“Hoarding Buried Alive”

This video focuses on the aspect of entertainment that Herring touches on at the end of his article. Years after the discovery of the brother’s bodies, news articles were still being written about the strange events that could have occurred in the Collyer house. The novel My Brother’s Keeper is based on the story of the brothers, and there are a number of other popular media representations of the brothers. Herring discusses how the novel maintains a connection between the racial representation of Harlem and the disorganized state of the Collyer house.

In this video, I aim to discuss the careless representations of people who are suffering from mental illness in programs such as Hoarding Buried Alive. The video starts with a quote from Herring’s article discussing the fascination the media has with hoarders. I then overlap photos from the Collyer house with the recording from a promo for a show about hoarders. Following this, I provided a video from a Hoarding Buried Alive episode, in which a child is traumatically effected by his mothers mental illness.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do these representations of hoarders relate to disgust?
  2. What do these representations say about mental illness in general, and how do they effect our thoughts and stereotypes surrounding mental illness?
  3. What are the implications of these stereotypes?
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