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January 30, 2012

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Comments

J.P.

I'm thoroughly depressed. The Clementi sadness is sort of like the white noise of a fan always in the background which tends to get louder and louder as another teen is hurt or killed or that more bigots try to pass the kinds of bills that Tennessee is trying to pass.

Though today there was a brightness: did you read about the Knoxville restaurant Bistro at the Bijou. It's not a major win, but it's enough for today.

Matteilar.wordpress.com

Wow. I love your site, but completely disagree with your take on the New Yorker piece.

I agree that it didn't cover any of the issues that tie Clementi's death to the rest of the gay teen suicides, but I don't see that as a negative; it's outside of the scope of the article and the issues the writer wanted to cover. Clementi left a note for his family, but that hasn't been released to the public, and it seems (at least from the information included in the article) that it is the only documentary evidence of his state of mind before jumping. His family and his roommate are the only ones that have any idea about what specifically might have been going through his head at that time, and any discussion about any turmoil about his sexuality would have been conjecture and irresposible conjecture besides.

Furthermore, I think the article is really perceptive about the ways that new modes of communication between teens (including sites like formspring, which is incredibly popular with connected tweens and teens but is almost never reported on by the media) is changing the way that they interact. It's also remarkably clear eyed in not shying away from the race and class issues that may have soured Ravi's and Clementi's interactions, while also having the perspective to acknowledge that biased language in Clementi's and Ravi's chat transcripts.

In other words, I really appreciate the tight focus on the two men, their families and their friends, and I'm glad that it's not a generic rehash of larger scale attitudes that have been covered before.

Stephen

Matteilar, thanks for your comment, which in fact is my favorite kind -- a thoughtful differing view. I agree that the article was smart to include class issues. A swifter writer could have accomplished everything in half as many words, I felt, which is why I called it lumbering. My main problem with it remains that new readers coming for the first time to an exhaustive piece related to a national epidemic will leave not having encountered any of its primary aspects. But I'm glad Thebes readers have your enthusiasm to balance my concern.

Edward

I heartily disagree as well. This was an impeccibly researched and well-written article. It's aim was to thoroughly investigate this case, not to produce a screed on bullying or any of the other subjects you find lacking in coverage. It was objective in its research and reporting which is what is needed in a story such as this. The sad fact of this case is that Clemente had major psychological problems which, granted, were exasperated by his roommate. He needed help and enlisted the internet to navigate his private hell. Unfortunately it also proved his undoing. What I came away feeling more aghast at was his mother's rejection of him just days before going off to college. easily as bad, in fact, that what occured afterwards.

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