My House My Fetish
This is our house. And as houses go I hope it reveals something about me. For example:
- I'm middle class.
- Like most of the American middle class, I'm simultaneously materialistic and narcissistic.
- But unlike most Americans at least one of my fetishes is for saving beautiful and old things that arguably warrant preservation.
But my wife and I have never deluded ourselves that any old house we've borrowed substantially to own, in title (rather oxymoronic isn't it?), ultimately to restore, was an investment.
Because houses are not investments. They are, in varying degrees, material fetishes. At their best, houses are dwell-able, domestic works of art commensurate with household assets earned (or inherited) under a private capital system. Often larger than need be and, today, mostly showy and impractical in much the same way that America has become showy and impractical in my lifetime. Shining visage above. Substantial rot beneath.
And rotten and impractical are seldom more than predictors for abject failure.
Our house is comprised of massive granite stones, laid up by hand in 1890, at the height of the Victorian work ethic (and worker exploitation) as well as the peak of Montana's robber baron era of gold, silver and copper extraction. That it has largely survived the ensuing Panic of 1893, at least two major earthquakes, urban renewal, and a host of other, mostly human contrived, maladies is testament to America and humankind's capacity to share and to propagate fetishes across generations through culture.
But it is not an investment and it never will be!
Anyone that earlier profited selling this (or any) American house was lucky. But such luck was a byproduct, one of many such random American windfalls that are hopefully byproducts of moral, sustainable choice.
And OH MY, but how times have changed!
Today, American investment firms routinely hold 2.5% of their assets as capital reserves, if at all. Today, American wealth is a measure of social and academic status determining indirect corporate or direct political access to Washington's printing presses. Today, America is a collapsing house of cards, run into the ground by a politburo of secret haters and the Harvard MBA money changers they work for.
For thirty years, the sham metastasized behind a veil of Ronald Reagan, Hollywood illusions. Until today when, despite Obama, too much of America's leadership class is as hollow, mean, selfish and destructive as its front runners -- as people like Rush Limbaugh or Paris Hilton.
Thus, my bailout package for my country and its too weak Democracy is this: lay it up or tear it down; dig a hole and fill it up again -- in the end it matters not one twit. History values sustainability. And without us, the faith bearing, hard working, collective underclass, and without leaders, enforcing and ennobling the essential human values inherent in any long lived culture, then something from nothing (a k a Wall Street; a k a Washington; a k a paper money) ends in nothing all the same.