Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Hoarders"

Today is Saturday, 13 November 2010.

We’ve become familiar with hoarding through “reality” television, usually in cases where the hoarded items are “worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary”, and the more of each of the latter, the better. While this sort of hoarding is obviously a mental disorder, there is a keen resemblance to another behaviour which is highly approved by capitalist society: conspicuous consumption.

(The hoarding “reality” shows are among the most reprehensible of their ilk. As did Queen for a Day in the Fifties, these shows exploit human misfortune and misery to give viewers a sick “pleasure”.)

For example, it’s common for very wealthy persons to own multiple homes, most of which are frequently in “resort”-type areas and are used only a few days or weeks a year. In economic terms, this is obviously foolish behaviour. One would be much better off, in expenditure terms, to rent an equivalent home for the short times one is in a particular locale, rather than carrying the cost of usually-unused space year after year.

However, the latter is entirely the point: to demonstrate that one is so wealthy that one can be absurdly profligate, flushing monies down Mr. Crapper’s invention.

Conspicuous consumption is a social disorder, at least as malignant in its way as is hoarding caused by mental disorders. One may suspect that the latter behaviour may well be reinforced by the former, with the mentally ill unconsciously imitating those socially disordered, collecting that which they can afford: garbage.

Thus, the likes of Donald Trump are every bit as much hoarders as any less-wealthy garbage addict. The difference: the garbage addict isn’t reprehensible, since their motivation is illness. Trump is reprehensible, since his motivation is simple, nasty greed, and exhibitionism thereof.

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