Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What's in a name?

My Town, Florida blossoms with new construction. Much of it is commercial, which is good for Tall Son, the construction supervisor. A lot of it, however, is residential and most of that is quite lovely, very pricey stuff. I presume that those in my income bracket are expected to buy the old houses that the people with money give up to move into the new homes, because I don't see a lot of low-middle class housing going up. (Actual quote from the website of one of these developments, emphasis mine: "It offers single family homes for everyone's budget ranging from the $200,000's to over $1,000,000." If you're reading from California, trust me that this does not cover everyone's budget in these parts.)

This brings us to the naming of developments. Such names are not chosen randomly. Developers want to make money and people want to live in a pleasant-sounding place, such as Willow Woods, versus an unpleasant-sounding place, such as Garbage Glen. Right? One would presume, then, that as part of the marketing strategy these names are carefully thought through.

At least three of the new, ginormous (I'm talking mid-size town) developments that have sprouted in the recent past carry the name "Plantation," as in Oak Leaf Plantation.

Think about what that evokes: the best of genteel Southern living -- luxurious homes and grounds, men arguing politics with a cigar in one hand and a brandy in the other, beautiful women in elaborate dresses peeking coquettishly over their fans. In other words, the opening scene of Gone with the Wind. Who wouldn't want to live in a place called Oak Leaf Plantation?

Maybe the people who associate "plantation" with picking cotton and overseers and lashings and an utter lack of control over their own lives?

In other words, could the naming of these new Southern "plantations" be a subtle device to discourage "certain people" of means from buying in?

Just wondering.

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