Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 489100 times)

Online serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #770 on: November 23, 2013, 04:02:54 pm »
I also have to say that I was in awe of the intrepidity of her travels. India alone at 22? I wouldn't go to India alone now.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #771 on: November 23, 2013, 05:37:15 pm »
Now that is a spoiler. I was going to mention something about that -- about how I felt more invested in her marriage than I usually am, because of that other essay -- and decided not to say anything to avoid spoilers. But now that you've let the cat out of the bag ...

Well, yeah, but I figured the only people who read and post on this thread are going to read the article anyway, so. ...

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I thought it was interesting that she never indicated the gender of her spouse. If you examine the writing, you can see she was careful to avoid using pronouns.

I noticed that immediately, and I thought it was interesting, too. She also didn't go into the how of how she conceived the child.

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I now know much more than I ever had about what it's like in Mongolia in November.


I'd say more than I cared or needed to know about November in Mongolia.  :-\

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But if I hadn't read that other essay I wouldn't know she was married to a woman. (Though of course it's possible that this is actually a different marriage.) Any theories on why she kept that undisclosed?

Good point--I'm assuming it's the gay marriage--and assuming if she had a heterosexual marriage she would have written "my husband" instead of "my spouse" or "my partner." But I suppose she could have had more than one gay/lesbian marriage, too.

Perhaps she kept that undisclosed because it might have been a distraction to readers who didn't already know she's lesbian? Plus, in a way I think the gender of her spouse is kind of irrelevant to the story she's telling. I understand that the loss of a pregnancy sometimes leads to the breakup of heterosexual couples, too.

I am very, very sad for her, and also very relieved for her. She may have come closer to dying than she even realizes. Here we go with my spoilers agaiin  ;D but my jaw dropped when I read that she pulled out the placenta. If it had adhered to her uterus, she could have torn her uterus and bled to death in that Mongolian hotel room. As it was she probably came close.  :(

I also have to say that I was in awe of the intrepidity of her travels. India alone at 22? I wouldn't go to India alone now.

Yeah, me, too.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #772 on: November 23, 2013, 06:12:38 pm »
I also have to say that I was in awe of the intrepidity of her travels. India alone at 22? I wouldn't go to India alone now.

If you're thinking about it from the standpoint of safety, India is a far safer country than the US. Every third person is not toting a concealed gun and Indians are such pacifist that they wouldn't harm a cow or even an ant. India is a very popular destination for college graduates who want to see a completely different culture.

If you're thinking that it's a long way away and an arduous plane trip, then it's better to go when you're young than when you're older and not as limber or flexible.

Depends on how you're approaching the idea.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #773 on: November 23, 2013, 06:14:00 pm »
Well, yeah, but I figured the only people who read and post on this thread are going to read the article anyway, so. ...


When I first read your comment about the article, there were 2 members reading it and 5 guests.
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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #774 on: November 23, 2013, 06:32:54 pm »
I thought it was interesting that she never indicated the gender of her spouse. If you examine the writing, you can see she was careful to avoid using pronouns. I now know much more than I ever had about what it's like in Mongolia in November, but if I hadn't read that other essay I wouldn't know she was married to a woman. (Though of course it's possible that this is actually a different marriage.) Any theories on why she kept that undisclosed?


I noticed that immediately, and I thought it was interesting, too. She also didn't go into the how of how she conceived the child.

I can confirm what you two said here. I read the article earlier today, but had never heard her name before that and thus didn't know anything about her. To be honest, I didn't notice she avoided pronouns and kept the language gender-neutral. Except once when I tipped over the expression "spouse" and found it somewhat - I don't know - strange might be a too strong word, but I noticed this one. Didn't give it a second thought though and only here on BM I learned she's lesbian.
 

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Perhaps she kept that undisclosed because it might have been a distraction to readers who didn't already know she's lesbian? Plus, in a way I think the gender of her spouse is kind of irrelevant to the story she's telling.

It is.


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I understand that the loss of a pregnancy sometimes leads to the breakup of heterosexual couples, too.

Now here's the thing I really found strange. Her marriage was over within three weeks after the incident? I can picture this put a strain on their relationship, and I know many marriages don't survive the death of a child. But that's long term. At first I would imagine a couple clinging together all the closer in such a tragedy. Holding on even tighter to the other in times of overwhelming grief.
Maybe she didn't want to get into more details about her marriage because it's not the point of the story. Similar to what Jeff said about her non-use of pronouns. But still, this tidbit of fact remains strange.


