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catherine
8-10-16, 5:04pm
Seems someone should have already posted this article, but I don't see it at first glance.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/magazine/the-oppressive-gospel-of-minimalism.html?_r=2

"The Oppressive Gospel of Minimalism" positions minimalism as almost an elitist fetish.

"There’s an arrogance to today’s minimalism that presumes it provides an answer rather than, as originally intended, a question: What other perspectives are possible when you look at the world in a different way? The fetishized austerity and performative asceticism of minimalism is a kind of ongoing cultural sickness."

Thoughts?

Ultralight
8-10-16, 5:06pm
I posted it already.

catherine
8-10-16, 5:07pm
I posted it already.

I figured as much :)

... I didn't see it. Can you post the link to the thread? I'd be interested in the comments. I probably commented and I'd like to know what I said.

Ultralight
8-10-16, 5:10pm
I was incorrect. I think Rogar posted it to a different thread. I merely commented on it. I bumped that thread.

Ultralight
8-10-16, 5:11pm
Excellent comments in that NYT article! Enjoy:

"Wow. 'A writer living in Brooklyn." Now THERE are spectacular credentials for telling us all what to think and how to live. Oh, the Authority!"

"So by choosing to use my limited disposable income wisely, and not fill my modest apartment with crap I don't need, I am now in league with an oppressive movement which marginalizes the poor? Right. Makes total sense."

"I'm s mimlst I rrly s vwls"

LDAHL
8-10-16, 5:22pm
The next time my wife orders me to clear out the garage, I'm going to tell her "The fetishized austerity and performative asceticism of minimalism is a kind of ongoing cultural sickness".

What is it that makes people take perfectly ordinary and reasonable ideas like "waste not want not" and turn them into some sort of high-minded cultural movement that inspires pedantic social criticism? New York writers need to get a life.

ApatheticNoMore
8-10-16, 5:42pm
It's hard to tell what the author is on about, I mean I think she is criticizing something very specific, say some very narrow subculture she has personally encountered or something, but since most people probably don't have that context (whatever it is) and minimalism is a very broad term it's like hmm, clickbait?

I suppose the almost points made in the article are on electronic versions of everything, that form of minimalism, has an environmental impact. Ok but most people do know that to a degree. Or that it makes sense to hold on to spare pairs of things if one doesn't have any ability to replace them (savings) and they might be needed.

I have no desire to be like the person in her article, if I had a college diploma I wouldn't throw it away, I'd want proof of it (I do realize colleges keep transcripts etc. even so), ugh.

Teacher Terry
8-10-16, 5:50pm
When I down sized my diplomas were one of the things I kept. I did take them out of their frames and put them in a folder. Now that I don't have a office outside of my home I am not going to hang them anywhere so no point in that. I also kept my college transcripts. I think there are some papers that you need to keep. Sometimes things can be hard to get when you need them.

Sloeginfizz
8-10-16, 11:20pm
Most transcripts are super easy to get these days, especially if from a large university. I know because the job I recently was hired at asked for my school transcripts. I had three transcripts I needed to get - BA, MLS and paralegal certificate. I was able to order them all on-line. Two of the three emailed the transcript right to the hiring manager in an automated process, the other, from a small liberal arts college, had to to mail a paper copy even though I was able to order online. Most places that would want your transcripts would want an official copy direct from the school. No reason to keep your own copy of a transcript unless maybe your school closed down. And no one in the 27 years since I graduated high school has ever asked to see any of my diplomas. I don't think I bothered to order the MLS (you had to pay extra for it. And I graduated at the end of a summer session so I didn't walk at commencement, so I never bothered).

I guess to me, the important thing was the accomplishments themselves and the education, not a fancy piece of paper. My degrees are not the diplomas, nor even the transcripts.

iris lilies
8-11-16, 1:00am
A few decades ago our HR department asked for a copy of our diploma foe our advanced degree. I had a vague memory if sending it to them a few years prior, maybe I did or didnt. But I ignored this request and lived to work there another 20 years.

catherine
8-11-16, 8:33am
I wonder if for some minimalism is the secular answer to monasticism? Every time I look at a monk's living quarters, I tend to salivate--going "minimalist" as a spiritual exercise can be a useful tool, but to put the theme of this article in Buddhist language: The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. In other words, being minimalist for its own sake isn't the point.

So, what is the point? (That's not a rhetorical question--I'm sure everyone has their own answer to that).

creaker
8-11-16, 9:23am
I think I understand the thrust of the article - that minimalism is yet just another sales pitch to sell stuff, and just another way for some of the sneeches to stand out from the others.

