Missing the point…

People seem to be leaping to the defense of Marie Kondo, saying that her comments on books were misunderstood or misinterpreted as in: Keep your tidy, spark-joy hands off my book piles, Marie Kondo.

I think they’ve all missed the obvious problem with her fame and reputation though: the fact that she’s making a substantial living at telling adults how to tidy up after themselves.

I don’t care whether its books, coffee cups or lego bricks. When did swathes of adults become so infantilised that they need to follow a Netflix show to understand how to tidy up after themselves and de-clutter their lives?

The ‘system’ has conditioned people into mindless acquisition, and now the system will tell them how to fix the situation (presumably with the aim of getting them to acquire more and then purge – ad infinitum!).

Don’t defend Marie, just ignore her and she’ll go away!

I shouldn’t be surprised…

mariekondox…but you can become famous now for telling people how to tidy up, and Marie Kondo has her own show on Netflix on this very subject. I only became aware of her after Lifehacker posted something about her advice on getting rid of books.

It’s bad enough that people feel the need to watch this sort of thing (and that she probably makes a living at it), but to compound it by telling people to cut down to no more than an arbitrary number of books in their house is puzzling. Perhaps if people had more books, they would be better educated and there would be less call for these sorts of lifestyle gurus to peddle their vacuous nonsense.

 

Monkeyism…

Is there such a thing? In this age where swathes of people seem to take offense at almost anything, I’ve decided to rouse the bee in my own bonnet and talk about the exploitation of primates in advertising

When I was young, we had hugely popular TV ads with chimpanzees advertising a popular brand of tea. They were voiced by actors and were shown in a variety of comical situations – the most popular of which was probably the one in which they are removal men (removal monkeys), trying to get a piano down some stairs.

We now know that training the chimps for their roles took a huge toll on them and ruined their ability to interact properly with their own kind. So, we don’t use chimps in ads anymore, and that’s a jolly good thing. But, our simian cousins are still the lazy ‘go to’ for unimaginative advertisers. I saw this ad on the train the other evening – an orangutan selling audio books.

oznor

I’m not suggesting that any orangs were harmed in the making of the ad – it’s probably just a photoshopped or computer generated. But I’ve chosen to take offense at the exploitation of monkeys (or are they apes?) and to make a plea that we don’t go back to the 1970s and those awful days of exploitative monkeyism?

Anyone for a #MonkeyToo movement?

Flakensteins…

That bastion of progressive and informed thought, The Sun, has shot itself in the foot in its pursuit of ‘snowflake’ students: Snowflake students claim Frankenstein’s monster was ‘misunderstood’ — and is in fact a VICTIM.

Frankenstein1931Karloff

The NewStatesman picked up on the story today, but The Times had made the same error a few days ago (it’s behind a paywall but you get the sense of the article).

Admittedly, I’ve read Frankenstein more times than I can remember, but even on the first reading, your sympathy is with the creature and you soon realise that Victor Frankenstein is indeed the real monster of the story. It’s one of the perverse pleasures of the book – especially if you come to it from having watched the Universal and Hammer movie monsters stomping around and smashing everything. The creature is scorned, misunderstood and tortured, but he learns to read and becomes more articulate, even poetic, in describing his dreadful plight.

Was there ever a gold age when journalists were well-read and educated? It seems now that whatever suits the editorial agenda will do – and I don’t suppose too many Sun readers will bother checking the facts for themselves. If they were concerned with such things, they would read The Sun

Talking out of her arse…

mythomaniaI’ve been taking my time over reading Peter Conrad’s Mythomania. It’s a kind of spiritual heir to Roland Barthes’ Mythologies, containing themed essays on our current culture of consumption, narcissism and skewed reality.

I can proudly state that although I’m aware of who the Kardashians are (I don’t live in a bubble), I’ve never seen any of their TV shows and don’t even know what Kim’s voice sounds like – despite, thanks to the internet, having seen most of her body parts. In my mind, she sounds like Rosy Perez; all squeaky, nasal and New York, but doubtless I’m wrong in this assumption.

In any case, I don’t have any intention of finding out.

Conrad’s invocation of Barthes in his description of the Kardashians did, however, have me chuckling into my bowl of Weetabix this morning:

“On another occasion, Kourtney cattily remarks that Kim’s bottom might have become a bit too callipygian – or, to quote Kourtney exactly, she may have too much junk in her trunk. Khloé dismisses the objection […] ‘Her ass makes money, honey.’ Barthes said that myth enabled mute objects to speak, and in these impromptu poems Kim’s backside attains what he called ‘the oral state’.”

It’s a beautiful summation of the vacuity of the reality celebrity, where the doyenne of the cultural form is seen to be talking out of her arse.

Peter Conrad’s 21st Century Mythologies podcasts are available on the BBC Radio 4 website.

Fuck Black Friday!

That is all…

Everyone I have ever ordered from in my life has been in contact today to offer me cut-priced shit.

No more!

Whenever I read the words ‘Black Friday’, it conjures this up in my head:

I’m sure it’s the same for many people now. The whole concept is associated more with greed and animal behaviour than it is with bagging a bargain.