Monday, May 11, 2009

Nice Job, NY TImes

I truly loved this week's Modern Love. I know that mom, and I know those girls--I mean, I don't know the author and her daughters, but I know people who have been in those positions, including on top of that train, and she just grabbed my heart, though I was glad to be feeling sympathy, rather than empathy.

Spot-on review of Ayelet Waldman's new book, about which I have been staying quiet over here, but let me just say this and this, and you'll know that obsession dies hard.

I usually can't bear Walter Kirn, whom I find a thematic and stylistic blowhard, but this essay on the emotional effects of losing your job hits the mark, though the gendering, explicit and implicit, seemed unnecessary.

More mixed feelings on Daphne Merkin's depression article. A compelling read, but more in a "Daphne Merkin was in a mental hospital?!" kind of way, than a "wow, this is a whole new take on the subject" kind of way, which is to say I'm not sure she took the fundamental insights beyond The Bell Jar, Styron, Sullivan, et al, though the piece is beautifully written, powerfully evoked, etc. I do tend to read such articles as thermometers of a sort, measuring my own mental and emotional tendencies--hmm, I do have that feeling, but, no, not that one--which I'm not quite sure is good for me or a positive comment on the literary function therof, though, then again, the comparative is surely one huge function of the literary.

More and more, I'm feeling about the media that I've read all this before, which makes me sad. And I also have to say that in the last month, I feel myself moving away from the print newspaper in a significant way. I've had less time for the newspaper this year, because I leave early in the morning so often, then some breaking news a month or so ago brought me to our local paper's website, which I've started visiting more. Ironically, the person who reads the paper most assiduously around here is M. I can't imagine we would ever stop buying it, because, well, because we just wouldn't, but these days I do feel myself more actively culpable in the inevitable decline of print.


Jackie said...

I had read Debra Gwartney's work before-- she had an essay in "I Want To Be Sedated," which is a pretty great anthology about raising teenagers-- and it was great to get another glimpse of her daughters, who were still in a freefall in the last essay I had read from her. I loved this MLove too, and it actually made me want to get her book, which doesn't often happen from those columns!

I only get the newspaper on the weekend for the coupons, and I definitely feel complicit in the death of print. What do you think of the recent proposals about newspapers turning nonprofit? David Simon spoke to Congress about it recently, I think, but I'm not quite sure :).

Sinda said...

Did you hear Ayelet's interview with Terri Gross? Worth a listen.

Thanks for the Twitter tip, I dind't know she was on there.

Elizabeth said...

Debra and her daughters were on This American Life a while back -- it was a great, heartbreaking piece.

postacademic said...

We had the same Sunday reading schedule. I turned to Daphne Merkin first, looking for some new insight into chronic depression ... but agree with you, this was simply another chronicle of depression, and the end-result was: sometimes depression just lifts on its own (if you threaten it with ECT?). But I did appreciate the use of reading Anne Enright's novel as a sign of the return to health. Something about the idea of going to a trusted friend's beach house and reading a contemporary novel just for the sake of reading seemed eminently comforting to me.

Now who do we know with a beach house?