The guilty pleasure of WSJ’s Mansion
Andrew Ferguson of The Atlantic writes about the appeal of Mansion Global, the Dow Jones publication that covers high-end real estate.
Ferguson writes, “Next to house lust, the motive power of Mansion lies in the possibilities, however implicit, for envy: green-eyed, palm-dampened, parched-mouth resentment. The editors, of course, know this, but here again they show rather than tell, leaving readers to react as they will. The most unexpected feature in the newsprint edition of Mansion is the full-color, double-page spread of advertisements for fancy residences, often selling in the mid-eight figures—what Mansion has taught me to call “high-end properties.” (That’s another benefit to reading Mansion: the endless opportunity to expand one’s vocabulary. A few weeks back I discovered the word Mando-pop, which thrilled me though I will never use it. Some sentences hit my eye as little more than a Mad Lib of misprints: ‘The powder room has a quartz Sonobath sink and burned, shou sugi ban wood walls.’)
“The ads are dressed up to look functional, a straightforward means of bringing buyer and seller together. But I suspect they are merely entertainment, or a provocation, depending on readers’ dispositions. I have limited experience with the super rich as a class—this may explain why I don’t dislike them—and my only firsthand experience with real estate is as the minority owner, with Citibank, of a 90-year-old suburban bungalow roughly half the size of Moby’s. Still, my intuition tells me that a man or a woman who is in the market for a private island off Vancouver or a 1,200-acre horse farm outside Charlottesville does not hop out of bed every Friday and run down to the 7-Eleven to buy that day’s Wall Street Journal to see what’s new in the real-estate listings. Someone looking to buy a manor house with a working observatory and a 12-car garage has other options for finding the home of his dreams.”
Read more here.