Here’s a picture of Susette Kelo’s house:

KeloHouse.jpg

That’s the same house that five Supreme Court justices recently ruled can be condemned, taken from Ms. Kelo, and handed over to private parties, so that local property tax revenues in New London, Connecticut can be enhanced.
It looks like a fairly simple house to me, and I’m inclined to feel sorry for it, and for Ms. Kelo.
But right now I’m wondering what the house snobs like James Howard Kunstler would think of it. Here’s what he said about a plain brown house with too many cars when he gave it his “Eyesore of the Month” award:

When you live in a high entropy society, as we do, the entropy manifests in many ways: toxic waste, poor air quality, social alienation, epidemic obesity, odious popular culture, AND immersive ugliness.
Everything that could have gone wrong with this house did go wrong. Garage facing street, monkeyshit brown and beige paint job, horrible window proportioning, screw-on shutters, pitiful canopies, service cables and pipes visible, stunted fake cupola, roof pitch sandwich on right, yard 50 percent asphalt and filled with automobiles, chain-link fence. . . .
And let’s not forget the eagle right between the eyes. Perfect.

When I commented on this in April, here’s what I said:

I think it’s incredibly mean and smallminded to pick out a stranger’s home and publicly ridicule it like this on the Internet. Kunstler may justify this by imagining that he’s making a statement against evil America, or working class people whose taste in decor strikes him as patriotic kitsch. But I don’t think that’s a defense to such spiteful arrogance. And ugliness.
It is ugly to attack the unsophisticated to score points with the sophisticated. I’ve been around snobs all my life, and they don’t come any worse than this.
There’s more than one way to be an ugly American, and I think James Howard Kunstler has a lot of nerve complaining about ugliness.

That was my reaction to just one “Eyesore of the Month” award. There are many more, and I’m not going to further invade the privacy of ordinary homeowners whose homes weren’t made famous by Supreme Court decisions and upload pictures (which aren’t mine anyway). However, they’re right there for everyone to see, and I think the most cursory glance at them will reveal distinct similarities between the homes Kunstler loathes and the home condemned by the five justices in the “Kunstlerite” majority . . .
Is there an architectural culture war afoot? I’ll link to a few of them, and readers can judge for themselves.
Here’s Kunstler’s indictment of another simple home which won his “award”:

The vernacular house in small town America as influenced by eighty years of Modernism. A total lack of skill meets a total rejection of history. The result: all the charm of a packing crate and none of the structural integrity. Here’s a chilling thought: is the interior as well-organized and charming as the exterior? One imagines a dark warren of off-gassing carpets, empty pizza boxes, and a cat box that hasn’t been changed in a month and a half.

And another award winner he considered an eyesore because (as he notes saracastically) the window is too close to the roofline:

I especially like the way those mingy windows on the second story, right side, creep right up to the soffit. The front door for humans (as distinct from the front doors for cars) is reached by that ladder-like jumble of lumber on the left. The supergigantic Palladian window with the pop-in muntins doubles as a neighborhood heat-exchanger. This case study also illustrates a fascinating paradox of culture: the better our power tools get, and the more clever our systemization of assembly becomes, the worse our houses look. The law of diminishing returns never rests.

Gee, aren’t the windows of that Kelo house also suspiciously close to the roof line? Plus, they appear to be modernistic, and made of aluminum or some other metal. On top of that, the house is painted non-designer pink. And it has an American flag! According to Kunstler, the flag on an “eyesore” house “helps us remember what country we’re in!
Well, in defense of Ms. Kelo’s poor house, at least there aren’t any Snow White figurines in the yard — or sea gull silhouettes on the wall — for Mr. Kunstler to ridicule. Still, I don’t think he’d like the Kelo house. Not one bit.
In the old days before last week, people on planning commissions who thought like Kunstler had to content themselves with ridiculing homes they didn’t like. Now they can do something about them.
Clearly, people who live in “Eyesore of the Month” homes don’t pay enough property taxes.
Their eyesores are in need of gentrification.
MORE: Via Donald Sensing I see that churches are next in line for condemnation.
(Especially the “tackier” churches — the ones that don’t have money to hire lawyers.)