Lee Siegel, writing for the Wall Street Journal‘s real estate section, takes a poke at Hollywood’s long tradition of of claiming spiritual death by station wagon in a piece called “Why Does Hollywood Hate the Suburbs?”
Siegel basically thinks that the industry’s view of suburbs as sedate soul-killing gulags, advanced in such films as Revolutionary Road, The Ice Storm, Far From Heaven, The Stepford Wives (both versions), No Down Payment, Strangers When We Meet and American Beauty, is somehow undeserved and over-baked.
The piece leads you to conclude that Siegel either (a) never grew up in a suburb as a teenager or (b) is kowtowing to the Journal‘s advertising interests. I grew up in the suburbs and I’m telling you they’re hell for young guys who hunger for the real thing. They’re fine for kids and moms and older people who want peace and quiet and lots of trees and green lawns in the summertime. They offer good schools, of course, and the girls you meet in the richer suburbs (like the towns in Fairfield County, which is actually exurbia) tend to be a lot prettier than most because beauty follows money.
But I knew a few guys who felt that life was so nice in Wilton, Connecticut, and all the towns in that realm (Westport, New Canaan, Darien, Ridgefield, Weston, Easton, Redding) that they decided they probably couldn’t live as well and might live a lot worse if they went out into the world, so they decided to stick around and get local jobs, etc. And yes, some turned out okay (especially the ones who got into construction) but others didn’t do so well, succumbing to the usual maladies out of boredom or whatnot, in some cases curling into fetal balls and dying of spiritual malnutrition. Hell, I was almost one of them.
Here’s MCN’s Kim Voynar taking issue with Siegel’s piece also.