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The Rent is Too Damn High -- in praise of Jimmy McMillan

Jimmy McMillan said it: The Rent is Too Damn High [Editor's note: Aren't you still living at home, Alex?].

I'd be hard pressed to disagree with Jimmy McMillan. My college roommate literally lives in a teaspoon, but because that teaspoon is located on the Upper West Side, she has to pay hundreds of dollars a month.

My only personal experience with this dates from the summer I lived in New York City and was trying to find a place to live. I was somewhat limited by my budget, which consisted of polite verbal encouragement from the theatrical organization that employed me.

I found a tiny apartment on the eighth floor of a six-floor walk-up. "Will you mind cohabiting with Ralph?" the landlord asked. "Don't see why not," I said. "Ralph likes to hog the shower," she explained, opening the bathroom door to reveal a cockroach the size of an apartment I had looked at earlier that day. "Hi, Ralph!" I explained that I had managed to cohabit with a centipede for several weeks prior and thought Ralph and I would be able to forge a lasting bond, but it turned out I was too tall to fit in the bedroom, so that was the end of that.

I tried to rent an apartment from a guy named Procrustes. "I'm sure you'll fit in the allocated space," he muttered, revving up a chainsaw. "We'll make it work."

My parents suggested I try to find housing in a convent. "Of course, you won't be able to bring guys home," they noted. "Unless, of course, it's a visitation of some kind." I actually did think about it, but they informed me that the only way I'd be able to afford a room there was if I took orders and became a postulate.

What indicates the magnitude of this problem is that I had to think about it.

Now McMillan has come along with his campaign. Some say that people like him are lowering the level of discourse. Did they not see the Rand Paul/Jack Conway debate on Sunday? I don't think there's anywhere left for the discourse to go. If anything, he's raising the level of discussion. So far, I haven't seen any jibes coming from him about the Aqua Buddha.

Increasingly, the idea of a joke candidate is being stretched to the breaking point. They come in all stripes -- and some of them don't even realize they're joke candidates. Remember Basil Marceaux? Or Alvin Greene? Or that woman in Delaware who had to preface her campaign ads by saying she wasn't a witch?

But even if regular candidacies weren't such jokes, I fully endorse joke candidacies.

"Never be afraid that by raising a laugh you destroy tragedy," Oscar Wilde said. "On the contrary, you intensify it." That's what stunt candidates, for the most part, do -- highlight the ridiculous aspects of something in the hope of drawing concern. And Mr. McMillan does it well.

But he'd better be careful. Remember what happened in Iceland? They took a good hard look at the regular candidates and elected a comedian instead. That would be a problem.

By Alexandra Petri  | October 19, 2010; 11:18 AM ET
Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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The rent in N.Y. IS too damn high!

I have rental property in Pittsburgh.
I found out that the next door neighbor was getting over 1/3rd more for a similar unit that she owned next to me. How is that?

Its government assisted! The rent is guaranteed! And they let her charge 1/3rd more than it should be because they don’t care. It’s not their money that they are spending.

So the prices of the surrounding rentals go up too.

This renter in the unit enjoys a two bedroom two bath house with a nice yard kitchen, living room, dining room all redone.

Actually her dog enjoys it because she mostly stays with her boyfriend while the dog stays home alone and constantly howls.

What does she pay per month for this house that would comfortably serve a family of 4?
Wait for it!........................$200.00! taxpayers foot the rest!
The Priceline Negotiator needs to step up his game!
This house would rent for $1800.00 in NYC

Posted by: rexreddy | October 19, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse


McMillan is in NY. Who would want to live there anyway?

Another aspect of "high rent" needs to be mentioned. No one want's to live next door to idiots.
Here in Tennessee, you can have a nice neighborhood and all it takes in one family of uneducated white-trash/thuggery to turn things upside down.

High rent keeps people who have poor residential skills away from those hard workers who like quiet, clean surroundings.

Posted by: captainkona | October 19, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

RexReddy for Mayor of Pittsburg!

Howard Mean, Chairman
The Rent Is Too Damn Low Party

Posted by: divtune | October 19, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

This is one thing all can agree upon. Sort of feel like typing "the rent is too damned high" on every single article.

Posted by: Martial | October 20, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

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