No men were harmed in the mak­ing of the Kondo leg­end

Mint ST - - VIEWS -

MANU JOSEPH

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

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