Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.
Dear Advice King,
I've been saving up for 10 years to buy some property, but home prices are outpacing my ability to accumulate enough for a down payment. Should I keep trying, or give up on the American Dream of home ownership?
—Kristin in Charlotte, N.C.
Buy a “tiny house”! Get a tiny dog! Cry tiny tears!
I’m kidding. Only do the first two things.
The American Dream left town a long time ago, Kristin. It left on a horse called “NAFTA.” “NAFTA” was accompanied by three other helper horses — “Citizens United,” “Glass-Steagall Repeal” and “Gutting the Voting Rights Act.” They were “dressage” horses. A “dressage” horse is a special kind of fancy horse that oligarchs buy with money that was supposed to go toward paying people a living wage.
To keep their minds off the fact that they moved American manufacturing jobs to countries without labor laws, oligarchs hire someone to teach these horses tricks. Most oligarchs say that when they watch their fancy horses do tricks they completely forget that the minimum wage has stayed the same since 2009.
I bet a red-hot oligarch joke is “If only I could teach that horse to fire the gardener!”
Soooo, “tiny houses.” What are “tiny houses,” you ask? Tiny houses are exactly what they sound like they are: tiny fucking houses. So why, you ask, do I keep putting “tiny house” inside quotation marks? Because houses that are way too small are being marketed specifically as “Tiny Houses” to trick people into thinking they are cute, special, whimsical, fun houses, instead of “THE ONLY HOUSES ANYBODY CAN AFFORD.” They are also marketed as “more sustainable” and “great places to practice mindfulness.” I made up the last thing. But they really are marketed as more sustainable than regular-size houses.
But what does that mean?
“Sustainability” can only be achieved if EVERYBODY (or at least, almost everybody) is participating. As long as the absurdly large U.S. military keeps belching smoke, and the oligarchs keep the air conditioning running 24/7 in every mansion, guesthouse, boathouse, home theater, skating rink and tool shed they own, people living in a “tiny houses” cannot be reframed as climate activists. They are nothing more than late-stage capitalism’s victims. Except, that is, for a few eccentrics who choose tiny houses because they love feeling cramped — those people are having the time of their lives.
Here’s a short play I wrote about a masochist living in a tiny house for fun:
The Tiny House I Deserve, by Chris Crofton
Interior, broom closet
RESIDENT: I love this “tiny house”! I only wish it was smaller — it’s not hurting my knees enough. That’s right broom, hit me in the face. DO IT AGAIN, BROOM.
I’m not opposed to dreams, Kristin, but as long as the “American Dream” remains “owning multiple 10,000-square-foot residences,” things will never improve — 1,000 people will have 50,000 square feet and dressage horses — the other 300 million will have 75 square feet and a rain barrel. The U.S. military will make sure the climate is still fucked.
I propose revising the American Dream: Normal-size houses for everybody.™