April 21, 2017

"How many folks, I wonder, who have engaged in the Tiny House Movement have ever actually lived in a tiny, mobile place?"

"Because what those who can afford homes call 'living light,' poor folks call 'gratitude for what we’ve got.'"
And it’s not just the Tiny House Movement that incites my discontent. From dumpster diving to trailer-themed bars to haute cuisine in the form of poor-household staples, it’s become trendy for those with money to appropriate the poverty lifestyle — and it troubles me for one simple reason. Choice.
Is this discontent necessary? When there's something you have no choice about, and somebody else who has a choice chooses that, why would you feel worse about it? I can see being envious that somebody else had a choice, but if they chose the thing you're stuck with, wouldn't that give you a fresh, positive perspective on how good that thing is? And if it doesn't, aren't you the one who needs a better attitude?

Let's try to think of examples other than living in a small house (something some people are compelled to do because they can't afford larger). These are not all exact analogies, but I want to explore the general area that the author of the linked essay (July Westhale) calls "poverty appropriation." I think she's describing something that's a subcategory of what I'm going to call envy shortcircuiting.

1. X is disabled and cannot walk and sees her neighbor Y choosing to sit at every possible opportunity.

2. X is diabetic and her doctor has forbidden her to eat anything with added sugar. She's having dinner with Y who doesn't order dessert because she just doesn't like sweets.

3. X lives in a sleepy midwestern town. Y — who had several job offers in different places — chose to move to this town.

4. X is a member of a religious group that requires him to wear black clothing. He knows this other guy who has no obligation to wear black but adopted an all-black wardrobe to make shopping and getting dressed in the morning more efficient.

5. X was a poor student in high school and couldn't get into college, so he found a job working in construction. One of his co-workers is Y, a guy he went to high school with who had excellent grades and went to a good college and graduated. X asked Y, "What are you doing working here?" And Y said: "I like to work outdoors. I like to make things."


Gahrie said...

Anyone using the word appropriation in this way should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.

Fernandinande said...

I pick Y.

traditionalguy said...

The Great Battle of The Virtue Signalers. May the one who has the most virtue force multipliers humbly win it all.

tim in vermont said...

It used to be "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" but now it's "appropriation." I wonder if they managed to work Marie Antoinette and her little dairy maid house into the story? That would stoke the resentment. This is about a poverty of ideas.

Nonapod said...

It's not about people having a choice, it's about the attitude of the people with the choice. If you're a billionaire who chooses to live in a refrigerator box, that's your business. But don't behave like that choice in and of itself makes you superior or special to others who don't make that choice.

Rob said...

Ann, This is why:


Horace and Pete's douche tax scene.

tim in vermont said...

I worked pushing a mop when I first graduated college to get actual money, since neither I or my family had any. My co-workers called me "college boy" and said "college boy do this","college boy clean that." I thought it was pretty funny. I guess I was appropriating a job I shouldn't have been doing. Whodathunkit?

Mary Beth said...

Does the cost of small houses go up when people who can afford larger ones buy them? Do people who rely on what they find on dumpsters have problems finding what they need when people who go dumpster diving for fun get there first?

Those choosing to do something that those with fewer choices need becomes a problem when the supply is limited.

Ann Althouse said...

X does have a choice: in how to think about his/her situation and how to think about Y.

Makes me want to quote Hamlet: "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (The topic was whether Denmark is a prison.)

Unknown said...

Lobster used to be food for poor people. Too bad that was appropriated - lobster is delicious and I would like to eat more of it.

Anthony said...

William Shatner, Common People.


Ann Althouse said...

Hamlet was quibbling with Rosencrantz, not stating something he actually believed.

It is bad to be physically disabled or have diabetes or to have a relatively low IQ, but having a bad attitude about it makes it worse.

Anonymous said...

Meh, if people want a little house, just go get one if you can afford it and don't feel guilty that you aren't poor enough to be scrunched up in tiny spaces by necessity. No need to try to rationalize your choice or make excuses for your choice.

traditionalguy said...

I understand the Professor is enamored over small house designs. She probably once survived a time of living frugally in NYC.

But the popularity of the lifestyle seems more to me to be like having an eating disorder in which one wills not to eat as an act showing an independent will power.

Our Food , shelter and clothing are relatively abundant since the Industrial Revolution, except in time of war. But like Survivor Island, the challenge of livingis the game.

rhhardin said...

One in ten American children go to bed with an empty bladder.

Ann Althouse said...

@ mary beth and tim in vermont

Market forces add a dimension that the front-page post doesn't address. (Not sure if the essay does or not.)

There is a problem when affluent people cause the prices to go up and create scarcity. I didn't mean to criticize X in that situation.

rhhardin said...

