The first decade
September 18, 2013 7:01 AM   Subscribe

This was a great piece! Some people will probably turn off when they read she is from a school-neighborhood with a mean income of 145 400$ with silly rich-girl problems, but I found it did a great job of sharing a slice of her childhood and worldview.

The comparison piece in the print version of the Walrus (which, by the way, a beautiful, fully scanned iPad version is available each month FREE from the Toronto Public Library) explicitly references Susan Orlean's 1992 Esquire article: The American Male at Age 10.
posted by cacofonie at 7:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

Who is Natalie Merchant?

A fair question.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:26 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I learned rather more about the author than I had an inclination to so do. What did the family object to?
posted by Ideefixe at 7:36 AM on September 18, 2013

Ideefixe: "What did the family object to?"

Don't know. I looked before posting but didn't see anything online.
posted by zarq at 7:47 AM on September 18, 2013

I too am a Selena Gomez fan (but for different reasons).
posted by cjorgensen at 7:54 AM on September 18, 2013

I love Katrina Onstad's writing.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:57 AM on September 18, 2013

It's a reminder of both porous and news-resistant our psyches are. Thanks for posting!
Then the volume increases, and sadness becomes a game of one-upmanship. Clearly, what is the nightly news to adults is an ongoing horror movie to kids.

Ileana: “I’m worried for middle school and high school, because that’s when you have suicidal thoughts.”

Caitlyn: “There was that guy on the bus who was eating someone’s face!”

Mackenzie: “There was that guy in Africa, Kony? He took kids and had them kill their parents—”

“That was last year,” says Ileana. “On YouTube.”

Mackenzie: “There was that guy who was cutting off people’s body parts and shipping them. He only did that because they were Asian.”

Then Caitlyn, cheerful Caitlyn, tops them all with a surprising, soft-spoken concern: “I’m scared of dying.”
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:03 AM on September 18, 2013

Wow, that was wonderful. Sweet an poignant, a lovely glimpse into this girl's life as well as some good context. It helped me remember what it was like to be ten, and even though I was a poor white girl and it was twenty years ago, I wasn't all that different from the girls written about here. Being ten is a strange mix of naïveté and worldliness.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you are over thirty, then the idea of being ten in 2013 is a head scratcher. We can’t imagine a childhood so mediated by technology, though a ten-year-old can’t imagine a life without it.

I found this line to be a bit of a head-scratcher. Maybe I just have a good imagination? There were things about being 10 in 1983 that were alien to our parents, too, many of them involving technology. Sure, the details of the technology are different now, but humans work the same way.

On the other hand:

Please be aware that this article does not fully express the views of the subject family and they have sent a letter to the editor.

Oh good grief, the writer's job was not to fully express the views of the subject family. Ugh.
posted by desuetude at 5:13 PM on September 18, 2013

I really enjoyed reading this, and I too wonder what the concern of the subject family was... I'm not even sure any 'views' of the family were really expressed; it primarily seemed to be a descriptive piece and there's nothing any one of the girls said that could come back to haunt them on a future google search or anything, as far as I an tell.
posted by modernnomad at 11:29 PM on September 18, 2013

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