Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Bitterness

So I'm reading a Sunday NY Times article written by Rachel Leigh Brown on college students renting rooms in foreclosed Mcmansions in the Merced, California area.  It's okay as far as articles are concerned, though I'd be a bit more interested in knowing if this is any kind of national trend (I suspect not).  If it's not, I would call into question the article's front page prominence in the United States' paper of record. What I love about the article is this block quote below, from a frustrated homeowner:
“Everybody on this street is underwater and can’t see any relief,” said John Angus, an out-of-work English teacher who paid $532,000 for a house that is now worth $221,000. “This was supposed to be an edge-of-town, Desperate Housewifey community,” he said. “These students are the reverse.”
Mr. Angus pays $3,000 a month, while student neighbors pay one-tenth of that*. “I think they’re the luckiest students I’ve ever come across,” he said somewhat bitterly.
I absolutely adore this man's bitterness.  It's my favorite kind - irrational.  Let's keep in mind that abandoned homes drive down property values, attract squatters, and increase crime.  They are also aesthetically unsavory as abandoned homes are also unkempt homes (uncut lawns, homes in disrepair, etc.).  Renting to students ameliorates all of these problems and makes this underwater homeowner better off, but he just can't control his seething rage at these "lucky-duckies".  I love it.  I don't know what we need to do to convince people not to loathe their neighbors.  We're just not willing to do it if it somehow offends are delicate sensibilities about concepts of fairness.

But to tap into my own sense of bitterness, I'm all for the continued unhappiness of Mr. Angus, a man who wanted to live in a "Desperate Housewifey community."  This tool actually deserves the scorn of his neighbors for that comment alone.

* This appears to be a factual error (and a rather important one) made by the article's author.  There was not a single example within the article of a student home paying less than $800/month (most paid more). Individual students may be paying $300/month, but Mr. Angus is not sharing his home with five other residents. So the comparison is neither factual nor apt. Good job NY Times!

1 comment:

  1. But I assume the bitterness is accurate, unlike the facts of the article. And the real numbers just make the bitterness that much more annoying.