The DeVos’s New House…

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Press, October 9, 2010

A few week’s ago, the Grand Rapids Press ran a story on the recently completed summer home built on the south shore of Lake Macatawa near Holland. It is owned by the DeVos family. Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel were founders of Amway Corporation, their families continue to run Amway, and have since created, developed, married into, and spawned many, many other ventures. Long story short, the DeVos’s are a prominent and successful West Michigan family.

So the article was basically “fabulously wealthy local family has existing mansion plowed and builds a magnificent new house and guest house in its place.” If nothing else, it made for attractive first page photos. Shortly thereafter the letters to the editor started rolling in regarding “in poor taste” this and “in these times of economic hardship” that. How dare the Press make this a headline story!  Then the counter letters started to show up with their “providing paying jobs” this and “you’re just jealous, so go suck an egg” that. It devolved from there. Which is all very understandable if not predictable — people have strong feelings and a baffling conviction that a letter to the editor or a post to a chat forum will convince the world to see it their way. But the truly remarkable thing was just how well sustained the argument. It has been a serious collective panty bunch for West Michigan for several weeks. The comic was my attempt at hastening the unbunching process.

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