cat person

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short stories go viral now

||||||||, Monday, 11 December 2017 10:34 (three years ago) link

lol - indeed!

read it this morning. good story imo. didn't think the ending was great tho.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 10:39 (three years ago) link

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/cat-person

||||||||, Monday, 11 December 2017 10:43 (three years ago) link

https://twitter.com/MenCatPerson

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 11:41 (three years ago) link

An interview with the author:

https://www.newyorker.com/books/this-week-in-fiction/fiction-this-week-kristen-roupenian-2017-12-11

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 11:57 (three years ago) link

I think this is the first time I have ever finished reading a piece of fiction published in The New Yorker #hotTake

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:10 (three years ago) link

thurber?!

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:14 (three years ago) link

nope, never got to one of is cartoons (had to google) - willing to bet his stuff is better than New yorker 'proper' fic.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:22 (three years ago) link

I have thought about picking up some Mavis Gallant after reading a non-fiction piece of hers in the New Yorker (I linked it in the ILE New Yorker thread)

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:24 (three years ago) link

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQwmfdkUEAAkBXg.jpg

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:32 (three years ago) link

Stopped reading halfway through because it seemed like it was headed somewhere uncomfortable.

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:51 (three years ago) link

this discussion has somehow reminded me that my CD-ROM* of the entire new yorker ever -- which i got secondhand for not very much a few years back, for researching its music-writing in the 60s and before -- no longer works on my current mac update

*it might be something more modern than a CD-ROM, this is just a funny way to describe it

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:03 (three years ago) link

just call me thurberperson

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:12 (three years ago) link

I have those CDs! Christmas 2K5

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:13 (three years ago) link

the last line is i guess the source of a lot of the virality but i hope this doesn't sound uncharitable to say that it feels a little gimmicky? imo. maybe i'm just jealous of the narrator's awesome and funny and loving support network that hustles her out of bars when she needs it.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:14 (three years ago) link

treesh do yrs still work?

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:20 (three years ago) link

Yeah but I don’t have an optical drive on my current macbook

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:25 (three years ago) link

I agree the last line is gimmicky but sadly not unrealistic. (Indecided to read the rest of it.) I found the story really bleak all around. There was never a genuine connection between the characters — they seemed really lost, over-aware of how they were being perceived. Even withiut the last third of the story it reminded me of why dating is so painful and brings out the worst in people, at least in the casual no-expectations way we do it now. (Not that things wee better before, probably bad in different ways.)

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:29 (three years ago) link

I wasn’t envious about any part of the narrator’s life.

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:33 (three years ago) link

Sorry for typos- walking through penn station bumping into things

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:34 (three years ago) link

i think it'd be more powerful if he didn't text her to call her a whore. that marks him out as slightly more villainous than if they'd just left him as a potential everyman.

i mean i don't know how many men text women to call them "whore" irl - i'm not speculating as to how common it is, but it made it easier, imo, as a man, to read it and think i'm not like him, which i'm not sure is the intention. better if it was more uncomfortable and if it was left to the reader to hang themselves.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:38 (three years ago) link

yes that's what i was trying to get at

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:48 (three years ago) link

this story was unengaging bollocks tbh. read some jean rhys

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:48 (three years ago) link

haha

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:52 (three years ago) link

*watches the whole internet be engaged in a piece of fiction for a change*

this was most unengaging read some jean rhys

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:53 (three years ago) link

Def recommend finishing a Donald Barthelme story fwiw

Haven't read this

sonnet by a wite kid, "On Æolian Grief" (wins), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:55 (three years ago) link

i've read everything

it was poor

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:02 (three years ago) link

the narrator didn't really feel like a character, just an observer, a receptacle for the narrative. the story's sole purpose appears to be winding up/attacking mras, which is a noble enough cause, but the writing is kind of dull and the whole thing emanates a sort of calculatingly nihilistic dysphoria that brooks neither joy nor horror. nothing is left to chance. and in its obsessive recall of detail it comes off quite superficial

