Is It Abnormal Not To Kvetch?

What Women Really Think
Oct. 22 2009 1:36 PM

Is It Abnormal Not To Kvetch?

Nadja Spiegelman at the Forward women’s page says that this non-complaining project Jessica and I have launched this week is not really normal, or healthy. She knows because she tried it herself. Spiegelman got herself a job at a camp for disabled kids, where infrequent smoke breaks involved gossiping and bitching about fellow counselors and campers. Only she didn’t participate. She just smoked silently. Consequently, everyone thought she was totally weird and unfriendly. I would say the problem there is obvious: Jews are not supposed to camp. Cold nights and plastic mattresses are a recipe for semitic disaster.

Otherwise, I know what she means. Just after we got married, my husband’s family set up a hiking and walking trip. I got through it-I would say I even loved it-but only because I complained endlessly, rudely. During this month of non-complaining, my hardest moments so far have been when friends come over, especially friends I haven’t seen in a while. Normally, I would reconnect by doing a kind of complaint performance, where I annotate the updates with sardonic asides. Without it, I’m kind of stuck. What are we supposed to talk about? The unseasonably warm weather?

Advertisement

That said, I know this is a problem Jews are supposed to solve, only because I have sat through many a Yom Kippur service and said the "Ashamnu" prayer many times. If you’ll notice, half of the sins we confess to are synonyms for gossip.

We have become guilty, we have betrayed, we have robbed, we have spoken slander.

We have caused perversion, we have caused wickedness, we have sinned willfully, we have extorted, we have accused falsely.

We have given evil counsel, we have been deceitful, we have scorned, we have rebelled, we have provoked, we have turned away, we have been perverse, we have acted wantonly, we have persecuted, we have been obstinate.

We have been wicked, we have corrupted, we have been abominable, you have let us go astray.

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 16 2014 6:00 AM Can of Worms Prudie offers advice to a letter writer who wants to blackmail a famous ex with tapes of his fetish.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.