Prices going up prevents scarcity. Prices not going up causes scarcity.

The poor just have a better use for their money that spending it in competition with the rich.

Henry said...

Isn't this a reverse of the Murphy Brown controversy?

Remember that one? Dan Quayle criticized the white wealthy fictional news anchor for having a child out of wedlock (funny old word, that). Bad example.

Quayle should have criticized Murphy Brown for poverty appropriation.

Ann Althouse said...

"I understand the Professor is enamored over small house designs."

I'm interested in the phenomenon, but not uncritical of it. I think some of these places are too small and are presented in media without enough understanding of what life would be like. And I care about the potential to run down a neighborhood with extra buildings tucked in everywhere.

But it's a good counterbalance to the trend for bigger and bigger houses. I remember when 2,000 square feet was considered a big house, and then it became standard, with many houses twice that size (including our house!, which is too big for us).

rhhardin said...

The thing to do is drive up the price of virtue signalling, so that only the rich can afford it.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The word for this is "slumming".

madAsHell said...

I think it's easier to build a fort in Mom's living room.

rhhardin said...

The boxes that large things come in make the best toys.

mockturtle said...

Anyone using the word appropriation in this way should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.

Amen, Gahrie! And I would happily participate.

Scott M said...

In years past, I used to be shouted down with great gusto when I dared make the observation that all of the identity politics and intersectionality (but I repeat myself) appeared to be nothing more than a race to be recognized as the biggest victim.

No more. Even the most strident leftist among my friends will admit that's the way it appears to be turning out.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It's the "authenticity" argument. How long has that been going on? Forever, I guess.

I really looked hard at a tiny house. There was a tiny house convention here a few weekends ago! I found two builders I liked, and about 4 models I really liked, spec-ed out the builds, ran a bunch of numbers, the whole deal.

Won't work for me, though. Government! It's basically not legal for me to put a tiny house anywhere other than an RV park (possibly a trailer park) anywhere in my state, nor in the other areas I was looking at. There are all sorts of legislative proposals, interest groups, etc working on it, but so far: nope.

Talking with some of the builders I found the trick is apparently getting a very large plot of land in a remote area, going fully off-grid, and just not telling the local authorities you're living there. If no one complains/turns you in to code enforcement, you're fine. Seems like a hell of a risk, though, and I like the idea of being able to tie in to the electrical grid.

There are a lot of places in northern Florida that permit tiny houses and there are some in Tennessee, but none in NC nor in North GA. Laws!

TestTube said...

Tiny houses are too tiny for most families -- heck, most individuals -- to live comfortably.

McMansions are too large for most families.

The optimum size seems to be:

--One bedroom about 10x15 feet for each teen or older, or for one to three children.
--One dedicated workspace/study, slightly smaller than a bedroom, for each adult -- dependent on the type of work to be done. Additional workspaces for specialized activities (greenhouse, workshop, garage)
--One full bath for each two to three people.
--Kitchen of at least 10x15 feet.
--Common spaces totaling 500-1500 feet for each family group.
--Yard area of about 1/4 to 2 acres for each family group.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's not about people having a choice, it's about the attitude of the people with the choice.

Agreeing with Nanopod. If you choose to live in a tiny space, do so but don't try to make it some sort of badge of honor or go on and on about your marvelous achievement. Those people who don't have a choice don't appreciate your special snowflakey attitude about something that they would rather not "have" to do.

Small house living, which just seems to me to be glorified travel trailers, is fine. Just shut up about it.

Kevin said...

X is publicly pressured to spend her life chasing the presidency. Y has a successful business in many different industries but decides on a lark to run for president and wins.

Unknown said...

Tiny houses are worthless. Why?

They cost the same as a much bigger house! Some 100 foot square trailer on wheels is like 60 grand! For 60 grand I can buy a log cabin kit and get myself a nice 1800 square foot place.

I know, I've tried it.

Tiny houses should be the "cheap, live in a shoebox while you save up for something better" thing. But they aren't cheap, plus they are illegal almost everywhere.

Buy an RV: more space, more portable, better quality, and cheaper.


buwaya said...

I want a large enough property that testing nuclear weapons on it is a reasonable idea.
That should just about suffice for all our hobbies and collections.

Richard Dolan said...

What an odd little post from Althouse. In reading the complaint about the Tiny House shtick, I began thinking about Marie Antoinette in her Hameau de la Reine, where she dressed as a shephardess and played at being a peasant. That wasn't entirely an exercise in nostalgie de la boue, but there was certainly some of that to it. Not that Marie had any personal experience of la boue -- the real, icky stuff -- to feel nostalgic about.