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:04 (three years ago) link

^^^too many adjectives

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:05 (three years ago) link

there are loads of good ny'er stories, obviously.

i do find it p rare that i enjoy the new ones tho. i actually found this more precise and readable than many of them tho.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:07 (three years ago) link

tho tho tho

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:07 (three years ago) link

i read it -- i haven't read a short story in the NYer in many years (if ever) and I thought it was haunting and true.

that marks him out as slightly more villainous than if they'd just left him as a potential everyman.
as i read it, he had been sitting there stewing in the bar for a while and had been drinking. i thought it was a sign of what lurks in the heart of everyman and only comes out when he is empowered with a way to send a message and effectively have the last word.

when i was her age, there was no texting but i have no doubt that average "normal" dudes had many uncharitable thoughts about me. ugh this story stung.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:08 (three years ago) link

#noteveryman

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:11 (three years ago) link

I am not exactly worried about its quality as a story (lol like I can tell) but it carries a charge, the story does sting for sure. That's a lot than almost any fiction you'd pick up randomly like this.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:14 (three years ago) link

maybe - i dunno tho, i feel like texting someone "whore" and that whole last exchange to me feels kind of psychotic or at least mra/alt right.

i'd say a lot of men's sexism is less overt than that - exposing that, which the piece did a lot along the way, i guess, might be more difficult/interesting.

i just feel it's better when it shows the creepiness of the actually quite "normal" things he does, like the paternalistic behaviour etc, if he's this angry full misogynist creep it has less impact.

that just feels way beyond the pale to me - it suggests all his other off behaviour he is because deep down hes' this awful angry creep, rather than in fact the normal behaviour of an average man.

xpost i think if the story is trying to say "yes all men" then it'd be more powerful if it didn't end the way it does.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:15 (three years ago) link

xpost to ll

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:15 (three years ago) link

LG otm there I think

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:17 (three years ago) link

The whole thing lacks any ambiguity really though

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:18 (three years ago) link

the narrator didn't really feel like a character, just an observer, a receptacle for the narrative. the story's sole purpose appears to be winding up/attacking mras, which is a noble enough cause, but the writing is kind of dull and the whole thing emanates a sort of calculatingly nihilistic dysphoria that brooks neither joy nor horror. nothing is left to chance. and in its obsessive recall of detail it comes off quite superficial

― imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:04 (fourteen minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Hmmm what else sounds like

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:20 (three years ago) link

#noteveryman was good tho it were right good

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:20 (three years ago) link

the narrator literally announces she has told this story different ways before now, how much ambiguity do you want

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:22 (three years ago) link

(amking my way through the interview now)

re: the last line. Kristen says it was inspired "by a small but nasty encounter I had with a person I met online", later on in the same interview she expresses nervousness in trying to capture a younger person's texts. So maybe all of that explains the crude ending but I liked it -- from where it started to where we got to. All the witticisms and weeks of flirting turning so ugly, to this one word left like that. It didn't stop from the story from hitting a nerve.

Fills enough time before the next time Trump tweets his thing so enjoy it, says I.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:52 (three years ago) link

decent story, i also don't think the last line is in keeping with the rest but i don't mind an attempt to swing for the fences.

call all destroyer, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:58 (three years ago) link

if he's this angry full misogynist creep it has less impact.

he's not -- i think it's supposed to show that if they feel shitty enough, or are drunk enough, or feel rejected enough, even the guy who seems to have it all together could lash out and say something like that. it's not beyond the pale for a drunk lonely pissed off dude to lash out and say something he will likely regret but be unable to retract. in the past, people could just think it. maybe say it to their friends. now they both have to live with him having actually expressed it.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 15:58 (three years ago) link

i guess i just don't believe that is the action of anyone but a particularly angry misogynist.

lashing out maybe, or getting angry - people get angry in dating. but calling someone a whore is like getting into territory where the word "violence" doesn't feel a misuse. to think otherwise i'd have to try to justify him calling her a whore.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:03 (three years ago) link

i don't think you have to justify it to understand that it's possible for a person who is performatively kind to find that his kindness is not rewarded as he thinks it should be, gets angry, lashes out drunkenly in a way that is disproportionate to the way he feels he was wronged. it did not feel ott to me, though it was an abrupt ending to the story.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:12 (three years ago) link

I think the last line would feel over-the-top if it was in isolation but the string of messages before it makes it more credible, imo. Within the context of getting angry/lashing out there are still plenty of guys out there who have no trouble responding like that, doesn't need to be a MRA.

