The Cost of Housing in Montreal

I just found a very confusing article on the cost of real estate in Montreal:

The latest annual Demographia study on housing affordability reveals that it would now take 5.1 years of median Montreal household income ($54,700) to pay off a median house in Montreal, ($281,700), placing Montreal’s affordability at a dismal 255 out of 325 cities surveyed. It’s a big slide from the 182nd spot two years ago, and an even bigger drop from years prior.

The annual study now describes Montreal as “one of the worst performers” since the group started analyzing the ratio of income to housing prices in hundreds of world cities in 2004.

By way of contrast, in Detroit, a household could pay off the typical house with less than one-and-a-half year’s income.

At this particular moment in time, I happen to know for an absolute fact that for $281,700 you can buy an amazing, completely new place in a prestigious, 100% safe, beautiful area in Montreal close to all kinds of public transportation. The above-quoted article is suggesting that in Detroit (which, with all due respect, should not be compared to Montreal in terms of living conditions), you can buy something comparable for under $80K. I’ve been to Detroit, and somehow, this does not ring true to me at all.

Montreal is, without a doubt, the best city in North America to live in terms of the quality of life. I’ve lived in a variety of areas in the US and I can’t think of a single city (mind you, not a tiny village in a godforsaken region where you can’t live without a car and don’t even get to see any people outside for weeks) where the cost of real estate wasn’t many times higher than in Montreal.

The cost of housing has, indeed, been climbing in Montreal. Quebec is in great shape economically, culturally, and in every other possible way. It is not surprising that a growing number of people wants to live in this great country. As a result, the value of real estate rises.

P.S. A growing number of people wants or want to live? I always get confused, and Google isn’t being helpful. Are there any grammarians of English around?

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Different Roles Based on Gender

A pseudo-feminist du jour has come up with the following pearl of wisdom:

By refusing to acknowledge men as feminists that is not to say that I want to exclude them from the feminist movement, on the contrary we need as many men in the feminist movement as possible, but their role is different.

This funny simpleton with poor writing skills doesn’t realize that she has just justified every gender-based injustice under the Sun. Talk to any anti-women chauvinist, and you will hear the same argument verbatim. “I have nothing against women,” such woman-haters always say. “In fact, I love women. All I’m saying is that women are different, so their role in society has to be different.”

Of course, the moment you have justified a single instance of the gender-based separation of spheres, you have justified all of them.

The hilariousness of the quoted post does not stop here. If you follow the link, you will see that the post’s author argues that this “different role” men should play in the feminist movement is none other than protecting and defending women from nasty Internet trolls.

This makes sense, too. If the only admission ticket to the feminist movement is a vagina, then the old and tired stereotypes of womanhood have to follow. Women become pathetic little damsels in distress who need their separate sphere to be protected from encroachment by strong and powerful men. This is where every attempt to ascribe meaning to physiology always leads: right back to eternal stereotypes about gender.

Classics Club #1: Nancy Milford’s Zelda

I really enjoyed Nancy Milford’s biography of Zelda Sayre, the wife of one of my favorite writers, F.S. Fitzgerald. This is a tragic story of a woman who realized that being nothing but a wife even to the most brilliant, fascinating, adoring and faithful man in the world (because Fitzgerald was all that to Zelda) is not enough to fulfill a human being.

At first, Zelda was very happy in her marriage to Scott. They were the most glamorous couple of the twenties, admired and celebrated by everybody. Gradually, however, Zelda started to realize that her life lacked meaning. Scott had his work while she had nothing of her own. She was too smart to be content with living her life as an appendage to a famous writer.

Zelda’s dream became to excel in something and manage to make her own living. However, she had no education and lacked the simple knowledge of how much work and effort one needed to invest to become even just simply mediocre at anything.

At first, she decided to become a ballet dancer but the need to practice on a regular basis was too much for her, and Zelda ended up at a clinic with a nervous breakdown. Then, she chose the career of a writer. The problem with that plan was that the only material she could write about was her life with Fitzgerald, and he’d already written about that with the skill he’d acquired from the regular practice of his craft. Zelda simply could not compete, which made her suffer. Later on, Zelda tried her hand at painting. The perseverance and strength needed to practice any of her chosen professions were not there, though.

Every time she failed, Zelda withdrew deeper into mental illness. She spent years going from one institution to another. Scott, who loved her passionately, struggled to pay for her expensive medical care, for their living expenses, and for the education of their daughter for whom he was the only actual caretaking parent. Having seen what a lack of an education and a career had done to his wife, Fitzgerald was obsessed by offering his daughter Scottie the best education he could.

Milford’s biography of Zelda is very well-researched and offers a very convincing and poignant story of the horror implied in the “two people, one career” model of a romantic relationship.