Originally Posted by CDFS
This post amuses me for the second time after reading StephenHero's post.
It has nothing to do with jealousy. I'm not jealous because I don't own a McMansion. I'd much rather live in a 500sq. ft. stone barn than a 4000 sq. foot Lowe's advertisement. The thing that people don't acknowledge is that the size of their home and the formal elements it possesses have absolutely nothing to do with the ability of the home to meet it's intended purpose, which is to live in. Those two aspects are used irrationally to express a connotation of wealth or lifestyle which we associate with pre-20th century mansion styling. Does vinyl siding made with a fake wood texture improve your life? No. All it does it mimic the materials of colonial houses in order to give the impression that the owner has a slice of authentic America. Does an ornate plastic porch light that was copied from an old Boston street lantern design improve your life or provide an honest expression of its purpose? No, unless you actually use whale blubber to burn it. All it's doing is mimicking the lifestyle it cannot authentically recreate. There is such an absurdly contrived falseness in the motivation for McMansion ownership, that it's amazing that people don't even fathom how purposeless it is. Homes and architecture are not supposed to be limited to a utilitarian existence, so they can have ornamental elements, but if those elements aren't intended to actually provide a function of pleasure (as opposed to to a function of deception or representation), there is no purpose. Take a flower arrangement at a dinner table. If it's a real flower arrangement made of real flowers, that can provide a function of delight that we take from natural things and validate its ornamental existence. Obviously that would be expensive if it was done every day, so it therefore takes on some level of desirability within the the world of McMansions. But if it's made of fake flowers that you bought at Michaels, does it still provide delight? No. Of course not. It just sits there and tries to convince the people eating dinner that their servants may actually have picked them from the garden. But there's nothing delightful about plastic tulips that were shipped in a crate from a Chinese village. The plastic flowers don't fool people into believing someone's life is either in touch with nature's splendors or authentically exceptional. It's just tacky. The McMansion can't say it's an honest representation of its occupiers' existence because the entire purpose of a McMansion is to deceive them into believing their home represents a lifestyle that they don't actually have. Anything meant to mimic something else that predates it in purpose or style is only valuable if it's a completely authentic version. If you want a Georgian colonial, it should be made of 100% Georgian colonial materials, not artificial materials that were invented in 1996.