People underestimate the craft
February 21, 2021 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Monica Lewinsky inteviews Roxane Gay on writing about her (paywalled) new essay on writing about trauma, including the art of writing, the choices made while writing and the boundaries required.

"Because having had people write about me and do so in ways that are inaccurate, or just wrong, or offensive—I know how that feels. I would never want anyone else to feel that way, and so I try to be careful. And I think if everyone was a little more careful and a little more thoughtful about the choices that they make, we could spare people further trauma."

Gay on metafilter, previously, e.g. (a,b,c), including criticisms of her attacking young writers.

Some from Monica Lewinsky as well (a,b)
posted by lab.beetle (15 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Monica Lewinsky inteviews Roxanne Gay on writing about her (paywalled) new essay on writing about trauma

To expand on this a bit, Lewinsky is interviewing Gay about the nuance and intricacy involved in writing about one’s trauma for public consumption, with a particular focus on Gay's new essay Writing Into The Wound.
posted by zamboni at 9:59 AM on February 21

strangest but not completely surprising interview
posted by firstdaffodils at 10:18 AM on February 21

There is a kindness yet a depth to Lewinsky's interview style and questions; no doubt informed by her own trauma. Great read, thank you for sharing.
posted by misskaz at 10:20 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]

Very interesting interview. I admire not only the subject's answers but but the excellent way Monica Lewinsky frames the questions.

Seeing Lewinsky's name in print always brings back memories of how horribly she was treated by not only Bill Clinton but a whole bunch of other people who should have known a lot better, including many so-called feminists of the day. At the time, it shook me to my core as a young woman. I'm glad she seems to be doing okay today.
posted by rpfields at 10:35 AM on February 21 [13 favorites]

GAY: You’re very familiar with this. The media will invent stories, whole cloth.

LEWINSKY: According to the tabloids, I had an alien child once, you know?

GAY: Oh, I did not realize. How are they doing?

LEWINSKY: Wonderful. I’m getting the tax credit.

GAY: Lucky!

These two are really wonderful together. Thanks for the post.
posted by Rinku at 10:36 AM on February 21 [47 favorites]

people who should have known a lot better

There's that, and there's also the prurient and salacious fascination we had, and our partisan reactions. I wasn't mentally equipped at the time to recognise the huge gulf in power that necessarily shaped their relationship, and which ought to have been the basis for any analysis of the episode; but it was objectively a small test of our capacity for decency and compassion, and boy did we fail.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:08 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]

lewinsky was on lwt, she was great. really genuine to me. sense of humor, smart, full of humanity. what an amazing person.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:26 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

It was interesting that they both had such similarly bad experiences with Terry Gross. I'm not a regular listener but I catch her interviews occasionally and it's amazing how great some are and how unfeelingly cruel she can be other times. Like everyone should just be willing to tell her their worst trauma because she's Terry Gross The Interviewer. Not much for boundaries, obviously.

Anyway, this whole piece was really well done. I have been really impressed with what Monica Lewinsky is doing whenever she shows up publicly for the past 5-10 years. She is so gracious and full of empathy, while able to get to the heart of an issue.

I'm glad to hear that people in the medical field are reading Roxane Gay. At an old job, after reading a piece by her describing the humiliation of showing up to a place with no chair she could use, I asked my boss if we could get at least one armless chair to avoid doing that to a guest in our office. He did not take me seriously at all. I wonder if he would get it if he actually read her work.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:29 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]

"lewinsky was on lwt, she was great. really genuine to me. sense of humor, smart, full of humanity. what an amazing person." It's messed up, but this is probably part of her teardown. "Let's see how much we can possibly distort this human being that couldn't be further from our projections."

It's unfortunate Terry Gross sounded aloof toward them. Sounds like an interesting interview.
posted by firstdaffodils at 12:50 PM on February 21

What paywall?

posted by kimchi at 1:26 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

What Roxane Gay describes (in her essay) about her interview with Terry Gross seems more than "aloof" to me; she repeatedly pressed Roxane with “How would you describe your body?” and did not let up when Roxane dodged the attempt to get some statement of self-loathing with "I'm tall." (I gather this exchange was not in the final edit.) I often like listening to Fresh Air, but some of the things I hear from people who have been interviewed make me uneasy about Terry's m.o.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:49 PM on February 21 [10 favorites]

kimchi, I think the paywall refers to Roxane Gay's article she wrote, "Writing Into the Wound," published on Scribd.
posted by knownassociate at 4:52 PM on February 21

I signed up for a free trial of Scribd to read Roxane's essay. I don't see it available via any typical workarounds. [My frugal unemployed self has mixed feelings about paywalls. Ultimately I want writers to get paid and I wish I had $$$$ to throw at them.]
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:12 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]

KImchi's (great username) link to the Vanity fair article.
posted by mecran01 at 7:36 AM on February 22

I've always loved Fresh Air, but I do think the program needs to look for weaknesses and own blind spots that hosts (and its Terry Gross more often then not) have and either account for them or realize that someone else may be a better interviewer for a certain guest.

In the Lizzo episode, Terry Gross really stumbled over herself and said some really prejudiced type stuff, which Lizzo called her out for in a really great way. Terry tried to explain it away with "oh in my time, feminism, etc" but I think she definitely missed the point of Lizzo's pushback.
posted by CPAGirl at 7:41 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]

« Older Aha! Let's dance in the basement!   |   A remote, lonely and desolate continent - Long may... Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.