It seems the locals who were stuck in la boue, and had no choice about leaving it behind for a respite in royal splendor when la boue became tiresome, didn't take kindly to her airs or forms of amusement. That kind of resentment can be powerful stuff, as Marie and her family discovered to their detriment.

That reverse envy is in play here, too. Probably won't end as badly, though.

buwaya said...

A property large enough that we could use strings of MOABs as Fourth of July firecrackers.

Kate said...

My latest obsession is the tiny house craze. They're so creative and cute! I want to retire into one when I'm an empty nester.

I'm not going to list my former residences. Suffice to say, Westhale is an insufferable snob whose assumptions are wrong. Even if she were completely correct, she's still a Gladys Kravitz.

tim in vermont said...

You know what house I have always secretly coveted? That one that Little Joe was building in Unforgiven. Except with a roof that didn't leak, of course. Maybe because it was almost exactly like Grandma's house, and she managed to keep that house going alone, long after Grandpa passed. I have always coveted Grandma's garden too. Maybe now I have the kind of time she did to make it work!

Henry said...

Unknown wrote: Tiny houses are worthless. Why? They cost the same as a much bigger house!

Kit houses have the same problem. I once looked at a disaster of a house on a waterfront lot. I priced out the idea of knocking down the house and replacing it with a kit house. There are many cool concepts out there. But none of them really offered any savings over just building a new balloon-frame house.

Earnest Prole said...

Thankfully Cosmo has a couple of snappy articles illustrating the Althouse approach to envy shortcircuiting:

1. “Why Cosmo loves the 'Cuban diet’”

“Between 1990 and 1995, thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuban people were forced to alter their entire lifestyles. They couldn't afford petrol, so the government provided them with bicycles. People started walking everywhere. Food was also in shorter supply – there were no supermarket aisles stuffed with junk food or wallets stuffed with money with which to buy it.

“In short, Cubans could no longer afford to be fat. In that five-year period, they lost an average of around five kilos per person, which is over 11lbs. As a result of people getting slimmer, they also started living longer, with fewer Cubans dying of diabetes and heart disease.”

2. “How This Woman Lost 44 Pounds Without Any Exercise”

n.n said...

More class conflicts. As if [class] diversity was not their signature achievement.

Scott M said...

new balloon-frame house

Interesting tidbit. I had not idea that's what it's called :)

buwaya puti said...

I identify as the owner of the Hearst Castle (stunning place, go visit) with sufficient staff to run it properly of course. But I require public assistance to resolve my identity problem.

Owen said...

Buwaya: love your plan.

On the issue of "appropriation" that term is such PC BS. Appropriation assumes property rights being violated. Excuse me, nobody owns these cultural objects, whether it is a preference for Macaroni N Cheese (eaten ironically by Brooklyn hipsters) or small houses or whatever else. The term appropriation is engineered to imply theft and dominance, a colonial mindset. It is accusatory and bullying, designed to shame and isolate. The ghost of Saul Alinsky must be wishing he had thought of it.

The way to break up that scam is, as Prof. A seems to exploring, not to play. Shortcircuit the envy which the accuser wants to create. Do things because they meet your own needs and interests, and to hell with the meta.

Mark Jones said...

Buwaya: "I want a large enough property that testing nuclear weapons on it is a reasonable idea."

L. Neil Smith, libertarian writer, once said, "I want enough land that I can step out on my front porch, fire a rifle, and hit nothing but trespassers."

mockturtle said...

buwaya suggests: I identify as the owner of the Hearst Castle (stunning place, go visit)

I thought it a tasteless monstrosity but à chacun son goût.

RLB_IV said...

All I can say about tiny houses is that they appear to be easy to clean so you don’t need a household staff for maintenance. As for an 10,000 sq foot house you have to be an employer. People dream of winning a mansion yet have no idea what it takes to keep one up.

Larry J said...

My wife is retired and I'm a few years from retiring. We're debt-free but as we get older, cleaning and maintaining our current 2000+ square foot home becomes more of a burden. We've discussed downsizing to something much smaller, perhaps a ~500 square foot house on a foundation. An efficiently laid out home of that size would be plenty adequate for the two of us.

When I got out of the Air Force in 1982 to attend college full time, I had absolutely no interest in living in a dorm. To save money, I bought a used camper for $2000 and parked it in a trailer park near school. The lot rental was cheap and my utilities consumption was minimal. The camper was rated as a 23 footer but I think that included the hitch and rear bumper. It was compact inside but had everything I needed. When I got engaged, I sold the camper and bought an old single-wide trailer. My wife and I lived there for 3 years. Being in tornado country, there's no way I'd go back to a trailer (God hates them!) but a well designed and constructed small house would be a good fit for our retirement years.

