Monday, June 27, 2011

Are you feeling constipated and squinty?

If so, 1940s psychoanalyst Erich Fromm would like you to know that you have a 'hoarding orientation.' Or possibly that you're a toddler.

I'm not the only one obsessed with hoarding - that is, watching other people hoard, of course. This weekend's New York Times magazine published an article by Carina Chocano about the wave of hoarding/compulsive behavior shows sweeping cable television. Chocano implies that hoarding seems to have increased, although I'd quibble - I think the increase in shows about hoarding probably have something to do with that perception.

Chocano makes the rather easy leap from hoarding to our battered, consumer-drive economy as it staggers around after the recovery-that-wasn't, although it would be remiss not to point out the correlation/causation fallacy at work here. Of course our relationship to stuff has the "potential to distort and derail us," as the first ascetic who kicked off their sandals and wandered into the desert would remind us.

So. Burn everything in the driveway? Certainly tempting sometimes. The only thing I'm at risk of being crushed to death by is a dislodged book, but if I ever do end up on a show about compulsive behavior, I give you free license to point and stare.

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