When only bad people live in McMansions

I doubt I will see the movie Wanderlust but this quick description of the film caught my eye:

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star in “Wanderlust,” the raucous new comedy from director David Wain and producer Judd Apatow about a harried couple who leave the pressures of the big city and join a freewheeling community where the only rule is to be yourself. When overextended, overstressed Manhattanites, George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston), pack up their lives and head south to move in with George’s McMansion-living jerk of a brother, Rick (Ken Marino), they stumble upon Elysium, an idyllic community populated by colorful characters including the commune’s alpha male, Seth (Justin Theroux), the sexually adventurous Eva (Malin Akerman), and the troupe’s drop-out founder, Carvin (Alan Alda).

This reinforces an idea I have seen hinted at in many other places: the people who live in McMansions are jerks or bad people. McMansion owners don’t care about the environment, love to consume, have little taste, and don’t want to interact with people unlike them. The converse would look like this: smart or nice or enlightened people would not live in the homes. This is a great example of drawing moral boundaries by attaching character traits to certain home choices. This could be tied to the idea that living in a large home is viewed as morally wrong by some.

I would love to get my hands on sociological data to examine this claim. Of course, this would require first determining whether someone lives in a McMansion and this itself would require work. But then you could examine some different factors: do McMansion owners interact with their neighbors more? Are they involved with more civic organizations? Do they give more money to charity? Do they help people in need more often? Do they have a stronger prosocial orientation? If there were not significant differences, how might people respond…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s