Obamas’ holiday idyll shattered by local anger over oversized mansions

GuardianUK: When the Obama family start their summer holidays this week on the quaint New England island of Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts, they can expect to relax in the solitude and privacy they have enjoyed during their previous five visits. The Washington Post called the president the equivalent of a vacationing Yeti: “Many have had near brushes with the leader of the free world, but only a precious few have actually laid eyes on him.”

But film-maker Thomas Bena says the house the Obamas are renting this year is a prime example of the kind of mega-construction that is threatening to destroy the character of the island.

Bena has spent 12 years making a film called One Big Home, which is being shown to islanders this weekend. It documents an issue that is as tricky for residents of the Vineyard as it is for beach destinations everywhere: how to protect small communities from the distortions created by an influx of wealthy visitors who come for just eight weeks of the year. The film chronicles Bena’s crusade against the proliferation of outsize homes in the town of Chilmark, where he lives with his wife, Mollie, and daughter, Emma.

Bena argues that the giant homes – often referred to as McMansions – are not only out of proportion with their environment but are wasteful symbols of the over-reaching vanity of their absentee owners. Over the past 20 years, what started as an aberration is now a trend – Mansionisation, or the practice of building the largest possible house on a plot of land.  more here

21 Comments on Obamas’ holiday idyll shattered by local anger over oversized mansions

  1. I understand the apprehension with McMansions possibly ruining the atmosphere but in general I like when rich people spend their money, waste their money. It keeps the economy going.
    As for the rich people kind of blowing into coastal towns for the summer then heading out – that’s not a new problem. The Henley song Boys of Summer documents the local disruption from the rich folks that has been happening many many years.

  2. They are your typical commumists in charge. Living large off the fruits of the productive class. And blaming the productive class for their efforts.

  3. Oh wait, are these the same people that don’t even want to have to look at giant windmills off their coast?

    You see the same thing everywhere. Rich people like to spend their money. Knock me over with a feather. Let me say this, I didn’t sell anything out of a gallery I showed at in the small mountain town of Canon City but in Aspen, it was a different story. I’m sure the retail people look forward to the summer season, it’s their Christmas. But some guy is crying in his beer because the meter is spinning on an empty house? Give me a break.

    I also bet those “uncomfortable” contractors and carpenters have no problems cashing their checks. One guy says, “…it’s getting out of hand” Wait, wot?

    If you ever get to Rhode Island, check out some of the most beautiful YUGE mansions I’ve ever seen in Newport-wow.

  4. I thought MJA used this photo to mock the O’s but I see it’s the one used in the Guardian article! And the comments are surprisingly great 🙂

  5. Truly, I am torn on this matter. On the one hand, as a person of good taste and appreciation of classic art forms, I do deplore the vulgarity and tackiness of many of the offending mansions. And, quite honestly, I don’t understand why a single family needs 15,000 square feet of living space (especially in a vacation locale where the beach would be the big draw). But my libertarian streak asks me why a person who can afford to build a yuuuge house shouldn’t be able to.

  6. Problem is that these rich folks expect everything to stay the same as when they arrive, and will use the power of their millions to make it so, regardless of what the indigenous population wants.
    We see it all the time on the coast of Maine.

  7. How did these ‘hood rats, and the mother in law, get into the white house. They are pathetic and an embarassment to this nation. I cannot wait until they are gone but if they are replaced with hilLIARy I fear we will go from absolutely horribly rotten, to worse.

  8. Of course since they will have so much room they will share it with a few illegal, sorry undocumented, families or better yet a few Syrian “teen age” boys (ages 20 to 28). What no! Didn’t think so!

  9. Wonder how much those complicated hair styles cost the taxpayers.

    And why the sour expression on the most privileged First Lady in the world’s face? Did she have to walk out of the helicopter, rather than being carried on her throne, by four fully dress uniformed Marines?

  10. Where’s Voodoo Mother-in-Law?
    Back at the slave-built White House taking care of the dogs and sacrificing chickens to Satan.

  11. Just wait! Barry and Mooch will build the Mac Daddy of all McMansions on that piece of land they bought next to the biggest mosque in ChicagoLand! My money says that Mooch leaves for good when Barry Soetero tells her to wear a burkah!

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