I can see the attraction that a lot of young people have for tiny houses. The idea of being locked into a 15-30 year mortgage in uncertain economic conditions is scary, especially considering how many of them came of age during the 2008 housing market crash. The ability to easily relocate to a new location is also very appealing. If you're uncertain about your job's future, being tied down to a fixed location by your house isn't a good thing. A good camper would be practical but most of these tiny houses appear to be better constructed and are more tailorable to your individual tastes.

Real American said...

it's time to retire the "appropriation" concept. It is 100% completely batshit fucking stupid and those who employ the term are simply using it as a cudgel against an invisible slight. Most of them probably don't even believe there is anything wrong, but simply want to make others feels bad. Or maybe they're insane. Probably both.

rhhardin said...

There's the low power movement (QRP) in hams, usually taken as 5 watts or less.

I have that myself, except it's now 15 watts using an external battery instead of the internal AA cells.

The entire station sits where a coffee cup used to be next to the mouse.

With more power there would be nothing amazing about reaching around the world.

No thrill to Guam, Australia or Rodrigues Island.

Michael K said...

Buy an RV: more space, more portable, better quality, and cheaper.

They do have a few drawbacks.

ANAHEIM — A man is in critical condition and a dog died during a motorhome fire in Anaheim on Thursday, April 20, authorities said.

The fire broke out at in the Winnebago motorhome about 12:10 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Lincoln Ave., authorities said. Two children and a woman managed to escape without injuries.

The man suffered third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body and was transferred to UCI Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries, according to Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt.

The motorhome was the family’s residence and the American Red Cross was providing them shelter.

I prefer my baked adobe brick house.

Our lot is not big enough for buwaya but, at one acre, enough to keep the neighbors at bay.

Todd said...

Kate said...

Gladys Kravitz.

4/21/17, 11:15 AM

That one made me snort... :)

MSG said...

The critic here seems to imagine poverty appropriation as a misdeed similar to trademark dilution (e.g., Rolls Royce grille on a VW; fake Gucci branding for toilet paper). These slumming richies are diluting the sympathy we should feel for real poor people, by supporting the attitude "See, poverty isn't so bad -- some people actually choose to live that way!"

Ann Althouse said...

"Prices going up prevents scarcity. Prices not going up causes scarcity."

But both can also happen, which is all I intended to say by my "and."

I understand you to be joking, though, so I get it.

Lem said...

"poverty appropriation" is not new.

People are just taking it down a notch.

Ann Althouse said...

"Interesting tidbit. I had not idea that's what it's called :)"

I looked up the term and it seems to refer to something that is considered a fire hazard and no longer standard.

TreeJoe said...

So wait...conspicuous consumption is bad, but living with way less than your means is also bad?

So only consumption tied directly to my means is socially acceptable?

The lack of self-reflection here is startling.

If you have an income of $32,800/year, you are a member of the 1% of the world. As such, this writer is a member of the 1% and cannot speak for the masses.

Henry said...

I had not idea that's what it's called :)

Technically, in balloon framing exterior walls are studded from foundation to roof with long multiple-story studs. Most houses today are platform framing, meaning each floor is studded separately. But Balloon framing is much more evocative as a word.

tim in vermont said...

“In short, Cubans could no longer afford to be fat. In that five-year period, they lost an average of around five kilos per person, which is over 11lbs. As a result of people getting slimmer, they also started living longer, with fewer Cubans dying of diabetes and heart disease.”

The Red Queen, Elena Ceaușescu called that "scientific feeding." There was no shortage of volunteers for her execution squad, in fact, they were so enthusiastic about it that they shot her and her husband early. Cosmo might want to take note.

Henry said...

Stick framing, I suppose, would be better.

Henry said...

But Balloon framing is significant in marking a transition from heavy-timber to light-timber construction methods.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

That would keep riff-raff of Silicon Valley from moving to the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Otherwise those folks would sell their 800 sq ft tear-down house on a 25 ft lot, come here, and buy two or three sets of a 2400 sq ft house on five to ten acres.

Lem said...

Besides isn't "poverty appropriation" just what the planet needs?

According to climate theologians, planet earth was happier when life was simple.

tim in vermont said...

I have actually known people who lived in trailers a few times over the course of my life. They would probably think that if a tiny house was cheap enough, that it was pretty smart. They think living in a trailer is smart, because being cheap, it allows them to spend their money and time on things they would rather do, like hunt and fish, to name a big one. Resenting somebody for it is probably the last thing on their minds.

Paddy O said...

I've been noticing, maybe it's new or maybe it's just me, how there's a major problem in ethical discussions that fundamentally comes down to a complete inability to understand that people have different perspectives. Which is weird, of course, because we're told we're in a postmodern era where everything is relative. But that's actually a complex perspective to pull off, and is actually a sign of intelligence.

