Katha Pollitt Continues to Amuse

Katha Pollitt seems to have found a niche writing in the New Yorker about her ex-lover and her own ignorance. Neither article involved is available online, which strikes me as a wise move.

Last time around, in "Learning to Drive" (July 22, 2002), she talked about learning -- what else -- to drive, quite late in life by the standards of such things. She made a special, almost comical, point, of her own continuing ineptness at driving. Along the way, she mentioned, almost offhand, that she knows no Asians. Since she has a daughter at Stuyvesant and lives on the Upper West Side (easily determined via stuff you can get on the Web), this claim struck me as a bit unlikely.

This time around (January 19, 2004), she writes about using the Internet to stalk her ex, mentioning at various points her lack of knowledge when it comes to various technical matters. She's a familiar sort: the academic who would willingly give over her life to email, but, deep down, fears it. Thus, in the article, she confesses her password (that she speaks of "her password" in the singular without specifying what it is a password to, I think, tells you all you need to know).

Oddly enough, though, in the process of describing her extensive Googling (she calls it "Webstalking," another tip-off) of her ex, she manages to avoid giving his name. This, despite loading down the article with so many specific details about him that reconstructing his name from the article is trivial. It took me about three minutes, and it would have taken less had I noticed that the first highly specific reference I tried was actually something she found by typing in a misspelling of his name.

In any case, though Paul Mattick doesn't come off too well, neither does Pollitt herself. I don't know why she keeps on doing this: she's a good writer and a sharp thinker, but someone needs to save her from her urge to write about her ignorance and ineptness as a form of relationship therapy.