Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rationalization


 In my early twenties in Brooklyn, I spent a year hanging out with a group of people who would drink excessively and behave badly. They would leave the bar early in the morning and yell inappropriate things throughout the neighborhood. It was not unique behavior, but what was particularly frustrating was their rationality. They were self-proclaimed anarchists who believed that they were expressing their freedom by disturbing people at 3 in the morning. They felt that they shouldn’t be hemmed in by the generally accepted conventions of society by trying to get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes they would even rationalize that they were waking up the people that they disturbed to new possibilities. I think they felt that they were living in a Chuck Palahniuk novel. But in reality they were just rationalizing their bad behavior. 

This brings me to present day Phoenix where a company has bought a parcel of land where a house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son stands. The company got a great deal, buying the parcel for $1.8 million and has declared that it will level the house and subdivide the property if it doesn’t receive $2.2 million dollars. The company has every right to do this, and they should have that right. But like the Williamsburg hipsters that I spent time with, they don’t need to exercise that right just because they can. I, in no way believe that any agency should step in after the sale and prohibit the company from doing this (they should have done something before the sale). But I think that companies should show some restraint in cases like this. Good for them for seeing the opportunity in this, they are clearly good at their jobs but taking a piece of architectural history hostage is just bad behavior. By rationalizing that the free market allows them to do this is the same as pseudo-anarchists waking up the working families of Brooklyn.

Note: After writing this, the house got a stay of execution while the developer continues looking for a buyer.