A good deal of public discourse nowadays mimics an understanding of relative perspectives, but does so with a very modern sort of generalizing approach. It comes down to assuming everyone has the same perspectives and if someone makes different choices that they are doing so for the reasons why I would make that same choice. Why would someone vote for Trump? Well, if I was racist, I would vote for Trump, that must be the reason. Why would someone eat food from a different culture? Well, the only times I (the hypothetical me) is when I'm 'celebrating' other cultures. So, people who aren't celebrating cultures shouldn't eat their food.

Why would someone live in a tiny house? Well, I (the hypothetical me) would only live in a tiny house if I was really poor. Because, crazy otherwise, amiright?

Meanwhile, people make decisions based on all sorts of diverse reasons. The inability to even conceive of diversity of motives beyond one's own perspective has basically crashed civil discourse.

I've thought about this partially because of dealing with spiritual disciplines. Fasting, for instance. Starving isn't fasting. What's the difference? They both involve not eating. The person who is fasting does so out of a choice, in pursuit of discipline. A person who is starving lacks the choice and thus it is not a discipline but a major problem. That doesn't mean people shouldn't fast. Or eat less at the very least. The difference is the experience of the subject. Not an objective, generalized rule.

This has cultural implications too. For the Western ideal, having tan skin and a well-toned body is a sign of success. For other cultures, being overweight and pale skin is a sign of success. Are westerners appropriated peasant cultures? No, it's just a sign that an industrialized society people are often kept inside and relatively sedate in a factory or office, so having signs of exercise and sunshine points to sufficient leisure time. In an agricultural society, being able to eat a lot and stay out of the sun points to leisure time (thus success).

We're not nearly as postmodern as people claim, we're really still in a bastardized co-opted form of modernity.

tim in vermont said...

My beloved uncle lived in a trailer, not an RV. He had a pretty good life with the freedom from the economic grind it afforded him and my aunt.

Todd said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Prices going up prevents scarcity. Prices not going up causes scarcity."

But both can also happen, which is all I intended to say by my "and."

I understand you to be joking, though, so I get it.

4/21/17, 11:58 AM

What makes you think he was joking?

Econ 101. Keep prices of a desired commodity artificially low and more people will acquire more of the "wanted" item until there is no more (take two instead of one). Allow prices to fluctuate with demand and if they get "too high" additional product will find its way into the supply slowing additional price increases and expanding availability.

richlb said...

Another chance to reference the Adam Carolla book "Rich Man, Poor Man."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

All I can say about tiny houses is that they appear to be easy to clean so you don’t need a household staff for maintenance

Our current home, which we designed for ourselves is quite unique. It is only 1650 sq ft. but seems spacious. 12 ft ceiling in the open plan great room (kitchen, dining, living about 800 sq ft). Large master bedroom, office/guest room, two full baths and a laundry room. Skylights and many windows for solar contribution.

Previously we lived as a family of 3 in an 800 sq ft home....the size of our current living room. In the past I had lived for years in a 30 ft long trailer with my parents and brother. In 400 sq ft studio apartments in SF. So, I know small house/space living.

Small spaces require a lot of discipline to maintain. A space for everything and everything IN its space. Any items out of place or any clutter in a small home/trailer will stand out like a sore thumb. You need to be minimalist in your belongings, meticulous, neat and consistent about putting everything back where it belongs. I mean everything! Some people can't live like that and then you begin living inside a cluttered garbagey environment.

Tinderbox said...

I'm sure it's been commented already, but there's a difference between life choices and lifestyle choices.

robother said...

Banish BOBOs from Paradise (also Hell and Purgatory). They endlessly consume The Authentic and leave a trail of ironic droppings in their hipster rearview,

Owen said...

Todd: thanks for supplying the Econ 101 response on pricing. My simple version is "profit draws competition. Price attracts supply." This assumes a market that is actually kinda working as it should, which is an information engine that drives least-irrational resource allocation. Yay Hayek.

Maybe this is why I get impatient with critics going on about "appropriation." They are injecting noise into the signal.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

When there's something you have no choice about, and somebody else who has a choice chooses that, why would you feel worse about it?

Because one day the people who chose to live in a tiny house will be tired of being crammed into their tiny houses and will be able to move to a bigger house. Those who have no choice in the matter will still be stuck in their tiny houses and resent those who have a choice. It may not make sense to you that they would feel this way, but it is human nature and has been going on for a long time.

buwaya puti said...

"tasteless monstrosity"

I embrace my inner peasant, and I like my bling!

Hearst Castle is a bit of a rural cabin sort of a place, compared to say Versailles. However that is, or was, the seat of the Bourbon dynasty. As a loyal subject of the current senior member of the house of Bourbon, constructing a residence greater than Versailles seems like it would be an act of

tcrosse said...

