Saturday, 13 December 2008

Blinged-up houses I think I may detect a reduction in the number of houses blinged-up with lights in my area this year, but there may be greater intensity of negative feeling about the habit generally. Here's Graham Norwood in the Independent with a researched article including the tale of Vic Moszczynski from Berkshire. Following a court injunction in 2006, Moszczynski's routine festooning of his house with yuletide kitsch was restricted to '300 lights, four seven-foot-high inflatable cartoon characters, eight 30-foot-long strips of rope lights and two illuminations in the front garden.' Very subdued and sensitively modest I'm sure. Meanwhile BBC Radio 4's PM Blog has recently been playfully tracking '"bad" Christmas decorations that we love'. And there's a book, Christmas houses, published last year. Mostly this is harmless enough, although as Norwood points out there have been numerous cases requiring mediation and much unpleasantness experienced. One can only sympathise with our authorities when they are expected to deal with discrepencies in taste. I also wonder how far the attitudes expressed for example at or are from, say, the kind of comment you can read at Rotten neighbors (access to which should perhaps be restricted to authorised sociologists wearing protective theories). So anyway, there are two sets of questions. The first is a familiar one about how online technologies facilitate expression of views that otherwise might not find a channel, and the moral ifs and buts of the visibility of contested taste. The other, related questions are to do with privacy and the rights to individual self-expression around the boundary of the home, which I prodded at a few years back.

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