Also don't think this story is supposed to "wind up" anyone, feels like a very weird way to look at it imo.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 11 December 2017 16:17 (three years ago) link

only a really warped person imo. like it's p much a hate crime, what he does. anyway i guess we won't agree on this - i can't claim to have a full perspective on this story.

xpost

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:22 (three years ago) link

also she basically initiated the relationship based on his apparent (performative) kindness -- that she eventually chose not to pursue further contact with him after their lackluster encounter is another choice she made, one he felt was uncharitable toward him, so he lashed out in anger. It seemed like a conceivable reaction of a man who felt the control had not just been wrestled away from him, but done so by a younger woman -- which is basically totally realistic. Whether or not your average "decent dude" would hurl that word around casually is not really the point. Although personally I don't think it's a stretch.

LG -- even if you believe that "only a warped person" would say/do this, it's a sign of how warped many people (men) are. More than you think!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:26 (three years ago) link

seemed totally relatable to me and her perspective seemed valuable. i'm not that guy but i certainly know lots of that guys. it's really weird that people are so uptight about either being that guy or knowing that guy that they have to get all captain-save-a-cat-person on twitter but hey it's 2017 i guess.

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:31 (three years ago) link

I think so too honestly. It is obviously a possibility readers would consider. She should have foreseen that. I would bet she did foresee that...

In any case I don’t think Charles’ death is all that relevant to the issue. Even if he were alive and well, the story caused him unease, and it continues to cause the author of the essay unease as well. That is why she tried to clear the record.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 03:25 (three months ago) link

And yet if you seriously don't want random people to mull over Robert/Charles's life and why he died, and him being inevitably outed in a twitter thread at some point, a then friend of his writing something about him on Medium etc etc etc, probably best not to write the essay in the first place.

Zelda Zonk, Monday, 12 July 2021 03:29 (three months ago) link

Yeah I feel like the essay is more about her being butthurt that her life was mined for a story, than about her defending Charles’ character.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 12 July 2021 03:39 (three months ago) link

Why “butthurt” rather than hurt and violated? Roupenian tracked down details of her life from social media to include them in the story. Then she depicted her and her relationship in a way that wasn’t accurate.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 04:15 (three months ago) link

If Roupenian changed the details so it was about an older man and a younger woman—and not clearly based on these two specific people—there would be no essay and people would have been spared some pain.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 04:16 (three months ago) link

And yet if you seriously don't want random people to mull over Robert/Charles's life and why he died

But “mulling over” his life wasn’t the issue, it was that people thought he was a misogynist and a creep

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 04:19 (three months ago) link

Does she *own* the details of her life? Do any of us?

She posted details of her life on social media. And yeah Roupenian could have been more sensitive about changing things up. But "hurt and violated"?

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 12 July 2021 05:07 (three months ago) link

she used extremely identifying information including the person's tiny hometown, wrote a story with a ton of embellished stuff that cast the people involved in a very unflattering light, and submitted it to the new yorker! bad!

k3vin k., Monday, 12 July 2021 11:23 (three months ago) link

or in roupenian's own words:


When I was living in Ann Arbor, I had an encounter with a man. I later learned, from social media, that this man previously had a much younger girlfriend. I also learned a handful of facts about her: that she worked in a movie theater, that she was from a town adjacent to Ann Arbor, and that she was an undergrad at the same school I attended as a grad student. Using those facts as a jumping-off point, I then wrote a story that was primarily a work of the imagination, but which also drew on my own personal experiences, both past and present. In retrospect, I was wrong not to go back and remove those biographical details, especially the name of the town. Not doing so was careless.

k3vin k., Monday, 12 July 2021 11:24 (three months ago) link

But "hurt and violated"?

this is how I would feel in her shoes I think, yes

intern at pelican brief consulting (Simon H.), Monday, 12 July 2021 15:49 (three months ago) link

She posted details of her life on social media.