The Tiny House fad serves mainly as a design exercise for architecture students. They are meant to be designed and shown off, rather than to be lived in.

buwaya puti said...

Yes, on the inability to understand perspectives.
We should organize perspective boot camps, where US college kids have to deal with Moro chieftains, Carlists, Yanomamo Indians, and Japanese Hikikomori.

buwaya puti said...

On the perspective boot camp;
To simplify all that, perhaps they should just be introduced to Laslo.

Bruce Hayden said...

Last night there was a humorous take on tiny houses, or, really, tiny appartments, in The Great Outdoors. Joel McHale used his size to play the scene pretty well (sometimes you forget that he really is pretty tall - 6'4") Coworker invited him to crash with him in his one closet apartment. Didn't work out well.

I actually respect people like Warren Buffet (and some others like him) who could afford to live I castles, but instead continue to live in their old middle class houses, despite their billions. It was rather humorous when my kid was in HS - being a prep school there were a lot of kids living in 5k-10k houses, some even bigger, but the kid with the richest parents lived, just like Buffet, in the upper middle class house they had lived in most of their life. But with these billionaires living in upper middle class houses, it isn't really virtue signaling, but modesty. And that is something that a lot of us appreciate.

As for us, we really do have too much house, at least here in AZ (MT is a little smaller (about 2k sq feet) but upgraded). Not quite as big as Ann's, but close. The problem is that we have way too much stuff, and just can't stand to get rid of it. We are essentially combining maybe 2 1/2 households of stuff. Gave away one living room set (hers), but I am resisting giving away my dining room set, without getting at least something in return. So, it is currently our breakfast room set, with the China hutch up against the back of the sectional in the family room. Which is why she refuses to finish hanging the large pictures in that room. 3 king sized bed sets - two estate sized (which means that the night stands don't fit in the guest bedroom). Office (mine), loft (ours), and sitting room (hers) off the master. Making things potentially worse is that my father recently died, and will ultimately be adding some stuff from there. Still, despite the travails, we love the house, and both of us like having that much space. Mostly, I think because we have spent too many years alone. Or more alone than with someone. Would like more land in MT but a tiny lot is fine for us in AZ - neither of us likes working in the yard, and anything up to maybe an acre means more of such. The weeds in AZ and the grass, needles, and pine cones in MT are bad enough, and both are tiny lots.

mockturtle said...

buwaya responds: I embrace my inner peasant, and I like my bling!

Hearst Castle is a bit of a rural cabin sort of a place, compared to say Versailles. However that is, or was, the seat of the Bourbon dynasty. As a loyal subject of the current senior member of the house of Bourbon, constructing a residence greater than Versailles seems like it would be an act of lese-majeste.


Michael K said...

Most houses today are platform framing, meaning each floor is studded separately. But Balloon framing is much more evocative as a word.

Balloon framing was a big step in construction.

I love the fact that there are still Sears precut kit houses in towns in the Midwest where they were put up about 1895.

Here's the short version of things you can look for to decide if your home is a Sears kit home.

Look for stamped lumber on the exposed beams/joists/rafters in the basement, crawl space or attic.
Inspect the back of millwork (moldings and trim) for shipping labels.
Check the home's floor plan, footprint (exterior dimensions) and room size, using a field guide to Sears Homes, such as "Finding The Houses That Sears Built" (2004, Gentle Beam Publications).
Visit the courthouse and inspect old building permits and grantor records.
Inspect plumbing fixtures for marks, such as "R" or "SR".
Look for markings on back of sheet rock.
Unique column arrangement on front porch and five-piece eave brackets.
Square block on moldings at staircase landings, where moldings meet at odd angles.
Verify your home's construction date. If your home was not built between 1908 - 1940, it can not be a Sears Home.

OK 1908.

Sears homes were shipped via boxcar and came with a 75-page instruction book. Each kit contained 10,000–30,000 pieces of house and the framing members were marked to facilitate construction. These many decades later, those same markings can help identify a home as a Sears kit home. The lumber was marked on the tall side of the lumber and can be found 2–10 inches from the end of the framing member. If you can't access attics or basements, you might be able to see marked lumber by opening up the bathtub's plumbing access door. However, not all Sears Homes had marked lumber!

rhhardin said...

Around the early 80s there was a coffee freeze in Brazil. The price of coffee soared. The coffee section at Kroger got lots smaller and the prices were much higher.

Yet you could buy all the coffee you wanted. There was no scarcity of coffee.

That's of course because the poor stopped buying coffee.

Suppose you plan a welfare program for the poor to buy coffee. If you hand them coffee, there's a scartiy right away. There's not enough coffee to go around.

