A BIG Bailout

Some months ago I had some kind of email exchange with Geoff Manaugh about an interesting little article in Bloomberg. As Geoff summarized it in BLDGBLOG: “financially hard-hit homeowners in the Los Angeles area have begun temporarily renting out their houses as filming locations for TV commercials and pornos.” In a twist to the current events of foreclosure and crisis (which is still sliding downward), well, what if one of those rented locations was actually used to re-enact a home eviction in and of itself? In other words, a home on the brink of foreclosure becomes a movie set, and then becomes the scene of a feigned foreclosure, which then leads to—as anything in the collective mind of Porn Valley does—sex.

The actors (barely “acting”, of course) pretend to arrive at a foreclosed property to take it in the name of the bank, and the homeowner asks to see a “big” bailout… Or something to that effect. A threesome ensues. Homeowner rolls the camera. It’s a take on relational art. And so, in relational fashion, a porn impresario has indeed now made perhaps the first 21’st-century crisis scene in a porno movie (or any movie, for that matter).*

If this first that we’re reporting here is any sign of a culture shift, it might be somehow reflective of a focus on the wrong place. As Dante Chinni’s brilliant blog in the Christian Science Monitor speculates: “If Americans become more like people in ‘Tractor Country,’ the drop in consumer spending may last longer and fundamentally change how we live and spend.” What much of Chinni’s reporting seems to reveal is that the home as site of disruption and conflict at the hands of foreclosing banks (see above), has actually been so from day one–a site deeply at the mercy of capital flows and speculation.

The confrontational nature of foreclosure as played out in the scene has been seething under the surface all along, bursting now and then (perhaps finding a valve in the sexual act). What Chinni, with research from James Gimpel, says is that: “‘Tractor Country’ was the only community type to see a decline in foreclosures between November and April – a dip of about 7 percent.” And as such, it is perhaps in the spending and saving behavior of Tractor Country that most Americans will locate their north star, and reshift the rest of the culture along the way. In other words, the foreclosed homeowners who felt “suburban“, in many ways find themselves suddenly “ruralized” in place. Meanwhile, the NYTimes reports that U.S. Home Sales Remain Sluggish as Supply Soars.

*For the curious about the foreclosure scene, Google Search yields this text: “Gianna, Carmella & Marco from the bank come to evict Jules. He wants a “bailout”, but instead they ball-out his house!” Tread with caution.

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