Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I pit two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.
What’s the story? Millennials not being able to afford houses.
Reasonable take: Build. Affordable. Housing.
Bento Box: Or, build windowless crates?
You know the score. Nobody under 35 can afford to buy a house anywhere, and especially not in London where the rent is so expensive we are all contractually obliged to mention it whenever we go back home and anybody asks us what living in London is like. The solutions to this problem are not obvious – or rather, they are, but generating the political will to to realise them is difficult – so instead we are a generation forced to adapt to a reality in which owning a home is an outlandish fever dream.
Or is it? What if – and bear with me here – you could own a home, but to keep the cost down, we made the homes really small? Like, instead of an actual flat with windows and doors, it was a sort of Travelodge room with a little kettle and bedpan.
Well, architect Patrik Schumacher reckons this approach is exactly the sort of blue-sky thinking need to tackle the housing crisis currently facing millennials. In a paper for the Adam Smith institute, Schumacher has suggested that for “many young professionals who are out and about networking 24/7, a small, clean, private hotel room-sized central patch serves their needs perfectly well.”
He goes on to add that the current minimum size of 38 square metres on new-build flats is “paternalistic”, and that emotional phrases like “slums” and “rabbit hutches” stand in for actual debates about the size of housing. You heard it here first: slum is a slur!
To be honest, part of me thinks we should just accept this new reality and thrust ourselves into the dystopia of Schumacher’s imagined future: networking 24/7, eyes glued open with amphetamines, shuttling around a fully wi-fi enabled underground system that allow us to work as we hurtle through the earth, privatised pavement space, designated recreation zones, and a ticketed sky garden walkway where the Thames used to be. Oh and when it all gets a bit much, you can head home for a nap in a box. Bliss!
What’s the story? Thinking for yourself and being free spirited!
Reasonable take: While I understand the ways in which the world implicity conditions me, I like to think I have a moral code that I answer to personally.
Fish Fillet: Same! For example: I love Donald Trump.
There are plenty of great takes that have come from Kanye West’s recent return to Twitter. “I’m nice at ping pong,” is an indisputable tweet, as is “I no longer have a manager. I can't be managed.” Sadly however, the headline news this week has been his lengthy and effusive Trump love-in. The pair first met when the Donald was the new president-elect, and West made a shock visit to Trump in December 2016. Following that meeting he seemed to have gone off the idea – deleting all evidence of the trip from his Twitter account – but it’s clear now that initial retraction must have been an intervention of some kind.
West took to twitter (over and over again) this week describing Trump as his “brother”, adding that they are both “dragon energy”. This initial tweet was the first in a slew about the President, including pictures of West’s signed MAGA hat, alongside criticisms of Obama’s perceived failure to act on Chicago violence during his eight years in power. The tweets have come under fire from pretty much everybody associated with West, including his own wife, Kim Kardashian, and John Legend whose texts asking him to reconsider his endorsement West also shared.
To be honest, the really rotten take here is West’s insistence that supporting Donald Trump is somehow transgressive – that allying yourself with someone who is despised by your peers is in a sign “unlearning linear thinking”. It’s an angle that has gone down very well with the likes of Paul Joseph Watson, who has been flogging his “conservatism is the new punk” hot take for years now. In fact, while the incident has lost Kanye some support, it seems he’s found a whole new fan-base with like-minded MAGA-heads.
Sadly Kanye West has fallen for one of the most pernicious myths of our era, that supporting a rich, racist bloke is actually a really radical way of thinking. Over here we call it the Farage effect: the mistaken idea that people hate populist right-wingers because they’ve been conditioned to by the liberal mainstream media, not because they are – you know – populist right-wingers. West is too interesting a figure to write off for some bizarre tweets, but let’s not forget: people don’t hate Trump because of some groupthink conspiracy, they hate him because he’s a horrible, racist Alan Sugar.
Prime cut: I am too confused by the West tweets to pass a real judgement, so let’s give it to Patrik Schumacher for his radical live-in tupperware plan. See you in shoebox hell boys and girls!