Since Gawker is reporting it, does this really mean that the McMansion is dead?
This heartless recession has stolen from America our most treasured national totems. Huge SUVs? Too gas-guzzling. Sprawling suburbs far removed from the “diverse” cities? Reduced to slums. And now, the recession is coming for our very homes.
By “our,” I mean “people with too much money and too little taste.” The WSJ says that the humble McMansion—the rightful reward of all hardworking Americans willing to take on a $450,000 mortgage and a 75-minute commute in order to have a huge, useless foyer lined with the thinnest sheet of marble veneer—is no longer the popular thing to build, for builders who want to build homes that will actually sell. Shrines to conspicuous consumption are out! By necessity.
Goodbye, grand foyers! Adios, spiral staircases! Hello, newly poor American rationalizing their now meager living spaces like a bunch of formerly wealthy people wiped out by financial calamity—which they are!
Totem could be taken as referring to a religious object of devotion, a la Durkheim. If so, do Americans worship SUVs, McMansions, and suburbs? That would be interesting to discuss.
Granted, Gawker is quoting an interesting Wall Street Journal story that suggests the wealthy/big homes of the future that will include “drop zones,” space for an elevator, a “lifestyle center” (not to be confused with gussied-up outdoor malls masquerading as community centers known by the same name), steam showers (goodbye soaker tubs!), and outdoor living space.
A reminder: this is the same website that has this description leading off its stories about Jersey Shore (this is from earlier this year).
When watching Jersey Shore, the most important sociological experiment of our time, we’re looking for new and exciting behavior.
Me thinks there may be some hyperbole and/or mocking there. At least that is what I hope.