10 Things Done Completely Out of Spite


1
The Pink House
The Pink House on Plum Island is the focus of a major effort to save it from demolition. Jim Fenton/Save the Newbury Pink House

Over the years, numerous people have used "spite houses" — dwellings that are strangely designed or decorated, or located in devilishly inconvenient places — as a way of getting back at everyone from city officials and neighbors to ex-spouses after an acrimonious breakup.

One of the most extreme examples of a spite house is the famous Pink House on Plum Island in Massachusetts. According to a 2015 New York Times article, the garishly-colored structure sits alone in a desolate area, "overlooking a vast flat landscape of pristine salt marsh."

Its apparent origin: Back in 1925, a woman agreed to give her husband a divorce, provided that he built for her an exact duplicate of the house that they shared in town. Not wanting to give her the satisfaction of besting him, he did so, but put the house in the least desirable location he could find: an island without any other inhabitants or fresh water. Surprisingly, the house was lived in until 2011 [source: Bolick]

Despite its spiteful history, local artists have developed a curious affection for the Pink House, which was sold by its last private owners to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in 2012, and is now off-limits to the public. They've started a lobbying group to convince federal wildlife officials not to demolish it [source: Coffey].

Author's Note: 10 Things Done Completely Out of Spite

This assignment stirred up some confusing emotions in me. On one hand, I couldn't help but be amused at some of the clever ways that people have dreamed up to get back at someone for a slight, whether real or imagined. But as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that time spent seeking payback is time lost from doing something more positive and fulfilling. And sometimes, perhaps, simply not allowing another person to inspire resentment might be the best revenge.

Related Articles

More Great Links

Sources

  • Al-Zubaidi, Dr. Karim M..S. "Iraq: A Complicated State." Author House. 2010. (July 30, 2016) http://bit.ly/2actdRL
  • Angier, Natalie. "Spite is Good. Spite Works." New York Times. March 31, 2014. (July 28, 2016) http://nyti.ms/2akFHdF
  • Associated Press. "Bush Sr. Doormat in Baghdad Hotel Dismantled." FoxNews.com, April 11, 2003. (July 28, 2016) http://fxn.ws/2akxl5q
  • Autoweek Staff. "Brief history of the Ford GT40 at Le Mans." Dec. 19, 2014 (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akyOsL
  • Barbaro, Michael. "After Roasting, Trump Reacts In Character." New York Times. May 1, 2011. (July 28, 2016) http://nyti.ms/2akxEgz
  • Beatles Bible. "How Do You Sleep?" (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akyb2d
  • Bolick, Kate. "Plum Island's Pink House Inspires a Real Estate Fantasy." New York Times. Dec. 11, 2015. (July 28, 2016) http://nyti.ms/2akEtz0
  • Coffey, Jeanne O'Brien. "Newbury's Pink House has captured the community's imagination for generations." Northshore. April 2016. (Aug. 1, 2016) http://bit.ly/2agiTs9
  • Dunbar, Agnes. "St. Aebbe the Younger (Died AD 870)." Britannia.com. (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akDZZC
  • Gilmore, Mikal. "Why the Beatles Broke Up." Rolling Stone. Sept. 3, 2009. (July 30, 2016) http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/why-the-beatles-broke-up-20090903
  • Harley Therapy. "What is Machiavellianism in Psychology?" Jan. 8, 2015. (July 30, 2016) http://bit.ly/2aoHJcG
  • Historynet. "Jimmy Doolittle and the Tokyo Raiders Strike Japan During World War II." June 12, 2016. (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akyytD
  • Johnson, Davey G. "Salad Days: Ford's 1960s Run at Le Mans Made a Legend of the GT40." Caranddriver.com. June 12, 2015. (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akyIRT
  • McGuire, Virginia C. "9 Houses Built Just for Spite." Mentalfloss.com. (July 28, 2016). http://bit.ly/2akyR7K
  • Marcus, D.K., et al. "The psychology of spite and the measurement of spitefulness." Psychological Assessment. June 26, 2014. (July 30, 2016) http://bit.ly/2aoGNF4
  • Matthews, Dylan. "Trump just held one of his weirdest, Cruz-bashing, JFK conspiracy theorizing rallies ever." Vox. July 22, 2016. (Aug. 1, 2016) http://bit.ly/2asq8Ay
  • Melody Maker. Interviews with John Lennon and Paul McCartney." Beatlesinterviews.com. Nov. and Dec. 1971. (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akDwqp
  • Merry, Stephanie. "The Story Behind Why Prince Changed His Name to a Symbol." Washington Post. April 22, 2016. (July 28, 2016) http://wapo.st/2akxBBu
  • Purdum, Todd S. "The Capture of Hussein: Two President; After 12 Years, Sweet Victory: The Bushes' Pursuit of Hussein." New York Times. Dec. 16, 2003. (July 28, 2016) http://nyti.ms/2akxTZa
  • Rafferty, Andrew. "That Time When Barack Obama and Seth Meyers Roasted Donald Trump." NBC News. April 30, 2016. (July 28, 2016) http://nbcnews.to/2akDOxg
  • Reed College. "Outline of Homer's Iliad." Reed.edu. (July 30, 2016) http://www.reed.edu/humanities/hum110/Iliad
  • Roberts, Roxanne. "I sat next to Donald Trump at the infamous 2011 White House correspondents' dinner." Washington Post. April 28, 2016. (July 28, 2016) http://wapo.st/2akElj1
  • Robertson, Nic. "A return to Baghdad's Al-Rashid hotel." CNN. Oct. 15, 2002. (July 30, 2016) http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/10/14/btsc.robertson/
  • Rolling Stone. "12 Wild Prince Moments." Rollingstone.com. April 22, 2016. (July 28, 2016) http://rol.st/2akF03E
  • Scott, James M. "The Untold Story of the Vengeful Japanese Attack After the Doolittle Raid." Smithsonian.com. April 15, 2015. (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akyrOB
  • Slate. "Two of Us." Slate.com. (July 28, 2016) ttp://slate.me/2akArXa
  • Standiford, Les. "Meet You in Hell" excerpt. Kirkus Reviews. May 20, 2010. (July 28, 2016) https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/les-standiford/meet-you-in-hell/
  • Stone, Kelly. "The 5 Most Incredible Things Ever Done Purely Out of Spite." Cracked.com. May 30, 2013. (July 28, 2016) http://bit.ly/2akydqG
  • Taylor, Alan. "No More House in the Middle of the Street." The Atlantic. Dec. 1, 2012. (Aug 3, 2016) http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2012/12/no-more-house-in-the-middle-of-the-street/100416/
  • Taylor, Alan. "The House in the Middle of the Street." The Atlantic. Nov. 22, 2012. (Aug. 3, 2016) http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2012/11/the-house-in-the-middle-of-the-street/100411/
  • Yang, Mackenzie. "Man Turns House Across the Street From Westboro Baptist Church Into Gay Pride Flag." Time.com. March 21, 2013. (July 28, 2016) http://ti.me/2akyPN8

UP NEXT

Why World War I Became the 'Forgotten War'

Why World War I Became the 'Forgotten War'

The 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I offers up a second chance to learn from our mistakes. HowStuffWorks looks at what we need to know.


More to Explore