Ian Frazier, in the New Yorker, satirizes conspicuous real estate consumption.
Typically, this New Yorker essay ridiculing the super-rich manages to combine with its satire a very characteristic note of complacent self-identification with the supposed target.
I feel sorry for people who still think of their places in terms of square feet. My partner, Scott, and I recently purchased Wyoming, which we are in the process of having renovated, and, yes, I do know the square footage (something like two trillion seven hundred and thirty billion square feet, give or take). But thatâ€™s just not a very practical type of measurement when weâ€™re dealing with all the plumbers and contractors and security staff and reporters and other non-wealthy service personnel we have to give instructions to. …
Basically, we are looking at this purchase as a tear-down. Thereâ€™s really not a lot here youâ€™d want to keep, except one or two of the Wind River Mountains and some old nineteen-twenties Park Service structures in Yellowstone. Scott and I bought for the locationâ€”itâ€™s convenient to anywhere, really, if you think about itâ€”and for the simplicity of line. We wanted someplace rectangular, a much easier configuration from a design point of view, and we wonâ€™t have to fuss with panhandles and changeable riverine property lines where weâ€™re going to get into disputes with the landowner next door. Spare us the headaches, please! Weâ€™ve had plenty already, with the former occupants (thank heavens theyâ€™re gone) and all the junk they left behindâ€”the old broken-down pickup trucks, houses, eyesore water towers, uranium mines, the University of Wyoming, Yellowtail Dam, Casper. Iâ€™m a thrower-outer. I believe we must first clear everything away, then see what weâ€™ve got. Scott is more sentimental. He thinks we should leave the North Platte River, for example, and work around it. I havenâ€™t said yes or no. Iâ€™m secretly hoping he changes his mind.
Read the whole thing.