Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hoarding Stuff

We've talked previously about how material objects can distract one from one's purpose in life.  In light of this, collecting, while fun, can be quite deleterious to one's financial and moral being. If you are about to start a collection or have been on the first stages of major accumulation, these two titles might set you away from the death trap.

The first one is Alan Zweig's 2000 documentary Vinyl. In it he shows his and other's fondness for vinyl record collecting. It starts fine and all: as with other documentaries one kind of expects to get an inside view of a respectable interest. However, unintendedly it seems, it quite soon takes an uncomfortable turn. Instead of finding lovable, interesting interviewees, we get a whole lot of scary persons in one way or other. It starts with the man with the red shirt and doesn't let go. There are shut-ins, the man who hits the ceiling when the Zweig steps on his collection, the one who claims he's got every record in existence, and even Zweig himself making this one autobiographical if anything. The three freakiest moments are his dog, his disposal (and filming) of some of his old records on the street and the time he invites a female friend over to show her his records. This last one is so awkward that one feels sorry for the girl.

The other one is Frost's book Stuff.  In it he describes various cases of hoarding and tries to make sense psychologically of it and come up with treatments which result various degrees of success. There's the perennial goat-paths, the woman who collects pets, the one who cannot stop treating herself with clothes, the man who collects literal junk, the brothers who've got the money to accumulate actual treasures and descriptions some forced clean-outs. Irene, from the first chapter is quite charming. Definitely worth reading if you know someone with this problem.

Now, if you ever feel like beginning large-scale collecting, watch and read these two and they might scare you enough to make you desist from your project before you harm your family and loved ones.


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