The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #68954   Message #3550747
Posted By: Joe Offer
19-Aug-13 - 02:05 PM
Thread Name: Help: Little Boxes (Malvina Reynolds) ticky-tacky?
Subject: RE: Help: Little Boxes (Malvina Reynolds) ticky-tacky?
OK, folks. This thread is about a song, and about the circumstances behind the song. In general, song threads have been sacrosanct here at Mudcat, and have been quite free of personal invective. Let's keep it that way.

My stepson just moved to an apartment on Lake Merced, near the campus of San Francisco State University. He's within walking distance of the Westlake development in Daly City, so we've been spending time in Daly City in the process of moving him in. Daly City doesn't look like the "little boxes" Malvina is singing about. I thought that Pacifica was the subject of her song. If you drive California Highway 1 north from Santa Cruz, you go through some of the most beautiful terrain in the U.S. There are two lighthouses, lovely little towns, and treacherous places where the highway hugs the edge of the cliffs over the ocean. Then you round the bend into Pacifica, and the beautiful terrain is covered with houses that all look just the same. These aren't working-class houses. They're not quite McMansions, but they're the homes of middle management. There are other areas around San Francisco that were rugged, beautiful hillsides that were remarkably beautiful in the winter and spring. Those hillsides are covered with expensive houses now, all with big SUVs in the driveways.

There were the neighborhoods Malvina was singing about, the ones with packaged pretentiousness and artificial opulence. She wasn't singing about little, no-money-down houses for soldiers returning from WWII to get jobs and start families. Those soldiers didn't play on golf courses and drink dry martinis - and they didn't become doctors and lawyers and business executives. Malvina is singing about the McMansions that sprawl over the beautiful hillsides of the San Francisco Bay Area. The opening credits of the Weeds television program portray this McMansion ethic very well.

Here's an example:


This is a music thread. The argument is now officially ended. As I often told my children, "I don't care who started the argument, and I don't care who's right or wrong - I'm going to stop the fight right now!" I'll delete any personal invectives that are posted from now on.

(i.e., anything that is not about the song, gets deleted.)