Japanese organizing doyenne Marie Kondo has been at the front of everyone's mind since her Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo debuted, placing the question "Does it spark joy?" into the American conversation and teaching everyone how to fold their clothes like origami. Author Barbara Ehrenreich, however—a liberal writer behind the pro-working class best-seller Nickel and Dimed, per the AP—doesn't seem to get the Kondo craze, and a couple of tweets she posted Monday are now getting slammed for being racist and xenophobic. People reports on the first tweet, which has since been deleted: "I will be convinced that America is not in decline only when our de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo learns to speak English" (Kondo speaks only a few words of English on her show, using a translator and subtitles to communicate with the people she helps and her audience).
After pushback, Ehrenreich deleted that tweet, then tried to clarify: "I confess: I hate Marie Kondo because, aesthetically speaking, I'm on the side of clutter. As for her language: It's OK with me that she doesn't speak English to her huge American audience but it does suggest that America is in decline as a superpower." That one's still up, but so is the ire of many. "Let's not forget that even otherwise 'progressive' white folks have a huge capacity for racism," one commenter remarked, per USA Today. Poet Katha Pollitt tried to stand up for Kondo and got her own flak when she tweeted: "I think her speaking Japanese adds to her fairy-like delicacy and charm." Pollitt has since tried to walk her comment back, as has Ehrenreich, who posted, "Sorry to anyone offended by my tweet about Marie Kondo! Sometimes my attempts at subtle humor just don't work." She added that "I heartily encourage the use of languages other than English everywhere and at all times." (Read more Marie Kondo stories.)