Muse Reporting on the arts and culture

Tidying up and moving forward

Media | Netflix series sparks a cleanliness craze
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/25/19, 03:39 pm

Whatever the mess, Marie Kondo has an adorable solution for it. On the new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the Japanese lifestyle guru helps overwhelmed Americans declutter their homes using a combination of hard work, positivity, and playfulness. In the nearly four weeks since the series debuted, its popularity has skyrocketed Kondo to fame and inspired a decluttering frenzy. Thrift stores report unprecedented increases in donations, and Kondo’s catch phrase “spark joy” is being adopted into the American vernacular.

At the start of each episode, which follows one home’s transformation from messy to tidy, Kondo kneels down and “introduces” herself to the house, asking it to “cooperate” with her changes. She talks to stuff as though it was alive, “waking up” books that have gathered dust and thanking items before throwing them away. This form of animism resonates with her clients, many of whom have become so attached to their stuff they practically have a relationship with it. Kondo helps them break up with the things that don’t bring them joy and treasure the things that do by storing them as tidily as possible.

But something sinister lurks inside those drawers of primly folded socks: the idea that joy comes from stuff. In truth, the “spark” that comes from nuzzling a favorite shirt will fade like an ember. Watching Tidying Up sparked a sense of rebellion in me that made me want to march around my basement TV room—between baskets of unfolded laundry—belting out, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart TO STAY.”

Some elements of Kondo’s methods, though, have Biblical corollaries that could help Christians who feel imprisoned in their untidy homes. Most of the families in the eight episodes can trace their lack of organization to a major life change such as the birth of children, a marriage, a death, or a cross-country move. “Since the wedding/graduation/funeral,” they say, “stuff has just piled up.” They are stuck between life stages—sometimes for much longer than is healthy—and need help moving forward.

The Bible teaches that life has distinct seasons, and each one has a purpose, including, “a time to keep and a time to cast away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6). God taught the Israelites to remember meaningful life events with monuments and festivals but to move on when they were finished and to take with them only what they needed.

Kondo often asks her clients, “What do you want to take with you into the future?” God also calls us to keep moving forward, as He did the Israelites, who, “If they had been thinking of the country they had left … would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:15-16).

Editor’s note: WORLD’s Megan Basham offered a slightly different take on Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Friday’s edition of The World and Everything in It. It’s worth a listen. She pointed out that two of the episodes feature same-sex couples, and one, I will add, has an unmarried couple expecting a child.

IMDb/Netflix IMDb/Netflix A scene from the Netflix film Roma

Netflix is crashing the Oscars

Netflix’s black-and-white epic Roma and Yorgos Lanthimos’ royal romp The Favourite dominated Oscar nominations, announced this week, earning 10 nods each, including for best picture.

Other high-ranking contenders for the 91st Academy Awards included Vice and A Star Is Born, with eight nominations each. Marvel’s mega-hit Black Panther, last year’s top grossing film, became the first superhero movie to earn an Oscar nod for best picture. Other nominees in that category were Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, and BlacKkKlansman.

With Roma, Netflix earned its first best picture nomination, a coveted prize for the streaming giant that keeps breaking Hollywood barriers. Roma, along with Netflix’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by the Coen brothers, played briefly in theaters at the end of 2018 in order to be eligible for the Oscars. Overall, Netflix received 13 Academy Award nominations.

Roma director Alfonso Cuarón landed four nominations for the Spanish-language film, based loosely on his Mexico City childhood. First-time actress Yalitza Aparicio was also nominated for her leading role in the film. (WORLD Magazine’s Emily Belz said the movie was “so achingly good I wanted to run through a brick wall after I saw it—if you know the sort of feeling I mean.”)

This year’s Oscar nominations snubbed Bradley Cooper in the best director category for A Star Is Born, as well as Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor for best documentary. The Fred Rogers documentary, an unexpected hit with rich Christian themes, grossed $22.8 million last summer, according to Box Office Mojo, and has already won a slew of other awards.

Meanwhile, Spike Lee received his first best director nomination for BlacKkKlansman, which has six nods overall.

The ceremony airs on Feb. 24 but still has no host since comedian Kevin Hart pulled out. —Mary Jackson

Associated Press/Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision (file) Associated Press/Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision (file) Bryan Singer

Impervious to #MeToo?

The Atlantic on Wednesday published an eye-opening account of the sexual assault accusations against director Bryan Singer, the mastermind behind The Usual Suspects, the X-Men franchise, and Bohemian Rhapsody. The report compiles accusations that have swirled in Hollywood for years that Singer is obsessed with teenage boys, preyed on them in the late 1990s at an infamous party house owned by friends in Encino, Calif., and has a history of erratic and abusive behavior.

But The Atlantic added new, detailed claims against Singer, including one that he molested a seventh-grade student while filming the 1998 movie Apt Pupil at a middle school near Los Angeles. Singer denies illegal conduct and having sex with anyone under age, and he has not been charged with any crimes. Seven victims in total are mentioned in the article, along with corroborating details from many others who know Singer and the victims. And yet, as of Friday, Singer was still set to receive a $10 million paycheck for directing the upcoming comic book movie Red Sonja. —L.L.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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    Posted: Fri, 01/25/2019 06:47 pm

    Maybe he doesn't believe that what he did can be defined as "having sex". 

    Remember what Clinton said about not having sex with anyone. Is Clinton's definition of sex in the new dictionary?

    The homosexual community did say they were coming after our children. And you can't find a bigger homosexual community than Hollywood.

    Is #metoo only for the female gender and/or women who have chosen female as their gender? 

    Posted: Fri, 01/25/2019 06:49 pm

    Re Kondo:

    You don't realize just how much stuff you have until you think about moving. 

    Yipes! Get the shovel!