by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.

community n. 
  1. (a) A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government. (b)The district or location in which they live. 
  2. A social group or class having common interests. 
  3. Society as a whole; the public.
Perhaps you will agree that collective nouns such as...
...a barren of mules, a bale of turtles, a bank of swans, a bevy of quail, a business of ferrets, a cete of badgers, a charm of hummingbirds, a chattering of starlings, a clamor of rooks, a coil of teal, a company of widgeons, a convocation of eagles, a covert of coots, a cowardice of curs, a crash of rhinoceri, a down of hares, an exaltation of larks, a fall of woodcocks, a gaggle of geese, a gam of whales, a hover of trout, a hurtle of sheep, a husk of jackrabbits, a knot of toads, a labor of moles, a leap of leopards, a mob of kangaroos, a murder of crows, a murmuration of doves, a mustering of storks, a mutation of thrushes, a nest of cottontails, a nye of pheasants, a pace of asses, a paddling of ducks, a parliament of owls, a pitying of turtles, a plump of ducks, a pod of seals, a pride of lions, a quantity of smelt, a rafter of turkeys, a rag of camels, a school of fish, a sedge of herons, a shoal of bass, a shrewdness of apes, a siege of bitterns, a skein of geese, a sloth of bears, a smack of jellyfish, a sord of mallards, a style of pigs, a tittering of magpies, a tribe of goats, an unkindness of ravens, and a wing of plovers...
...might be referred to as a noun of collectives.

Over the past few decades, I have observed...

  • an expression of congenialities ("a community of persons," "a community of interests") smithereened by...
  • a divisiveness of ethnicities ("the black community," "the hispanic community,"),
  • a tautology of institutions ("the law enforcement community," "the intelligence community"), and...
  • a lampoon of professionals ("the legal community," "the banking community").
Through a numbness of repetitions, the word "community" has become an extravagance of interests, a jumble of persons, and therefore a pretension of communities.

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