I think the article misses the point that anything that becomes a meme, or goes viral, or just becomes more popular gets commercialized and marketed. Today it's minimalism on sale. It's not an actual component of minimalism that it's an "elitist fetish" - it's just being marketed that way, turning yet another life philosophy into a fad that one can make profit from. When the market saturates, they'll package and push something else. And the same folks will rush out to buy that.

All this marketing and selling has nothing to do with the actual value or worth of minimalism itself to a person who has actually embraced it as a lifestyle.

catherine
8-11-16, 9:24am
All this marketing and selling has nothing to do with the actual value or worth of minimalism itself to a person who has actually embraced it as a lifestyle.

Great points, creaker.

oldhat
8-11-16, 3:38pm
I'm always amused that these contrarian discussions about minimalism inevitably describe minimalism as a phenomenon that exists only among the affluent. Um, duh. Minimalism is a subcategory of voluntary simplicity. Of course it can only exist among the relatively affluent, otherwise it's involuntary simplicity, i.e., poverty.

Ultralight
8-11-16, 3:53pm
All this marketing and selling has nothing to do with the actual value or worth of minimalism itself to a person who has actually embraced it as a lifestyle.

:cool:

Ultralight
8-11-16, 3:54pm
I'm always amused that these contrarian discussions about minimalism inevitably describe minimalism as a phenomenon that exists only among the affluent. Um, duh. Minimalism is a subcategory of voluntary simplicity. Of course it can only exist among the relatively affluent, otherwise it's involuntary simplicity, i.e., poverty.

I am a minimalist and far from affluent. And my distance from affluence was a reason I minimized.

bae
8-11-16, 3:58pm
I am a minimalist and far from affluent. And my distance from affluence was a reason I minimized.

http://blogs.ft.com/photo-diary/files/2014/06/pickers.jpg

ApatheticNoMore
8-11-16, 4:05pm
I think with a lot of people it's not even a pursuit of some platonic minimalist ideal. It's just decluttering which can be simply PRACTICAL for just about everyone at some point in their lives (better to not buy as much, yes but stuff tends to accumulate anyway even if it's just pieces of paper). For others it's just an aesthetic preference, and since aesthetic preferences are not really right nor wrong ... it's like arguing style of music or something.


I wonder if for some minimalism is the secular answer to monasticism? Every time I look at a monk's living quarters, I tend to salivate--going "minimalist" as a spiritual exercise can be a useful tool, but to put the theme of this article in Buddhist language: The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. In other words, being minimalist for its own sake isn't the point.

So, what is the point? (That's not a rhetorical question--I'm sure everyone has their own answer to that).

Well I like this comment at the NYT the best on the article (other people were just busy fighting the lifestyle wars, rural living versus urban living etc.)


Decluttering is laudable, but its difficult to refrain from eye rolls reading of one navel-gazer's rationale for throwing away his diploma. I've no pity, let alone sympathy for such characters after listening to struggling family members "downsized" by merging companies.

An eye on the larger picture of the community around us would be a more worthy pursuit.

That's the point?

Ultralight
8-11-16, 4:09pm
bae:

I am also far from poverty, but not as far as I am from wealthy.

Florence
8-11-16, 4:36pm
The next time my wife orders me to clear out the garage, I'm going to tell her "The fetishized austerity and performative asceticism of minimalism is a kind of ongoing cultural sickness".

What is it that makes people take perfectly ordinary and reasonable ideas like "waste not want not" and turn them into some sort of high-minded cultural movement that inspires pedantic social criticism? New York writers need to get a life.

And then you will go and clear out the garage.

oldhat
8-11-16, 5:36pm
I am a minimalist and far from affluent. And my distance from affluence was a reason I minimized.

I said relatively affluent. As bae's photo obliquely points out, compared to most of the world, the poorest person in the U.S. is rich.

This is no comment on your personal situation, since I don't know the details.

Ultralight
8-11-16, 6:26pm
Conflating abject poverty with minimalism does not make sense.

bae
8-11-16, 6:49pm
Conflating abject poverty with minimalism does not make sense.

Ignoring your white male middle-class educated American privilege while claiming to be "far from affluent" makes no sense. Unless you are confining yourself to "First World Problems", like what kind of car to buy to go recreational fishing with.

Ultralight
8-11-16, 7:08pm
Ignoring your white male middle-class educated American privilege while claiming to be "far from affluent" makes no sense. Unless you are confining yourself to "First World Problems", like what kind of car to buy to go recreational fishing with.

I make $45,000 a year.

Subtract $35,000. Then you could say I was in poverty (perhaps not abject poverty) at $10,000 a year.

So I am $35k from being in poverty.

