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Why I Love Stephen Metcalfe, Part MMCLXXXVII
Here is reason number 2187 why I want to have Stephen Metcalfe's love child: his essay on Don Imus is the smartest thing anyone has said about the whole scandal. From the opening sentence ("How iced-out in the bedroom and thumbed-under at work are America's commuters that they find drive-time radio funny?") to this paragraph:
...[The "nappy-headed ho's" comment] was said on the (false) premise that being "politically correct" is still a cornerstone of "bourgeois, upper-middle-class decorum," and is still a dominant mind-set in the culture at large. Imus was exploiting a cynical confusion, a common one on the AM dial. In talk radio, the P.C. bogey is kept on life support, the better to allow the heaping of abuse on the marginal and disenfranchised to pass itself off as speaking truth to power.
he nails the situation perfectly.

And now for a little Crankypants Moment. I might be a little impolitic here, and I apologize in advance for that. Yes, I feel a little sorry for people who are getting hammered by the "28" part of their 2/28 adjustable-rate mortgages (under which you pay a low teaser interest rate for 2 years and then a much higher rate for the remaining 28), and are now going through foreclosure and all sorts of unpleasant things. But I'm sorry, nobody held a gun to their heads and forced them to sign mortgage agreements that any fifth-grader could tell you weren't going to work. If the federal government bails them out, how are home prices ever going to drop enough for people like me who had the sense not to buy into the boom? I know the housing market is an ugly place for non-homeowners (believe me, I know), and it might have been hard to see any other way to live except to take on a reverse mortgage (the kind where you don't even pay all the interest that is accumulating month to month) in hopes of refinancing later on more reasonable terms. But by making those stupid decisions and refusing to realize that the market couldn't soar indefinitely far beyond the buying power of most consumers, those unfortunate buyers kept real-estate prices hilariously inflated for the rest of us. No, it wasn't easy to sit quietly through lunches when my coworkers yammered on and on and on about the triple-digit percentage appreciations in the values of their houses, or to be sneered at for still living in a rented apartment OMG honey bless your tacky impoverished little heart. It wasn't easy when I had to hope, secretly, that my homeowning friends would lose their shirts in a real-estate bust, just as they had to hope that prices would stay way too high for me ever to afford anything. But I stuck it out. Now should I be punished for that?

Current Music: The Magnetic Fields, "Crazy for You But Not That Crazy"

4 comments or Leave a comment
emperor_fool From: emperor_fool Date: April 13th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Scooch over and leave me a little room on the crankypants bench. I'm so not crying salt tears for these folks. What the hell were they thinking, buying (or, rather, borrowing) so far above what they could reasonably afford to keep. It will be a small miracle if I can ever buy so much as a shack on the Cape. But I'm grownup enough to know that, and so the rent check is in the mail.
florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: April 14th, 2007 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
It will be a small miracle if I can ever buy so much as a shack on the Cape. But I'm grownup enough to know that, and so the rent check is in the mail.

Thank you! That's exactly what I'm saying. I don't begrudge my home-owning friends their real estate. I'm also not so distressed by feelings of inferiority that I would take on some ridiculous ARM to try and rise above my condition.
miketroll From: miketroll Date: April 13th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm no radio ham but I think I get what Stephen Metcalfe is saying. A few months ago I heard something nauseatingly similar in Brisbane. A local radio host was sounding off in a tone of injured reasonableness: "I just want to watch the footie (upcoming Aussie Rules cup final) and have a few beers. What's wrong with that?" The implied objectors were those nagging harpie PC females (probably dykes if you think about it) who deplored the ocker habit of getting roaring drunk with your mates at the expense of responsibility towards partner and family.
(Deleted comment)
florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: April 14th, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Other than the buyers who were just desperate, a lot of people probably expected to be able to flip the property within a couple of years, before the higher rates kicked in. But that pyramid scheme couldn't last forever because the pool of suckers just wasn't deep enough. It was their prerogative to take that gamble, but I'm not crying for them now.
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