This is irrelevant. Most people do this. Roupenian took these external details — a lot of them, to the letter — and invented unflattering private details including an awful sexual experience. It’s so violating.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 16:15 (three months ago) link

And it cast this dude Charles as the scum of the Earth. A symbol of toxic masculinity.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 16:18 (three months ago) link

Which, at least from the essay writer’s perspective, was unfair. Roupenian knew the guy too and maybe she felt it was a fair depiction based on her experience. There is no way to know. And it’s also irrelevant because it wasn’t just Charles—she dragged a third party into it (the essay writer).

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 16:20 (three months ago) link

invented unflattering private details

Or, in other words, wrote some fiction.

emil.y, Monday, 12 July 2021 16:20 (three months ago) link

Why not change the name of the hometown and make her work at a different movie theater. Then it would be a fictional character.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 16:21 (three months ago) link

As it is, it’s creepy.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 16:21 (three months ago) link

It’s fine to base a character on someone just don’t make it obvious to everyone who knows them

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 16:23 (three months ago) link

did anyone ever figure out what the cat's name was

Yours in Sorrow, A Schoolboy: (forksclovetofu), Monday, 12 July 2021 16:45 (three months ago) link

society

intern at pelican brief consulting (Simon H.), Monday, 12 July 2021 16:51 (three months ago) link

damn

Yours in Sorrow, A Schoolboy: (forksclovetofu), Monday, 12 July 2021 17:01 (three months ago) link

Absolutely without a doubt “hurt and violated” if it were me. And angry.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 July 2021 17:52 (three months ago) link

If the purpose of the article was to clear charles' name it didn't do a very good job seeing as people are taking "he was an asshole to roupenian and maybe did the cat person stuff to her" from it

, Monday, 12 July 2021 18:06 (three months ago) link

Roupenian is the one who leaves that door open as she says the story was inspired by an “encounter” she had with a man whom she learned previously had a younger girlfriend. The essay writer quotes this, in the interest of presenting Roupenian’s account of the genesis of the story. But she does say all that she can say, which is that the man’s behavior in the story does not reflect her experience.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:28 (three months ago) link

She can’t stand in the way of whatever Roupenian thinks about Charles. She doesn’t know that story. But she can refuse to be enlisted in this narrative against her will. And she did. If it was me, i would hope to be as courageous and careful with my words as she was.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:32 (three months ago) link

In the end it is about defending charles but it isn’t just about that. She is also standing up for herself.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:33 (three months ago) link

I thought the primary purpose was to stand up for herself. Not everything is al about Charles. Sad lol

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 July 2021 18:39 (three months ago) link

Oops all

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 July 2021 18:40 (three months ago) link

Tbh I’d personally never write an essay primarily defending my ex boyfriend if a character resembled him. Never would put the effort into it.
However I would absolutely write an essay saying i believe it is was uncool to poach my life for your story if I wasn’t aware of the borrowing and/or had not been asked for consent. Violated is the word that keeps coming to mind. That’s just me. Everyone is different.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 July 2021 18:43 (three months ago) link

if somoene wrote a story in which my ex-girlfriend was depicted as being abusive to me, and the story was a viral sensation, and everyone who knew us knew that this story was based on us, and then she was tormented by this, i would absolutely want to correct the record.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:46 (three months ago) link

whatever harsh feelings i have for my exes, or whatever, there is still a principle of fairness.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:47 (three months ago) link

i agree that the essay is primarily about her standing up for herself and her own story. but charles is definitely a part of it. this is part of what made the story so disturbing -- that it was not a pleasant and fun story. i imagine she would not care as much if the story was lighter in tone and didn't depict her as naive and him as predatory.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:49 (three months ago) link