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I am very, very sad for her, and also very relieved for her. She may have come closer to dying than she even realizes. Here we go with my spoilers agaiin  ;D but my jaw dropped when I read that she pulled out the placenta. If it had adhered to her uterus, she could have torn her uterus and bled to death in that Mongolian hotel room. As it was she probably came close.  :(

Yeah, I had similar thoughts when reading the piece. :-\
I think nightmare doesn't even describe what she had to go thru. And she had to go through all of it alone. :(

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #775 on: November 23, 2013, 10:01:28 pm »
Good point--I'm assuming it's the gay marriage--and assuming if she had a heterosexual marriage she would have written "my husband" instead of "my spouse" or "my partner." But I suppose she could have had more than one gay/lesbian marriage, too.

Five to ten years ago, if I heard a woman refer to "my partner" I would assume her partner was a woman, and sometimes would be mildly surprised to find it was a man. But these days it has become such a common locution that I don't make assumptions one way or another when someone says it.

(However, I have rarely if ever heard a straight man refer to his female partner as "my partner" -- if I did, I would probably assume he meant his business partner.)

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Perhaps she kept that undisclosed because it might have been a distraction to readers who didn't already know she's lesbian? Plus, in a way I think the gender of her spouse is kind of irrelevant to the story she's telling. I understand that the loss of a pregnancy sometimes leads to the breakup of heterosexual couples, too.

( * * * SPOILER ALERT * * * )

I decided to retrieve the relevant passages. She doesn't appear to be quite bending over backward to avoid revealing gender -- the sentences feel graceful and natural -- yet the omission, over three mentions, doesn't feel quite random, either. Meanwhile, at least two men in the piece are referred to as having wives.

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I could still feel spikes of adrenaline when I was back at my desk in New York, typing, while my spouse cooked a chicken in the kitchen.

My partner—who had always indicated that I would need to cast the deciding vote on parenthood—had come with me, and we were having one of those magical moments in a marriage when you find each other completely delightful.

Within a week, the apartment we were supposed to move into with the baby fell through. Within three, my marriage had shattered.



I agree that the partner's gender is not crucial to the story. But the essay is full of details that, strictly speaking, it could have lived without: the games she played as a child, what the Greek publisher and his wife (ahem) served for dinner in their apartment, Mongolia's mineral resources. I'm not saying they were excessive or padding, I'm saying that it seems significant that out of all the details she did include, one she didn't, apparently deliberately, is the gender of her (presumably) same-sex partner.

Given that one of the benefits of marriage equality is that it "normalizes" women having wives and men husbands in mainstream minds, it would have been nice to see a casual mention of her wife without further ado. I'm always happy to see same-sex couples portrayed in the media in ways that we're used to seeing straight couples portrayed, without fanfare.

Another possibility is that this is actually a later marriage, the spouse/partner this time is a man, and if she used male pronouns she feared she'd confuse people like us who are familiar with her wedding essay. But nor did she want to have to stop and explain ("Oh, by the way, in case you read my other essay, this is someone else ...").



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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #776 on: November 23, 2013, 10:09:35 pm »
If you're thinking about it from the standpoint of safety, India is a far safer country than the US. Every third person is not toting a concealed gun and Indians are such pacifist that they wouldn't harm a cow or even an ant. India is a very popular destination for college graduates who want to see a completely different culture.

If you're thinking that it's a long way away and an arduous plane trip, then it's better to go when you're young than when you're older and not as limber or flexible.

Depends on how you're approaching the idea.

No, I'm talking about having the self-confidence to navigate a foreign environment where I can't speak or read the language and am unfamiliar with the customs. I was pretty daunted planning trips to Spain and France last summer with my sons, even though at least one of us spoke the language in either place, I've been to Europe a number of times and their cultures are more similar to ours than India's is. I'm not a very intrepid traveler, I guess.

The idea of violence didn't enter my mind in regard to India, though I'm sure in some other countries that would be a concern. The plane ride would be arduous but that alone wouldn't stop me.





Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #777 on: November 24, 2013, 12:55:37 am »
But, in India, as a former British colony, everyone speaks English!
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Offline Sason

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #778 on: November 24, 2013, 07:29:10 am »
But, in India, as a former British colony, everyone speaks English!

Just like...ahem....USA....

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #779 on: November 24, 2013, 01:05:46 pm »
I know. But I find travel challenging, though rewarding. Kudos to you for not being daunted!

Don't get me wrong -- I'd go to India, just probably not all by myself. I prefer to share my confusion with others.