No Joke! ADC, Part 18

Am I the first one ever to use that April first line? You’re kidding!

“Hoarding,” according to Marvin Johnson’s January 7, 2013 Antique Week cover story article, “is considered a mental health problem under the overall heading of obsessive compulsive disorder” (OCD).

Johnson’s article quotes two professionals, a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist. Each expert claims that hoarders seldom seek help for their affliction. And each suggests “a genetic predisposition to hoarding.”

We are, presumably, to celebrate the efficacy of 12-step programs where the first “step” is acknowledge having a problem. And, simultaneously one supposes, note that biology can trump intentions.

A blog posting from July 2012 discusses “the fine art of hoarding” while noting the phenomenon will have its own classification as “a distinct malaise,” apart from OCD:

The blogger’s example of losing his nuts to a “rogue wave” when he was a four year-old at the seashore, and his mother’s retrieval of them, may suggest interpretations other than those intended.

Let’s move on.

But that column’s point is that artists who retain their own work may have a “beneficial problem.”

Hoarding as therapy. Accumulating for sake of restoration and rejuvenation. Retention as (perhaps Freudian) achievement.

Self-esteem issues, an expression that has by now achieved God-term status in its scope and explanatory power, also creep into the discussions about hoarding.

Interestingly, though, the “Decorating” category of the present column’s troika, seems to date resistant if not largely immune to the pejorative or psychically debilitating associations noted for either the Accumulating or the Collecting behaviors.

Or does it?

Probably not. Accusations of “Decorating Dilettantes” strains at alliteration: a couple rather than the more common threesome. (Again, Freud looms large.) And worse: some suggest the phrase redundant.

Tom Wolfe, the contemporary writer, may have alluded to problems associated with Decorating with his labeling of “Go-to-hell-pants.” Though I believe the reference was to the attire of male golfers. But I might be making that (the latter) up.

Next week, Serious Matters. No kidding. I promise: The Art and Antiques Market Meets Baby Boomers.

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