Wanting the record corrected and writing an essay primarily to clear an ex’s name when your personal deets were poached & your experience misrepresented — not the same thing. The only thing I don’t buy is that the essay writer PRIMARILY wrote the essay to clear his name. That was secondary because he deserved to have his name cleared. I feel like there are way too many potential spots of misunderstanding (in good or bad faith) that I should probably just bow out.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 July 2021 18:50 (three months ago) link

i don't think it was primarily due to that either. i just think it's part of it.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:52 (three months ago) link

so i think we agree.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:53 (three months ago) link

i just often repeat the same points over and over. if someone wants to create a pedantic internet poster character, just change my hometown please.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 18:54 (three months ago) link

what is the main idea of this passage?

a) potaotes from ireland started the potato revolution
b) the average american eats 50 pounds of potatoes a year
c) french fries are made from potatoes
d) potatoes are a key vegetable in america
e) the various terms for potatoes have a long history

k3vin k., Monday, 12 July 2021 19:01 (three months ago) link

She could have corrected the record and stood up for herself privately. I don’t think it was cool to do publicly unless the motivation was attention/pay. Which are fine motivations for a lot of people, who could justify the downsides. I could not.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 12 July 2021 19:46 (three months ago) link

cat people...got no reason

Bongo Jongus, Monday, 12 July 2021 20:20 (three months ago) link

Sounds too close to “women speak up either for attention or money.”

... (Eazy), Monday, 12 July 2021 20:44 (three months ago) link

What would the benefit be of standing up privately? Readers who recognized her might still assume she was the naive, somewhat self-absorbed girl of the story. To set the record straight she needs to speak out.

Also I found her essay more compelling than the initial story. So I think it justifies itself as an essay in its own right that raises questions about ethics in authorship.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 20:44 (three months ago) link

Was wondering how you correct the record in private.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Monday, 12 July 2021 21:03 (three months ago) link

to be fair, james joyce presented skewered visions of real life people in 'ulysses.' i'm certain that none of his easily identifiable models consented to this.

it is not clear how he could have disguised these people, given the fact that the novel itself was so autobiographical. he *was* stephen, biographically; and he *was* bloom, spiritually. (italo svevo was also bloom).

i don't know if this is ethical, if autofiction is ethical. knausgaard writes extensively, in his books, about how pissed off everyone was by his books, which didn't even include a fig leaf of a name change. i guess the difference with joyce and knausgaard is that they implicate themselves in their work more than anyone else? or maybe the difference is that i love ulysses, and i love the 'my struggle' novels, and i don't love cat person, so the literature doesn't seem to justify the violation.

there are all kinds of sexist implications to this too. in my defense, though, i also will defend virginia woolf's use of people from her real life as obvious models.

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 21:09 (three months ago) link

I could at least understand better where the objection was coming from if it was something like "the original story said something really important and I don't think it should be discredited".

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Monday, 12 July 2021 21:09 (three months ago) link

i guess in this case it seems like whatever one finds valuable in the story could have been preserved if they changed the details? whereas in these other cases, it's not as easy, as the work is about the author and the people they knew

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 21:46 (three months ago) link

also, like, i am not totally clear on the ethics of those other examples, even though i appreciate those works as literature

treeship., Monday, 12 July 2021 21:50 (three months ago) link

haven't followed all the intricacies, but it seems to me the response essay may be a case of......

.....putting out fire with gasoline

m0stly clean (Slowsquatch), Monday, 12 July 2021 23:36 (three months ago) link

It seems to me that if someone researches biographical details about you in order to write a sex scene between you and your actual ex-boyfriend in which both of you can be easily identified, you are justified in writing anything you please about it.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 20:59 (three months ago) link

I would simply correct the record privately

k3vin k., Tuesday, 13 July 2021 21:07 (three months ago) link

xp. otm

《Myst1kOblivi0n》 (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 21:24 (three months ago) link

sorry y'all, just making a david bowie joke.....

m0stly clean (Slowsquatch), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 01:47 (three months ago) link


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