But if you hand them $10 as they walk into the supermarket so they can buy coffee, they don't buy coffee. They have a better use for $10 than coffee at $10 a pound.

This is called not being to afford $10 a pound coffee. It's not that they don't have the money, but that they have a better use for the money they do have than the high priced thing the pass up.

Earnest Prole said...

If we’re talking "poverty appropriation" and “envy shortcircuiting,” Tom Wolfe wants in on the conversation:

X is the child of a poor black sharecropper eating mamma’s sweet potato pone, and Y is a reader of Vogue Magazine in a New York City penthouse eating soul food in solidarity . . .

from his 1970 essay “Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s”:

“The cult of Soul Food . . . is a form of Black self-awareness and, to a lesser degree, of white sympathy for the Black drive to self-reliance. It is as if those who ate the beans and greens of necessity in the cabin doorways were brought into communion with those who, not having to, eat those foods voluntarily as a sacrament.”

Todd said...

Let me see if I have this right; We are NOT supposed to care if a guy runs around claiming to be a women but has a penis. We are NOT supposed to care if a woman runs around claiming to be black but really is white. We are NOT supposed to care if people go around screaming at and hitting people, and burning stuff down because they don't think someone else should be able to exercise the right to free speech. We are not supposed to care if a group of people mutilate the genitalia of young girls, cause culture.

We ARE suppose to care of some rich guy lives in a "tiny house" or if some white guy wears dreadlocks or if a white girl takes "yoga" class or if I like Chinese and Mexican food.

It is enough to drive one insane...

Roy Jacobsen said...

My two takeaways from this:
1. SJWs can find something to bitch about in the most innocuous, inoffensive situation.
2. The appropriate response to SJWs is peals of derisive laughter.

Paddy O said...

The moon is the worst offender. It appropriates the light of the sun. Doesn't do a very good job of it either. You're just a lump of rock, moon, not a real star!

Lem said...

The problem with "the tiny house movement" is there isn't enough room for sit-ins.

wildswan said...

What if they started making kits to make a trailer look like a tiny home? Or they just started making RVs look like tiny homes? Snap-on wood slats like Lego making a wood walls, porch and peaked roof? Take them off when you travel and store inside. Would that end the tiny house movement? Would that be tiny house appropriation?

What I would like to do is get an old yacht and take it to a place I know in New Hampshire and surround it with a tree-house-type outside porch - and live in it. And next door could be an old railroad car also with an outside porch. The guest house. That you fix up with old railroad caboose parts. When I win the lottery you will hear of this.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Wildswan

There is a really neat railroad themed park where you can rent a box car or caboose that has been turned into a motel room. We've stayed there and it is very nice. Pool and a restaurant in one or actually several cars combined.

If you get a chance...you should go

Railroad Park Resort, Dunsmuir Get some ideas from them too!

Mike Sylwester said...

Resentments about "cultural appropriation" seem to develop in the universities, but not through any academic studies.

I doubt that such resentments are taught in courses of, for example, sociology, philosophy or religion.

I suppose that this "cultural appropriation" idea has developed among university diversity administrators who deal with "marginalized" students.

Suppose some ethnic-Hispanic student has been enrolled, essentially because of Affirmative Action, and now he is failing. The diversity administrator panders to this failure by helping him to articulate a sophisticated excuse. The Affirmative Action student cannot study well because he is "marginalized".

Maybe some fraternity had a party where somebody wore a sombrero, and that bothersome "cultural appropriation" distracted the failing Affirmative Action student from studying.

So, this is what happens when a university enrolls a lot of students who do not have the intelligence, education and culture to succeed in university studies. The university has to hire a lot of diversity administrators to pander to those students and to articulate sophisticated excuses -- such as "cultural appropriation" -- for the maladjusted students to parrot mindlessly.

traditionalguy said...

My wife asked me what cultural appropriation was. She claims to understand the word appropriation...she's not dumb you know.

It's hard to explain. Maybe it's third level of envy...or maybe just an anger that some one else wore your new dress to the prom.

The hangup is we were taught that is respect of another group. But insane anger is now triggered if a white man even says that he knew MLK. It is as if you touched their God and must be burned at the stake. So it could be a Muslim Tactic that seems worth making up...appropriating that is.

Michael K said...

So, this is what happens when a university enrolls a lot of students who do not have the intelligence,

Excatly. I was thinking this when the BLM idiots invaded the Baker Library at Dartmouth when real students were trying to study for finals.

I assumed none was worried about final exams because what do you put on a "Gender Studies" final exam?

Yancey Ward said...

I eagerly await those who criticize others for stealing and using the idea of cultural appropriation. Then we will finally know how utterly batshit crazy we have become.

mandrewa said...

