more minimalism

There’s a knock-knock joke that goes like this:

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Philip Glass.

Which is a hilarious dart aimed at another minimalism.   But I found myself thinking of it upon looking at this recent NYTimes piece on minimal living, which sings the same old song.  This time, though, I noticed something new—although I think it’s been there in the minimalists’ writing all along.  Hill says:

My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.

And I realized: no, your relationship with material things really is unusual, and it’s disingenuous to say otherwise.  Most people—whether we take ‘most’ historically or currently—don’t have a problem due to owning too many material things.  “Affluenza” is a malady of the affluent; that’s obvious.  But it never before struck me that part of the rhetorical trick of the minimalist is to present the affliction as normal.

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