ReaderWriterVille

Blog in progress

[I’m trying a new type of post, which WordPress calls “aside” posts. They’re supposed to be like notes, and this theme supports them, but they seem to look like every other post but without a title. Which is not really that helpful in distinguishing them from regular posts. So if you don’t see a title, it’s an Aside post.]

The GOP debate is so frustrating to me. On the one hand, this is five months before the first primaries, ten months before the last primaries, and nearly a full year before the Republican Party’s nominating convention. Most voters aren’t paying attention. The main people who care are scholars, political junkies, and media types who have to fill the 24/7 news hole. And you can probably add to that list, people who enjoy reality shows with a substantial humiliation component. Nate Silver observed that the correlation between GOP candidate standing and media coverage is .92, which almost entirely explains Donald Trump.

On the other hand, campaigns don’t run on votes, they run on money. And right now is when candidates are jockeying for donors. Not the you and me kind of donors, but the Koch and Soros kinds of donors. And if they don’t get money now, they won’t be around when the you and me donors (and voters) start to pay attention. So even though the whole enterprise feels like a sideshow with clowns, it has important consequences. However much we hate it, this is our circus (if you’re a US voter), and they’re kind of our monkeys.

I didn’t get into political science for politainment, but that seems to be the main course these days.

Still not watching, though.

Decluttering update: The joy version

Somewhat against my will, I have been swept up in the enthusiasm for Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I picked up both the ebook and audio versions and listened to/read a bit, but then I got sidetracked. When Marilyn reviewed it at her blog a couple of months ago, though, I was sucked back in. I listened to the whole thing on audio (the narrator is quite good), and while parts of the approach seemed a bit much, the overall idea was intriguing and made sense to me.

I wrote a quick post about my experience over at Booklikes, and I’ll probably write a proper review of the book at some point. Here I’m going to talk about my experience following one part of the plan: tidying up my clothes. A couple of years ago I did a big purge of clothes and shoes with the help of a friend. I did another, smaller one in my main closet this past winter and I found it very useful.

Kondo’s method is drastic and potentially overwhelming: you take everything in a category (clothes, books, papers, etc.), pile all of the items on the floor, and then pick each piece up individually and ask yourself, does this give me joy? If it does, you keep it to one side. If it doesn’t, into the bin it goes.

The joy requirement sounds odd at first, at least it did to me. But it turns out to make a lot of sense. We all buy things on impulse, or because someone told us we look good in that particular color, or because we needed a particular item for an event. And then there are the things that we used to love and don’t anymore, or that is well past its prime but we can’t give up.

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