture the admiration of the street,'' one garden writer in attributed the popularity of open lawns to our ''infantile instinct to cry 'hello!
Of course the democratic front yard has its darker, more coercive side, as my family learned in Farmingdale. In specifying the ''plain style'' of an unembellished lawn for American front yards, the midcentury designer-reformers were, like Puritan ministers, laying down rigid conventions governing our relationship to the land, our observance of which would henceforth be taken as an index of our character.
And just as the Puritans would not tolerate any individual who sought to establish his or her own back-channel relationship with the divinity, the members of the suburban utopia do not tolerate the homeowner who establishes a relationship with the land that is not mediated by the group's conventions. The parallel is not as farfetched as it might sound, when you recall that nature in America has often been regarded as divine.
Think of nature as Spirit, the collective suburban lawn as the Church, and lawn mowing as a kind of sacrament. You begin to see why ornamental gardening would take so long to catch on in America, and why my father might seem an antinomian in the eyes of his neighbors.
Like Hester Prynne, he claimed not to need their consecration for his actions; perhaps his initials in the front lawn were a kind of Emerald Letter. Possibly because it is this common land, rather than race or tribe, that makes us all Americans, we have developed a deep distrust of individualistic approaches to the landscape. The land is too important to our identity as Americans to simply allow everyone to have his own way with it. And once we decide that the land should serve as a vehicle of consensus, rather than an arena of self-expression, the American lawn - collective, national, ritualized, and plain - begins to look inevitable.
I had taken up flower and vegetable gardening, and soon came to resent the four hours that my lawn demanded of me each week. I tired of the endless circuit, pushing the howling mower back and forth across the vast page of my yard, recopying the same green sentences over and over: ''I am a conscientious homeowner. I share your middle-class values. I began to entertain idle fantasies of rebellion: Why couldn't I plant a hedge along the road, remove my property from the national stream of greensward and do something else with it?
The third spring I planted fruit trees in the front lawn, apple, peach, cherry and plum, hoping these would relieve the monotony and begin to make the lawn productive. Behind the house, I put in a perennial border. I built three raised beds out of old chestnut barnboards and planted two dozen different vegetable varieties. Hard work though it was, removing the grass from the site of my new beds proved a keen pleasure.
First I outlined the beds with string. Then I made an incision in the lawn with the sharp edge of a spade. Starting at one end, I pried the sod from the soil and slowly rolled it up like a carpet. The grass made a tearing sound as I broke its grip on the earth. I felt a little like a pioneer subduing the forest with his ax; I daydreamed of scalping the entire yard. But I didn't do it - I continued to observe front-yard conventions, mowing assiduously and locating all my new garden beds in the backyard.
The more serious about gardening I became, the more dubious lawns seemed. The problem for me was not, as it was for my father, the relation to my neighbors that a lawn implied; it was the lawn's relationship to nature. For however democratic a lawn may be with respect to one's neighbors, with respect to nature it is authoritarian.
Under the mower's brutal indiscriminate rotor, the landscape is subdued, homogenized, dominated utterly. I became convinced that lawn care had about as much to do with gardening as floor waxing, or road paving. Gardening was a subtle process of give and take with the landscape, a search for some middle ground between culture and nature. A lawn was nature under culture's boot.
Mowing the lawn, I felt like I was battling the earth rather than working it; each week it sent forth a green army and each week I beat it back with my infernal machine. Unlike every other plant in my garden, the grasses were anonymous, massified, deprived of any change or development whatsoever, not to mention any semblance of self-determination. I ruled a totalitarian landscape. Hot monotonous hours behind the mower gave rise to existential speculations. I spent part of one afternoon trying to decide who, in the absurdist drama of lawn mowing, was Sisyphus.
A case could certainly be made. Or was it the grass, pushing up through the soil every week, one layer of cells at a time, only to be cut down and then, perversely, encouraged with fertilizer, lime, etc. Another day it occurred to me that time as we know it doesn't exist in the lawn, since grass never dies or is allowed to flower and set seed.
Lawns are nature purged of sex and death. No wonder Americans like them so much. And just where was my lawn, anyway? The answer's not as obvious as it seems. Gardening, I had come to appreciate, is a painstaking exploration of place; everything that happens in my garden - the thriving and dying of particular plants, the maraudings of various insects and other pests - teaches me to know this patch of land intimately, its geology and microclimate, the particular ecology of its local weeds and animals and insects.
