On the internet, the ancient proverb goes, nobody knows you’re a dog. You can be anyone or anything in a virtual space — so long as you act the part. Sometimes, the charade is explicit and collectivized: Over on Facebook, you can still join “A group where we all pretend to be boomers” or “A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony.” Elsewhere, the joke is maintained with a strict poker face and denial of any ironic roleplay. In Reddit’s r/LoveForLandlords, you’re not allowed to let the mask slip. You’re meant to post like a real, full-time, piece-of-shit landlord.
Describing themselves as well-fed “Landchads” and their tenants as despicable “Rentoids” who waste their money on expensive coffee and Funko Pops, the supposed property owners who hang out in this forum trade stories of evicting single moms, neglecting repairs and the common prejudice they face (aka “landphobia”). As a satirical response to subreddits including r/antiwork, which critiques the conditions of labor under late capitalism, and r/LandlordLove, where users discuss systemic problems in housing, the group has occasionally tangled with redditors who think they’re serious. It just goes to show, in an illustration of Poe’s law, that even an extreme imitation of landlords as greedy scum can be hard to differentiate from the real thing.
This month, the size of the membership at r/LoveForLandlords officially surpassed that of r/LandlordLove, which they celebrated with appropriate smugness. What to make of this inflection point? It could be that after years of sharing the frustrations that come with spending half your income on a one-bedroom apartment, millennials and zoomers are tired of wallowing in despair and would rather flaunt the attitude of undeserved wealth — even without the money (or real estate) to back it up. You can only read so many articles about how you’ll never own a home before you decide that posting as if you do is the next best thing. Fake it till you make it!
But don’t forget: Landlords are the most oppressed in society. They never get a fair shake.
Yes, once we’ve all walked a mile in our landlord’s shoes, experiencing the discrimination that makes them hesitant to publicly identify as people clever and industrious enough to have a portfolio of architectural assets, we are bound to rethink our contempt for them. They’re simply trying to get by, same as the rest of us. It can’t be easy collecting monthly checks from financially illiterate losers who don’t want to get their grind on. Sorry for all the trouble, kings.