2011: The Year the Walls Kept Closing In

As 2011 draws to a close, it will be remembered for many things: the #Occupy movement, the death of ruthless North Apple CEO and dictator Kim Jobs-Il, and the UN resolution to enforce sanctions against Portland, OR for crimes against humility all leap to mind. However, there is one phenomenon that has come to define the year 2011 above all else. That phenomenon is minimalism.

Minimalism is a movement consisting of people who admire modern furniture and who covet Apple products, and who have deftly hidden their avarice beneath a veneer of spirituality as deftly as Kim Jobs-Il hid the workings of his products beneath pieces of brushed aluminum. Well, yesterday I mentioned The World's Douchiest Wedding, and as it happens the groom's boss and "keynote speaker" at the wedding (when you don't have friends, you get a "keynote speaker" instead of a best man) is quite an accomplished minimalist named Graham Hill. In fact, Hill even gave one of those "TEDTalks." TEDTalks basically consist of people from various fields verbally "foffing off" before a disgustingly appreciative audience, and Hill pleasured himself so sensuously during his that the "Huffington Post" included it in their "Best of TED 2011 Countdown:"

Here is the video itself, but if you're squeamish about watching men masturbate I've also included a summary below:

Hill begins his presentation while seated on a box. This box is what motivational speakers call a "prop," or a "hackneyed symbol," and presumably Hill came up with this one after watching George Clooney do his whole backpack schtick in the movie "Up in the Air:"

Hill then explains that we have lots more space now:

"Did you know that we Americans have about three times the amount of space we had 50 years ago?"

Which, for some reason, is a problem. Then, he starts in on the whole minimalist "joys of less" thing:

"I bet most of us have experienced at some point the joys of less. College, in your dorm; traveling, in a hotel room; camping, where you've got basically nothing, maybe a boat... Whatever it was for you, I bet that among other things, this gave you a little more freedom, a little more time."

Well, yeah, traveling or camping might give you "a little more freedom, a little more time," but that's because when you do those things you're on vacation. People take all kinds of vacations, but that doesn't mean we should use our vacations as a template for life. Some people's idea of a great vacation is going to Disneyworld. Does that mean we should all wear Mickey Mouse ears and adopt the Disney Dollar? That's what most of Europe did with the Euro, and it doesn't seem to be working out too well for them. As for the joys and freedoms of college, that's less about the minimalist functionality of dorm room living and more about stuff like drunken parties, four-foot bongs, and not being an adult yet. Nevertheless, the conclusion Hill draws from all of this is as follows:

Fine. Sure, life can be a bit easier if you trim the proverbial fat now and again, but this is hardly a revelation to anybody except a minimalist like Graham Hill, for whom even the basic mechanics of life are all transcendent. So did he take his incredible discovery that everybody else knew already, use it to make his life better, and proceed shut the hell up about it? No, he didn't. Instead, he started a project called "Life Edited" to "further this conversation and to find some great solutions in this area:"

So how do you "further conversations" and "find some great solutions" to the painfully obvious? By "crowdsourcing" the interior design of your crappy apartment:

"I wanted it all," explains Hill. "Home office, sit-down dinner for 10, room for guests, and all my kite-surfing gear." Ah, yes, kite-surfing, the Rollerblading of the sea.

So basically, he wanted a douchebag's dream apartment in which he could stow his goofy sporting goods and entertain his friends who also wear sport jackets with jeans and who doubtless Rollerblade on land, sea, and air. So, being the good minimalist that he is, he immediately paid way too much for almost nothing--or, as he explains it, "By buying a space that was 420 square feet instead of 600, immediately I'm saving 200 grand:"

Wow. If he saved $200,000, that works out to $1,111.11 per square foot, which in turn means the guy telling us how to make our lives better by saving money paid $466,666.66 for his tiny shitbox.

