Best Of The Web
“Hungover and pleasantly aimless on New Year’s Day, I scrolled through Netflix looking for something soothing to watch. Not You—even though apparently everyone on my timeline was watching the Penn Badgley thriller. I was not going to pick Bird Box; the apocalypse will come soon enough. Sadly, I was clean out of Great British Bake Off episodes. And the time for Christmas movies about improbable princes was over for another year.
Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, though, had the promise of Queer Eye–like simplicity and redemption, exactly what I craved on this black hole of a day. The show features Japanese neatness queen Marie Kondo, whose 2014 book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (it came out in Japan two years earlier), persuaded swathes of readers that the “Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” would heal their souls and lives. In her new reality show, Kondo visits American families and helps them to deal with the burden of their possessions—sorting, eliminating, and arranging them in a way that streamlines not only their stuff, but also their lives. Crying over regular Jo(e)s whose gigantic life hurdles could be tackled with the cheery help of a semi-celebrity: Nothing could be more suited to the biggest lounge-around day of the year.
As might be expected of a show focused on a woman whose superpower is folding, the show has a quietly tender tone. In the first episode, Kondo and an interpreter visit the Friend family—Rachel, Kevin, and their two young children. The Friend house isn’t a Hoarders-worthy mess; it’s just the home of two working parents and two children. Kondo visits them several times over the course of a month, bearing gifts (boxes to put miscellaneous items in), encouragement (“I can feel the spirit of this bedroom”), and instruction (“Take all the clothes from everywhere in the house and pile it into one big mountain”). Just one rule reigns in the KonMari method: Keep items that “spark joy” and discard those that don’t, after thanking them for their service. That, plus a specific technique for folding clothing and linens that allows you to easily see what’s in a drawer, pretty much sums it all up.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."
Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?
"There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think... In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides."
"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."
"Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit... In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages actually declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found."
"Cutting ties with Facebook would mean consciously cutting ties with my own community, and I can't bring myself to do it. When I asked my connections on Facebook why they were staying, their answers were very similar to mine..."
Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.
"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."
"When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games..."
"Startups like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce say they're helping to reduce food waste in America. Critics say they're deceiving their customers and making the problem worse."
"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."
"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."