I am much closer to poverty than affluence -- affluence is something I strongly suspect you know quite a bit about.

Do you know how much CEOs and other corporate execs make? Are you aware of how much wealth disparity there is in this nation and the world?

bae
8-11-16, 7:11pm
You can lead a privileged horse to water....

Ultralight
8-11-16, 7:13pm
You can lead a privileged horse to water....

bae:

I am fully aware of my privilege. Are you trying to make me feel guilty about the privilege I have?

I am pointing out that I am closer to poverty than affluence. You think an Ohioan who makes $45,000 a year is affluent.

I think some corporate exec and bankers are affluent.

Perspective.

Zoe Girl
8-11-16, 7:19pm
if 'minimalism' means dumping large quantities of cheap goods into landfills after overdoing it American-style then that can be a problem. I struggle with how to get rid of things responsibly since my mom passes so much on to me. But when I get rid of things there are so many ways to try and do it responsibly. If I lived minimally by American standards forever I would still have a huge impact on the earth much higher than the other countries. But I still gotta try

Meanwhile I just have to think that the author ran into some sort of rabid down-sizer who was preaching too much. I got so much grief for years because I was vegetarian, there were a lot of annoying vegetarians and vegans after all.

ApatheticNoMore
8-11-16, 7:28pm
It's probably solidly and genuinely middle class which I hear is an endangered species these days (yes of course you'd have to adjust that income up if you lived somewhere with a high cost of living like on the coasts - it's not very middle class in NYC). Of course all the debt might make it less middle class.

Chicken lady
8-11-16, 7:29pm
Ultralite, my dd makes less than that, her dh is in school (but not paying tuition), they live in an Ohio city, she saves a big chunk (but has no loan payment) and I would call her lifestyle affluent. As would she. Ymmv. I realize debt can make a huge difference. Also, they were gifted basically all their household goods.

for me affluence is having all your needs met and enough wants to enjoy your life, and not worrying about your next paycheck. I'm willing to let people who are into minimalism define it for themselves.

Chicken lady
8-11-16, 7:36pm
Also, it seems like being a minimalist would make you feel more affluent because you would be realistic about your needs, but then again, I guess you could still have some very expensive high priority wants, so maybe not.

TVRodriguez
8-11-16, 7:58pm
I am going to skip the article b/c I'm in the middle of a Marie Kondo decluttering and I'm loving it. I'm not pretending to be a minimalist, to be honest. But I didn't really need to keep some of the stuff I've been keeping just because I always had it.

Ultralight
8-11-16, 8:30pm
if 'minimalism' means dumping large quantities of cheap goods into landfills after overdoing it American-style then that can be a problem.

Excellent rationale for turning one's house into a landfill.


I struggle with how to get rid of things responsibly since my mom passes so much on to me. But when I get rid of things there are so many ways to try and do it responsibly. If I lived minimally by American standards forever I would still have a huge impact on the earth much higher than the other countries. But I still gotta try

Tell your mom "no."

Also: Is it really better to play matchmaker with tons of stuff everyone else probably already has two or three of? Drive all over donating it, dink around on the internet trying to find someone who will pick it up, etc. How does that really help?

Why not admit a mistake, make a reasonable effort to sell what you can, give away what you can, donate to Goodwill what you can, then trash the rest and don't buy no more!


Meanwhile I just have to think that the author ran into some sort of rabid down-sizer who was preaching too much. I got so much grief for years because I was vegetarian, there were a lot of annoying vegetarians and vegans after all.

The author is just trying to make a name for herself as a writer. Click-bait.

Ultralight
8-11-16, 8:32pm
To bae:

Let me again quote a sharp wit in the comments of this article:

"So by choosing to use my limited disposable income wisely, and not fill my modest apartment with crap I don't need, I am now in league with an oppressive movement which marginalizes the poor? Right. Makes total sense."

Ultralight
8-11-16, 8:32pm
I am going to skip the article b/c I'm in the middle of a Marie Kondo decluttering and I'm loving it.

Excellent! Full support. :)

LDAHL
8-12-16, 10:09am
And then you will go and clear out the garage.

Yes. But from a position of ethical and aesthetic superiority.

iris lilies
8-12-16, 10:55am
And then you will go and clear out the garage.
Hahaha. Haha. Ha. Yep.

iris lilies
8-12-16, 10:57am
Yes. But from a position of ethical and aesthetic superiority.
This little sidebar discussion was hilarious!

LDAHL
8-12-16, 11:00am
This little sidebar discussion was hilarious!

Florence and I are exposing America's silent shame: wife privilege.

TVRodriguez
8-12-16, 2:22pm
Excellent! Full support. :)

Thanks!