December 27, 2013

"So cluttered was Holzberger's home that police did not find him when they searched the house Nov. 10."

"It wasn't until Retzlaff allegedly confessed to the killing three days later and told investigators exactly where to find him that police discovered the body."
Now, friends are left to contemplate a character who immersed himself in causes, survived mostly on ramen noodles, and rode around on his bicycle to mine treasures from other people's trash.

"He lived one of the most simplistic lives of anyone I've ever known," said a friend, Jim Carpenter.
"Simplistic" means — according to the (unlinkable) OED "Of the nature of, or characterized by, (extreme) simplicity. Now usu. with the connotation of excessive or misleading simplification." Carpenter's use of the word isn't wrong, just unusual. And it's unusual not merely because he meant it as a compliment, but because he looked at extreme clutter and saw admirable simplicity.

8 comments:

EDH said...

...but because he looked at extreme clutter and saw admirable simplicity.

Yet, back when it was the rage for people to declare their intent to "simplify !!!", didn't they usually begin by tossing all their "clutter"?

madAsHell said...

Soooo......simplistic is the new euphemism for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

kimsch said...


"He lived one of the most simplistic lives of anyone I've ever known," said a friend, Jim Carpenter.


I think, perhaps, Mr. Carpenter meant frugal rather than simplistic.

From the (unlinkable) OED:

"Careful or sparing in the use of food, goods, etc.; economical."

Eating Ramen, riding his bike, and collecting other people's cast-offs (one man's trash is another man's treasure?) certainly feels frugal to me.

Ann Althouse said...

There is kind of something simple about keeping everything and not putting it in any order.

One simple principle: All stuff is equal.

traditionalguy said...

Junk is junk. Southern folks call such mentally I'll hermits trash. Hoarding is a slow suicide akin to alcoholism.

But art collecting is different...we'll not really.

alan markus said...

Not a bad location for a hoarder - front yard overlooks Interstate Highway, side yard is railroad track/overpass. One house next door - not too many neighbors to get offended.

6374 N Port Washington Rd, Glendale, WI 53217

Biff said...

Althouse said... "There is kind of something simple about keeping everything and not putting it in any order. One simple principle: All stuff is equal."

Exactly correct, at least from one analytic perspective. Several lines of research are converging on the view that hoarders tend to have great difficulty prioritizing and categorizing. Everything is equally important, so nothing can be discarded.

Interestingly, when one digs beneath the surface, so to speak, the simplicity hides tremendous complexity. At first glance, it seems that a severe hoarder may have lumped everything into a big pile, i.e. a single category. In reality, most hoarders seem to place each object into *many* categories, which makes it difficult to find the "right" place to put it. Similar objects may "fit" into a wide range of non-overlapping, often contradictory categories/places, and the possibility of putting something in the "wrong" place can cause tremendous anxiety for a hoarder.

Basically, to a hoarder, each object fits into so many categories that it is impossible to judge whether one thing is more or less valuable/interesting than another. In practice, that means everything eventually ends up in one big pile.

(My mom was a severe hoarder, and it's hard to describe exactly how pathological everyday life with a hoarder can be. It goes far beyond just "stuff." Hoarders, and the people around them, often live in a state of constant stress and extreme anxiety.)

robinintn said...

"Peter was such a peace-loving person," Carpenter said. "It's difficult to understand why he was killed so violently."
I don't think the person who said this understands that there is no cause and effect in the two statements.