On my own street, two doors down, on a lot that has been vacant for a number of years, a house is being built that dwarfs all of the other houses in the area, coupled with an architecture that breathes a certain affluence and lifestyle. In the 21st century, it should have no place. To compound the insult, a number of trees on the property have been cut down to accommodate this (the pictures do not do justice to its scope):
Putting aside the resources and energy expended in constructing the house, despite the fact that yesterday was Earth Overshoot Day, I have to wonder about the kind of person who will eventually purchase the house. (The developer claims he is moving in, but I suspect he will live there for the year required so he can claim it as his principal residence and then sell it without having to pay taxes on his profit.) Will the ultimate purchaser be aware that he or she, in buying this vision, is also expressing contempt for the world of finite resources and climate change that we live in? Indeed, will the new owner be one who never even ponders such matters? Will the sun rise and fall on his or her wants, vanity and ego? I fear to contemplate too deeply the possible answer to those questions.
And yet, the ultimate owner will be a tree hugger compared to others with more monstrous egos. Consider the plans for singer Drake's new home in Toronto,
a lavish two-storey 21,000-square-foot mansion on the Bridle Path that will feature an NBA-sized basketball court, a dedicated awards room and an enormous basement pool.
To better appreciate what Drake is building, consider a few of these details:
A 44-foot by 94-foot basketball court in the basement (with a snack lounge above), where Drizzy can channel Jimmy Brooks and put in the practice time to make sure he never shoots another airball on camera ever again, like he did at a U.S. college basketball game.No one should begrudge the man his success, but that success would seem to entail a grave price: total disregard, even contempt, for today's reality, a reality that is seeing some parts of the world looking for new homes because of rising sea levels. And of course, that is but one of the many challenges humanity, both near and far, faces.
A basement “spa and tub retreat,” surrounded by two saunas (both infrared and regular), a designated massage room and a linen closet.
A sprawling lower-level pool and large hot tub, both situated in front of a massive TV projection screen, with bars on both sides. No word yet on whether the proposed pool is bigger than Kanye’s, as he claims in his song “Summer Sixteen.”
A bar bookended by separate areas for “chilled wine” and “chilled champagne.”
More than one room set aside for “important artifacts” as well as a “jersey museum,” a library and an awards room that proves he was fibbing on Big Sean’s song “Blessings” when he claimed he didn’t care “where the Grammys go.”
A master bedroom with an ensuite steam shower, plus four more bedrooms each with a corresponding bath. Hold on, we’re never leaving home.
A piano room, a music and screening lounge, two dressing rooms, multiple covered terraces, another outdoor swimming pool, a gym, a lounge and a family room for the family he keeps so close.
A titanic tax bill that in 2014 amounted to $27,856.
But such concerns are not for my developer friend down the block, not for the likes of Drake, and clearly not for the likes of anyone who believes in erecting monuments to their egos.
They would indeed be wise to read, or reread, Ozymandias.