This week, “Who’s the Bad Art Friend?” a New York Times magazine article by Robert Kolker, sent literary social media into a complete tizzy. It caused writers to debate matters of plagiarism, the ethics of writing about other people, and which stories are whose to tell, and to debate whose behavior was shittier in this instance. (They both behave pretty shittily.)
I found myself feeling a mix of sympathy and disdain for both subjects of the piece, but more than anything, it affirmed my long-held conviction, as I said in my Oldster Magazine Questionnaire earlier this week, that high school never really ends.
A Mean Girls pile-on in eighth grade had long-lasting impact on me, but I’m not alone. As I travel through life, I keep hearing from others that the same thing happened to them, either in junior high or high school.
It’s also a phenomenon that keeps repeating itself, at different life phases. And I’m loathe to admit that in different instances, I’ve found myself on different sides of it.
So I’m curious: how common is the Mean Girls experience? How many of you have been through something like it, either as a child, or an adult? In this open thread, help me, for once and for all, to settle the question:
Do high school social dynamics ever truly end, or is this a persistent, unresolvable feature of human nature?