As it happens I looked into this a little while back. Not because I wanted to build a tiny house myself but because I saw an appeal online from a young person in my area who was apparently looking for volunteers to help her build a tiny house. So I thought that might be fun, i.e. to get together with others to work on building such a thing and to use and further develop some of the tools and skills I've accumulated.

But then as I looked into this situation more I realized that what this person was really looking for was people to pay for her tiny house. The "volunteering" business was really an appeal for money and in fact she didn't even begin to have the money saved to buy the materials to build such a thing.

Well I didn't want to get involved with that but then I thought well maybe there's someone else in my area that's in the process of building a tiny house that's looking for help. So I looked and found there actually was a tiny house interest group online and I read their messages back and forth and realized that the young person I'd first encountered was not unusual. That in fact no one seemed to have the money to buy the materials nor did they have the land to build a tiny house on.

So counter the premise of the article referenced, many of the people interested in tiny houses actually are poor. Now it may be a different story if we look at people that actually build tiny houses.

It also may be that in most real world cases a small, as opposed to tiny, house could be built just as cheaply and would make more practical sense.

Webgrandma said...

Everyone who wants to live in a tiny house should try an RV for a while and see how they like it. I love to watch the "snowbirds" at the RV parks in the south, where the guys all go out fishing every day just to get out of the RV for the day. The ladies, I believe, have games and activities that keep them busy, but for the most part, things get pretty claustrophobic. Plus, don't get me started on the bathroom odors. Whoo. Nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide, when it's a tiny house.

gnome said...

American hero Thoreau pitied the itinerant Irish labourers passing his comfortable home moving on to look for work, "not because they have so little but because they have so much".
Sneering at the poor is an honoured American tradition.

urbane legend said...

Larry J said...
My wife is retired and I'm a few years from retiring. We're debt-free but as we get older, cleaning and maintaining our current 2000+ square foot home becomes more of a burden. We've discussed downsizing to something much smaller, perhaps a ~500 square foot house on a foundation. An efficiently laid out home of that size would be plenty adequate for the two of us.

Interesting. I am retired and the wife will retire in two years. After 30 years in an 1100 sq. ft. double wide we bought a house this year. We wanted 1500 sq. ft. with a split floor plan and open living/dining room. It took seven months to find the right floor plan in a 2000 sq. ft. house. Since we moved in, the wife says she has taken an occasional look at the real estate pages and there is still nothing smaller designed like we wanted for sale in our area. We would never voluntarily live in a smaller place again. Make of our privilege what you will.

Todd Galle said...

Between my wife and I, one of these small houses wouldn't hold our combined libraries - very little overlap between our book collections. We manage in a 1500 ft. mid century ranch in central PA quite well. I do need to sell some stuff though to free us storage space. Hey, life is a trade off.

Marc Puckett said...

Buwaya, Who is the 'senior member' of the House of Bourbon, in your estimation?

buwaya said...

There are potentially only two as I see it.
The King of Spain, by virtue of his position.
The former King of Spain, by virtue of seniority.

The French line has been out of power so long that it is completely irrelevant to the nature of its polity. One would have to assume a completely farcical scenario - for that, have a look at "The Short Reign of Pippin IV", John Steinbeck
And there is no consensus on which of the Franco-Spanish pretenders to either the French claim, or the Carlist one either, are senior, due to numerous complications. Carlism is finally and utterly dead, sadly.

A King is a King, after all.

Marc Puckett said...

The relevance of the French Bourbons is not so easily discounted, in my opinion, and after a drink or two I'll argue the cause of the Duc de Anjou as king and chief of the more ancient House, in France-- but certainly I don't have any desire to contest Don Felipe's legitimate right to the Crown of Spain, either. This is called 'having my cake and eating it too'.

What differences between Versailles and El Escorial!

buwaya said...

El Escorial was built by a Habsburg. Thats a truly unique object.
The iconic Spanish Bourbon palace, probably, is Aranjuez.
It was a rather cozy, laid back sort of despotism that built it I think.
The royal palace of Madrid is a really imposing pile, and full, chock full of good stuff. Dont miss the armory.
The actual royal residence, the palace of Zarzuela, is a rather humble place. A (very) rich mans home.

There are quite a lot of Spanish royal palaces. And then we have the nobility. And the church. And around every corner, it seems, yet another castle. Spain is a truly wonderful country if you like wandering around staring at antique buildings. They never, ever end.

Robin Goodfellow said...

We have become a society of the perpetually aggrieved.

Marc Puckett said...

It is a life's work, studying and enjoying the wonderful artefacts of Spanish greatness, yes indeed. "A rather cozy, laid back sort of despotism". :-)

That-- Versailles v. El Escorial-- was meant to be a signal about my own notional allegiance to the House of Austria.