My garden prospers to the extent I grasp these particularities and adapt to them. Lawns work on the opposite principle. They depend for their success on the overcoming of local conditions. Like Jefferson superimposing one great grid over the infinitely various topography of the Northwest Territory, we superimpose our lawns on the land.
And since the geography and climate of much of this country is poorly suited to turfgrasses none of which are native , this can't be accomplished without the tools of 20th-century industrial civilization - its chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and machinery. For we won't settle for the lawn that will grow here; we want the one that grows there, that dense springy supergreen and weed-free carpet, that Platonic ideal of a lawn we glimpse in the ChemLawn commercials, the magazine spreads, the kitschy sitcom yards, the sublime links and pristine diamonds.
Our lawns exist less here than there; they drink from the national stream of images, lift our gaze from the real places we live and fix it on unreal places elsewhere. Lawns are a form of television. Need I point out that such an approach to ''nature'' is not likely to be environmentally sound? Lately we have begun to recognize that we are poisoning ourselves with our lawns, which receive, on average, more pesticide and herbicide per acre than just about any crop grown in this country.
Suits fly against the national lawn-care companies, and interest is kindled in ''organic'' methods of lawn care. But the problem is larger than this. Lawns, I am convinced, are a symptom of, and a metaphor for, our skewed relationship to the land.
They Continued on Page 44 teach us that, with the help of petrochemicals and technology, we can bend nature to our will. Lawns stoke our hubris with regard to the land. What is the alternative? To turn them into gardens. I'm not suggesting that there is no place for lawns in these gardens or that gardens by themselves will right our relationship to the land, but the habits of thought they foster can take us some way in that direction.
Gardening, as compared to lawn care, tutors us in nature's ways, fostering an ethic of give and take with respect to the land. Gardens instruct us in the particularities of place. Fountain , F. Lauria, Cal. Where a person provides assistance that he or she knows will contribute directly and in an essential manner to a serious criminal act, a court readily may infer a desire to facilitate that act. It stands to reason that what the OLC Opinion specifically said about the purpose element should be given great weight when applying its framework to the war crimes context.
Mitigation measures What mitigation measures might an assisting State adopt to stop short of aiding and abetting liability? The OLC Opinion is instructive. It described the measures that the US Government could pursue to be assured that its assistance would not aid and abet the criminal actions. It is important to consider whether mitigation measures in other contexts—such as arms sales and intelligence information sharing—should include provision of training and other assistance to improve the targeting practices of the foreign recipient.
In a subsequent post, I will also outline the elements of a framework that governments—including the next US Administration—might adopt as best practices for dealing with the promise and problem of assisting foreign partners in the conduct of hostilities. Hamida Andisha. Johnson , Karen Taylor and Muddassar Ahmed. Robinson and Edgar Chen. Corn , Chris Jenks and Timothy C. Tendayi Achiume. McCabe , Mary B.
McCord and Julian Sanchez. Patrick Huston and Lt. Eric Bahm. Follow him on Twitter rgoodlaw. February 10, by Brian L. February 8, by Jameel Jaffer. February 8, by David Kaye. February 8, by Beth Van Schaack. February 8, by Robert Howse. February 3, by Brad Adams. February 1, by Tess Graham. February 1, by Beth Van Schaack. February 1, by Claus Kress. January 29, by David Harary. January 28, by Stuart Ford. January 27, by Scott Roehm and Hina Shamsi.
Under customary international law, aiding and abetting war crimes includes three elements: 1 A Principal person or entity committed a war crime; 2 Another actor committed an act that had a substantial effect upon the commission of the underlying offence; and 3 Required mental state: The other actor knew that that such an act would assist, or had the substantial likelihood of assisting, the commission of the underlying offense.
Donahoe Says by Beth Van Schaack. How to Fix the U. Military Personnel and the Putsch at the U. Capitol by Eugene R.
|Betting line on super bowl 45||For abetting definition lawn who believe the OLC seldom opposes administration action, this opinion stands as a strong counterexample. The answer's not as obvious as it seems. We got the message by other media, too. Gang members convicted of killing year-old Keelan Wilson 18 January Newsletter Signup.|
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