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Marie Kondo, the 35-year-old Japanese organizing consultant, seen here in July, 2019, became a cultural phenomenon in early 2019 with her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

As long-suffering readers will know, this column’s temperament can be affected by the weather. Now that December has its icy fingers all over this column, be forewarned.

This column does not appreciate walking to and from the gym at the community centre, while being bombarded by ice pellets from above and sliding ankle-deep in slush below. Honestly, in these conditions, a person could begin to feel like Andrew Scheer is feeling right now.

This column might have to buy new winter boots and doesn’t like that. This column doesn’t hold with the purchase of new winter boots. Another thing this column doesn’t like is chicanery and hypocrisy. Thus we come to that hoodwinker Marie Kondo.

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The year 2019 began with a lot of chattering about Marie Kondo and the phenomenon of her popular decluttering series on Netflix. Oh, the world was smitten with Kondo. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (still streaming on Netflix Canada) was a cultural phenomenon. Late-night talk shows conducted wars among themselves to book her for a chat. TV personality of the year, right there.

Kondo, the 35-year-old Japanese organizing consultant, had written bestselling books about decluttering and how that can make you beatific, super happy with yourself. On the show, Kondo had people following her doctrine of thanking the home for sheltering its occupants, thanking your clothes for being clothes and determining if said clothes “spark joy.” If so, the clothes had to be folded in a precise manner. If not, out they went. CNN reported that charity stores all over the world had an uptick in donations thanks to the decluttering encouraged by Kondo. There was talk of a Nobel. Well, not really, but it seemed plausible back in January.

It made sense, you see. In the First World, we all know we have too much stuff, but feel helpless, tempted and manipulated as we are by fast fashion, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the daily onslaught of social-media marketing. It’s all connected to a general sense that we live in a kaleidoscopic world of disinformation, too much information and chaotic change. What Kondo offered was a symbolic act of cleansing, a reach for simplicity in a time of stupefying consumerism. It was virtue-signalling.

Well, what has Marie Kondo done now? This column could never stand her and notes with merriment that the declutter god has opened an online store. It’s not there to sell her books. It’s to sell you stuff so you can get back to cluttering your home while Kondo plots another book to help you declutter again after buying and having too much stuff, again. Possibly followed by a new Netflix series.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Kondo. No doubt super happy with herself, Kondo is peddling, among other things, a soap dish for US$10, which can be combined with an “Earthsaver Ridged Soap Rest” for US$16, and a body brush for the eye-watering price of US$108. She’s big on cleaning and cleansing, is Kondo, while she cleans up, making substantial profit on the gullibility of people she encouraged to tidy up and discard stuff.

This column knows the difference between virtue and villainy. Back in January, in the space you are reading, the series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was called “a confidence trick.” In case you didn’t get it, this column also declared, “Flimflammery is the word for it.” As long-suffering readers know, overstatement can be an issue for this column.

Now the villainy and hogwash of it all is exposed. The spurious piety Kondo attached to getting rid of things is now exposed as a mere pause before getting you to buy more stuff. What Kondo convinced you – not you, necessarily, but loads of people – is that dealing with materialism and consumerism is about you, and you tidying up your stuff. That’s narcissism. The problem with materialism and consumerism is that it’s actually about the planet and about the debacle of what feels like final-stage capitalist despair.

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Go ahead and buy Kondo’s expensive trinkets if you want. Consult Kondo for advice on your complicated feelings about it. Sometimes new things must be bought, like winter boots. Please note that this column’s gym is at the community centre. This column isn’t fancy, but it knows fakery and hogwash. Hogwash of the year, actually, it sees in Marie Kondo’s machinations.

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