Think Piece Roundup

Think Piece Roundup: Marie Kondo and The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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I’m fascinated by America’s current fixation with Marie Kondo. I’ve been familiar with the KonMari method for years now, from an old boss who eagerly anticipated getting their hands on the English translation of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up back in 2014. And though I had an inkling that Kondo’s gentle, thoughtful approach to organization had the potential to reach the upper echelons of spirited office lunch hour conversations, I never would have imaged that this cheery, shiny-haired tidying fairy could actually cause thrift stores across the country to restrict their intake due to an overwhelming increase in donations.

Not only has Kondo caused the creation of a slew of new memes, a dedicated r/konmari subreddit with over 40k followers, and an entirely new verb, but thanks in part to her wildly popular Netflix series, it seems that Kondo and her methods have sent more than a few cultural pundits into a typing frenzy. Read on for a curated list of articles about the internet’s latest obsession, from an assessment of “the privilege of clutter,” to a dissection of the not-so-subtle racist outcry against the organizing guru.

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Think Piece Roundup

Think Piece Roundup: Crazy Rich Asians

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For the record: I loved the film adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel. I’m a self-professed romantic comedy junkie who frequently gets suckered into watching any movie even remotely resembling the genre. On top of that, I’m an Asian American constantly tip-toeing the line between being “too Asian” in some contexts and “not Asian enough” in others. I am this movie’s target demographic.

That said, I also grew up in the Philippines during the era of Flor Contemplacion. For those unfamiliar, Contemplacion was a Filipino domestic worker who was charged with murder and executed by the Singaporean government. Her death caused a political firestorm, souring relations between the Philippines and Singapore for years after, as well as sparking a renewed interest in the treatment of OFWs and the intersection of class, ethnicity, and power in the geopolitical sphere. Needless to say, I’m always curious to see how—but more often than not, if—filmic portrayals address this tangled web of issues.

And so, although I cherish the opportunity to watch a glitzy Hollywood rom-com starring a bunch of people who look a lot like me—I think it’s worth spending the time to take stock of the discussions surrounding Crazy Rich Asians, both good and bad. Because even if it didn’t rake in over $160 million at the box office, the film still has all the trappings of a movie that launches a thousand think pieces—and thankfully not the kind that has to explain “Whitewashing 101.” Read on for a small, curated slice of these conversations, from articles criticizing the film’s treatment of ethnic minorities in Singapore to writers celebrating the fact that this movie has moved us along just enough that we’re now able to discuss the delicate nuances of Asian identity in a global context.

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Think Piece Roundup

Think Piece Roundup: This Is America

CW: Video contains graphic violence.

ICYMI—Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) dropped a new track last week, and its accompanying music video has driven the internet’s think piece generator into overdrive. With the video’s overt political themes, surrealist—if extremely violent—imagery, and over 107 million YouTube views and counting, it comes as no surprise that a lot of people have a lot of thoughts about Gambino’s latest offering. Read on for some deep cuts about the video, from its use of “kinesthetic empathy” to criticisms regarding the video’s intended audience.

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