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The Clutter Culture - Feature - UCLA Magazine Online

The Clutter Culture - Feature - UCLA Magazine Online
By Jack Feuer Published Jul 1, 2012 8:00 AM "For more than 40,000 years," write the authors, "intellectually modern humans have peopled the planet, but never before has any society accumulated so many personal possessions." Get stuff. Buy stuff. Keep it . Walk into any dual-income, middle-class home in the U.S. and you will come face to face with an awesome array of stuff—toys, trinkets, family photos, furniture, games, DVDs, TVs, digital devices of all kinds, souvenirs, flags, food and more. George Carlin famously observed that "a house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it." We are a clutter culture. A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance (Trailer) UCLA anthropologists venture into the stuffed-to-capacity homes of dual income, middle-class American families. Click here to watch full episodes. Video by UCTV Prime Life at Home is co-authored by Ochs; Jeanne Arnold, UCLA professor of anthropology; Anthony P.

Related:  Irony, Postmodernism, and Our Current Age

The Joke’s on You Steve Almond [from The Baffler No. 20, 2012] Among the hacks who staff our factories of conventional wisdom, evidence abounds that we are living in a golden age of political comedy. The New York Times nominates Jon Stewart, beloved host of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, as the “most trusted man in America.” His protégé, Stephen Colbert, enjoys the sort of slavish media coverage reserved for philanthropic rock stars. Bill Maher does double duty as HBO’s resident provocateur and a regular on the cable news circuit. BBC Future column: Why we love to hoard Here’s last week’s column from BBC Future. The original is here. It’s not really about hoarding, its about the endowment effect and a really lovely piece of work that helped found the field of behavioural economics (and win Daniel Kahneman a Nobel prize). Oh, and I give some advice on how to de-clutter, lifehacker-style. Question: How do you make something instantly twice as expensive?

Pick One Abundance is a curse. You can have anything that you want for lunch. So why eat another bland fast food hamburger and fries? There are literally hundreds of shows on the television. So why stare at another hour of screaming reality TV stars? You don’t eat, drink, or watch bad things because they are cheap. A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age - Ross Andersen - Technology Meet Jason Silva, the fast-talking, media-savvy "performance philosopher" who wants you to love the ecstatic future of your mind. I want to introduce you to Jason Silva, but first I want you to watch this short video that he made. It will only take two minutes, and watching it will give you a good idea if it's worth your time to read the extensive interview that follows: If you ever wondered what would happen if a young Timothy Leary was wormholed into 2012, complete with a film degree and a Vimeo account, you have your answer: Jason Silva. If Silva, who was born in Venezuela, seems to have natural screen presence, it's because he's no stranger to media; he worked for six years as a host at Current TV before leaving the network last year to become a part-time filmmaker and full-time walking, talking TEDTalk. Like Leary, Silva is an unabashed optimist; he sees humankind as a species on the brink of technology-enabled transcendence.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Is a Fabulous Cultural Ambassador for America - Allison Yarrow The much-maligned TLC series that recently premiered in the UK is revolutionary for its depiction of happy, unpretentious Americans handling widespread American problems. Ever wonder how Glitzy the Pig would get on in Britain? Here Comes Honey Boo Boo recently debuted there to unsurprising critical snark. The series, about seven-year-old aspiring beauty queen Alana and her freewheeling middle Georgia family, " disssassified " the Independent , who rebuked the "declasse" clan's grammar and perceived dental hygiene, christening The Learning Channel (TLC) where the show appears a "feed-pipe for low-brow reality swill." Living With Less. A Lot Less. I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff — electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets. Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.

Pinterest, Tumblr and the Trouble With ‘Curation’ A few years later, I reluctantly lent my collection of magazines to a (now former) friend. He had just bought a house that he had no idea what to do with. I, on the other hand, had nothing but ideas. O.K., they weren’t strictly mine, in the sense that these ideas were acquired, arranged, styled, photographed, published and distributed by entities bearing no relation to me whatsoever.

Obesity Pragmatism Health activists are in a tizzy over sugar and fast food, which they blame for the obesity “epidemic.” Responding to these concerns, politicians have sought to tax or regulate the alleged culprits. Tort lawyers, smelling tobacco-settlement-scale greenbacks, have been gearing up to sue companies producing sugary beverages. 60 Ways To Make Life Simple Again When we were young life was easier, right? I know sometimes it seems that way. But the truth is life still is easy. It always will be. The only difference is we’re older, and the older we get, the more we complicate things for ourselves.

Why Are Easy Decisions So Hard? One of the problems with writing a book on decision-making is that people assume I’m not terrible at making decisions. As a result, they act surprised when it takes me 10 minutes to pick a sandwich or when I confess that I still get mild panic attacks when choosing floss at the drugstore. They believe that, just because I wrote about the prefrontal cortex, I’m somehow better able to wield mine. But that’s not necessarily the case: there’s an indefatigable gap between theory and life. While it’s true that I’m no longer quite so indecisive — I don’t spend 30 minutes debating breakfast cereals in the supermarket anymore — I still suffer from the occasional bout of “paralysis-by-analysis.”