Friday, February 3, 2012

"The Story of a Suicide"

Ian Parker's "The Story of a Suicide" in The New Yorker (February 6, 2012, pp. 37-51) offers a very detailed account of the relationship between Tyler Clementi and his roommate, Dharun Ravi, as seen through their use of social media, to which the writer gained remarkable access.  The story of Clementi's suicide and the ongoing trial of Ravi are well known and many of the details of the story have been widely reported.  But Parker's fascinating article adds many new layers of detail that plumb the depths of the issues at stake, including the ways that young people use social media to construct and explore identity, the issues of privacy and sociability raised by life in the dorms (the students were roommates in the Davidson residence hall on Busch), the treatment of homosexuality and sexuality in general in dorm life, and the quite "alone together" non-relationships that college roommates often develop.  Anyone interested in exploring any of these topics will find the article a must-read and impossible to put down.

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