No men were harmed in the making of the Kondo legend
is a journalist and novelist, most recent of ‘Miss Laila, Armed And Dangerous’ except that which will make you feel “as if the cells in your body are slowly rising”. On the Netflix show she says this with a spring and a yelp. She is actually talking to your wife, not you.
It is odd how the media postures that Kondo is someone who is important to both women and men. That is because it is respectable to convey the notion that tidying up is a responsibility of both men and women.
However, the fact is that the legend of Kondo is almost entirely a creation of deep female interest in her.
So here is what men should know about Kondo and about other things that will help you understand Kondo.
1. A revolutionary usually has a disorder, or a gift, or a capacity or a mental state to perform an action that can cause a revolution when many people who do not have the disorder or the gift or the capacity or the mental state try to imitate the revolutionary. The normal trying to imitate the abnormal—that is why the world is in a tumult. However, this is also what gives meaning to life.
Kondo is tumult and meaning. She is transmitting the most incorrect but powerful message that a gifted person can convey: “What I am is attainable to you.” Millions of women are trying to imitate her methods in their homes, which inevitably means they are drafting their husbands to be a part of the process.
2. If Kondo has come to your house, it means your marriage is good.
The Netflix show begins with a weeping woman and images of her husband’s fingers, which in documentary parlance means “tension”. However, Kondo is in reality about hope and the persistence of happiness.
The influence of Kondo will coerce you to fling your clothes in a heap in the middle of the room, hold an old T-shirt and ask yourself if the cells in your body are “slowly rising”. You will be coerced into tidying up a kitchen that you may think is actually tidy. However, all this is a sign of a healthy home. As Marx told us without telling us, the conflict is the whole point. Resolution is a plot device invented by bearded writers to end a book.
But remember Kondo, too, lies: “There will always be an end to tidying.”
3. Some of you may feel that after the abduction and disappearance of your cargo shorts, or the insults conveyed to you for wearing the most comfortable garment ever made, Kondo is the most powerful reminder of the fact that peace is a feminine world where there are rules and floral things and cups with small useless ears.
But Kondo is not unbeatable.
She makes two crucial mistakes. One is with books. In the first episode of the Netflix show, she shakes books to “wake them up”. She applies her general rule to books: If they don’t spark joy throw them away, dooming many read books and most unread books.
This gives you the opportunity to bring the writer and mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb to the fight.
“Read books are far less valuable than unread ones,” he wrote in his widely read book, Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. A good library is not a demonstration of how much we know but an “antilibrary” that is an exhibition of what we do not know yet.
In the homes of genuine readers of books, it is unlikely that Kondo will prevail.
4. Also, she allows for sentimentality, which some people know means you get to keep all your junk. Kondo lets you keep useless things as long as they mean something to you, which invariably means things from the past. But then every single object from your present will be sentimental many decades later. This argument will let you keep almost anything you want if you have already demonstrated signs of sentimentality.
5. Kondo is not a rebuke of consumerism. She only shows the most wise form of materialism—austerity. Own great things, expensive things, but few things.
6. And if you wonder how the male version of Kondo would look like, I recommend another Netflix show: Queer Eye , in which a slob does not need to become a better person; he needs to just step out of his house, shop, allow himself to be groomed and drink, as five amiable gay men transform his home into something sex-worthy.
It is odd how the media portrays Marie Kondo as someone important to both women andmen