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Virginia Scott Jenkins, in her book The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession (1994), traces the desire to kill weeds historically. She notes that the current rage for a chemically-dependent lawn emerged after World War II, and argues that "American front lawns are a symbol of man's control of, or superiority over, his environment."
I think TBG is right and this is not entirely about status.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:42:00 AM EST
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No, some of it is our bizarre cleanliness/control fetish and/or our bizarre conceit that there is a dividing line between the natural and the human. But that doesn't need grass: gravel or something would do fine.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:47:01 AM EST
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