Not only that, but he also says that "because it's really designed around an 'edited' set of possessions--my favorite stuff--and really designed for me, I'm really exited to be there." Note the crazed eyes as he tries to convince himself that he actually enjoys living in a half-million dollar version of the trash compactor from "Star Wars:"

I will give Hill one thing, which is that he's a refreshing antidote to all those HGTV shows about flipping houses and getting rich with real estate. Instead, here's a guy telling you to simply spend a fortune to confine yourself in a tiny space specifically so you can go broke--or, as he calls it, "live little."

"So how can you 'live little?," asks Hill rhetorically, since anybody with any sense now sees his life as a cautionary tale. "Three main approaches." Here's the first:

What does that mean? Well, it means "That shirt, that I haven't worn in years? Time for me to let it go."

Wow, that's some ruthless editing. But getting rid of that shirt isn't enough, because "Secondly, our new mantra, 'Small is Sexy:'"

Hill may have inadvertently revealed something about his own physical attributes here. I guess minimalism is the new "overcompensating." In other words, Porches are out, tiny apartments are in. Also, "Why have a six-burner stove when you rarely use three?"

Really, this is the problem, people with too many burners? Who the hell even has a six-burner stove anyway? Is that thing Photoshopped?

But the third and final part of his brilliant scheme of self-imprisonment is by far the most cunning, and that involves having stuff that's "multifunctional:"

Or, to put it in layman's terms, having a sink that's also a toilet:

So basically, here's a man who lives in a half-million dollar home the size of a minivan and is forced to brush his teeth and defecate in the same bathroom fixture telling us how to live. This guy truly is the world's worst motivational speaker. "One day," he might as well be saying, "if you work really, really hard, you too can wash your hands in your own pee."

Also, he sleeps on his dining table:

You've probably heard the expression "Don't shit where you eat." Presumably though it's okay to sleep where you eat, and then the next morning to brush your teeth using the same fixture into which you defecate.

Most crucially though, everything folds:

Which I'm sure is a lot easier and more efficient than simply walking into another room in a larger half-million dollar home that's actually worth what you paid:

All this to have a "smaller footprint," making this lifestyle the 21st century equivalent of footbinding.

Amazingly though, after all this, Hill still has the audacity to tell us to "Consider the benefits of an edited life."

Right, let's see, as far as I can tell the benefits are:

--Spending a ton of money
--Having very little to show for it
--Having to fold your entire apartment like a paper fortune teller every time you need to take a dump

In recent years, people like this have been ruining the word "curate" by using it when they mean "edit." Now, though, they want to ruin the word "edit" too, since sometimes editing means actually adding stuff. I think the word Hill is looking for here is "mangling."

Anyway, the video is accompanied by words from the groom from The World's Douchiest Wedding, who adds this:

We launched the LifeEdited project last year because we believe the story of humankind needs a good edit.

Humankind needs a good edit, huh? They're in good company. Kim Jong-Il thought the same thing.

Oh, also, this apartment will be "the launch pad for an editing movement:"

This small apartment will be the launch pad for an editing movement. We envision a future with large-scale developments that have beautiful, compact units, communal spaces and sharing systems. These spaces are extremely energy efficient and have healthy, safe air. These developments will support people in focusing on what's important to them. We envision a world where people spend more time with one another, where possessions and time can be shared, not hoarded, where products are passed onto children, not trash collectors

Yeah, right. You couldn't launch a water rocket out of that overpriced Rubik's Cube.

The only explanation I can possibly come up with for minimalism as a philosophy is that the 1% is using their lackeys in the 10% to convince the remaining 90% that cleansing and relieving yourself in the same body of water is actually desirable, and by 2050 we'll be back to fiefdoms.

Speaking of desirable, I don't really get the whole embrocation obsession in cycling, but apparently the only thing more desirable than burning hot goo is burning hot goo that's the subject of an intellectual property dispute:

Hot and hard-to-find (we ordered ours from New Zealand), Qoleum is the subject of an intellectual-property dispute that at least one expert tester felt "added to the mystique." Testers also praised it for its scent and for being easy to apply.

Bratz dolls were also the subject of an intellectual property dispute. Why not just rub one of those on your leg?

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