Pluralistic: 22 Nov 2020

Today's links

An Especially Cursed House (permalink)

The meat-and-potatoes of Kate Wagner's McMansion Hell is making extraordinarily hilarious architectural criticism out of utterly mediocre "luxury" homes. Anyone can find hilarity in a tacky monstrosity, but finding the humor in unimaginative status-displays takes real insight and skill.

That said.

When Wagner takes on an extraordinarily awful McMansion, it quickly becomes apparent that her focus on workaday bougie ugliness is all about the challenge – she plays boss-level because she's just TOO GOOD at the easy stuff.

Which brings me to the latest installment of McMansion Hell: "An Especially Cursed House": a $2.2m, 5,420 sqft 4 bed/4.5 bath house in Colt’s Neck, NJ. The viral listing had attracted plenty of dunks, but Wagner's treatment? ::chef's kiss::

The difference between an "eccentric collector" and a "hoarder" is money. This was driven home when William Gibson hipped me to Soane's Museum, a series of knocked-through Victorian houses filled with John Soane's vast, indiscriminate collections.

The current owned of Especially Cursed House makes Soane look like a piker, though. This is Madonna Inn-grade intensity, proof that nothing exceeds like excess.

I confess I actually secretly quite like the spectacular claustrophobic-Disneyland collection displays. For me, the horror didn't really kick in until we got to the living space.

I mean.


And the real horror (as ever) lurks in the basement. Come for the "exercise room," stay for the art gallery.

This day in history (permalink)

#15yrsago Anti-game lawyer Jack Thompson loses right to practice law in Alabama

#15yrsago Giving EU air-passenger data to US DHS is illegal

#10yrsago German dog poo game for kids

#5yrsago Activist tricked into 6-year relationship with undercover cop tells her story

#1yrago The Labour manifesto: transformation of the welfare system, fair conditions for workers, universal housing, home care for elderly, fully funded NHS, fair taxes for the rich

#1yrago Lawyer’s long, weird sigfile setting out when and whether he’s willing to talk on the phone goes viral

#1yrago California’s housing bubble is spilling over into poor and exurban neighborhoods, creating waves of crises

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources:

Currently writing: My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation. Friday's progress: 515 words (86836 total).

Currently reading: The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson

Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 23)

Upcoming appearances:

Recent appearances:

Latest book:

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to

Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright, or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

How to get Pluralistic:

Blog (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Newsletter (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Mastodon (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):

Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla