Why I love Cary Tennis

I am often noticing (and partaking in) the Internet’s corrosion of communication, reduced to writing in “lols” and “ur funny”s, but one beachhead in the field of spontaneous and meaningless words is Cary Tennis’s Since You Asked “advice” column on Salon.com, not only because he goes beyond the trite “what you did is wrong. This is the proper rule” response of the typical advice writer but because, per the policy of Salon, readers also weigh in.  I also love that Cary shares, as he does with today’s letter, from a woman who has been hurt by a precarious relationship, how he relates, how the letter affects him personally:

Thank you for the bracing echo of toughness here — you offhandedly say the pain is now less a stabbing agony and more a dull ache you live with but can’t quite ignore, and although I ought not take pleasure in your suffering itself I take pleasure in the precision with which you render gradations of awfulness way outside the scale of day-to-day suffering.

This stuff is so good!!  We all relate!  And then the commenters offer up some goods of their own.

I missed the idea of the MF [motherf--er] and what I know about NPD [narcissistic personality disorder] is that it really was the idea.

Take a hard look at your life and see what needs to be changed. Don’t wait for the fairy Godmother to come back or cast someone else in that role. Say ‘Yes I can.” and make the changes you need to make.

It’s hard, it’s lonely, but in the end, learning to succeed, whether it’s at work, friends, or love is a very valuable life skill.

How less than often do these conversations take place in real life in our mire of small talk and superficial relationships and fears of “being vulnerable.”  How often have we scolded ourselves for letting our most intimate conversations take place through the faceless medium of the web?  And yet, the truth is, writing out one’s thoughts is a way of communicating sometimes so much more genuinely than the necessary spontaneity required of conversation.  Cary Tennis proves that the Internet is good for something!

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About elainemeyer
I'm a writer and editor. I work in communications at the Columbia School of Public Health, where I write about epidemiologic research. In the past I've worked as a reporter and studied journalism and history in school.

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