Here we have a kvetcher of the first water: one Katarina Kovac, who in Huffpost’s “Coronavirus” section beefs about her graduation ceremony being canceled. But of course that’s true for every graduating student in America, and so she has to supplement her beef, producing a double filet of a kvetch. She not only is “heartbroken” about her canceled graduation, but also feels extremely guilty about being heartbroken.” Only an entitled and self-absorbed person could write a piece on this kind of faux angst (look at that smug expression, and why is she in an empty library?), and only HuffPo would find it worth publishing. It details a “grievance experience” broadcast to solicit double pity from the reader.
It has not escaped my notice that Ms. Kovac was an English Language and Literature major at the University of Michigan, and is set to start a job in the fashion industry.
Read and weep (or laugh):
It’s not that she doesn’t have a right to be sad—after all, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had plans wrecked by the pandemic and subsequent quarantines. Single people can’t go out on dates, and where would they go, anyway? People who wanted to get married now must either postpone it or have a virtual wedding. And Kovac does recognize that other people have it far worse than her: people who have lost friends or loved ones, people who have lost their jobs, and so on. As she recognizes, “my problem is very much a privileged problem.”
Weddings are being postponed, and here I am, sitting on the bathroom floor, crying about my college graduation ceremony being canceled.
But can’t I be sad? Can’t I acknowledge the magnitude of the horror and suffering this crisis has brought to the world while still allowing myself to grieve what I’ve lost?
I’m sad for this time in my life that I had dreamed of since I was a young girl, when I learned what “Go Blue!” meant.
And so she cried about her own loss (apparently forgetting—see the headline—that she will still graduate, just without the ceremony—though I suspect many colleges will hold replacement ceremonies or fold them into next year’s). Her parents are sad too:
I sat on the bathroom floor in my parents’ home and sobbed. Hearing my whale-esque sounds of sorrow, worried family members came to my side and shared my pain. My mother, an immigrant to the U.S., had been looking forward to seeing me graduate from this university since the day I set foot on campus. She was 22 years old when the Yugoslav Wars broke out in Croatia, leaving her with a forever incomplete law degree. My father, a first-generation college graduate who has been steadfast in supporting my academic dreams while paying the interest on my student loans, had yearned for the day that he’d see me sport a commencement gown with honors cords and a University of Michigan stole, much like graduation at his alma mater.
I couldn’t remember the last time I cried like that. This wasn’t just a loss for me. It was a loss for my parents, too.
And of course she manages to throw in the social-justice angle, which would certainly appeal to HuffPost:
I’m sad that I’ll miss the chance to thank, in person, the professors who shaped my worldview so pivotally, who helped me to take a step back from my conservative upbringing and understand things about myself that I hadn’t known.
. . . And finally, I’m just sad to realize that my undergraduate experience overlapped with some of the most tumultuous times in our country: Donald Trump’s presidency, a slew of sexual assault allegations, mass shootings and a global pandemic.
The last (and superfluous) line, of course, has nothing to do with her canceled ceremony; she could be sad about all that even with a ceremony. But of course she wouldn’t be able to say anything new about Trump, sexual assault, and shootings. The pandemic gives her a reason to call attention to her feelings.
Why does this piece irk me so much? After all, we all have our disappointments and discuss them with our friends. No, it irks me because Kovac couldn’t keep her feelings to herself, but felt compelled to splash them all over HuffPost, and to blow them out of proportion by double-beefing in the national media.
But if she feels guilty about such kvetching, why kvetch in public? There’s nothing new in this piece except that a young woman shows herself to be self-centered enough to parade her double sadness in public. Social media being what it is, she may be forever typed as the “whale-esque sobbing girl.”
One lesson that life teaches is that it’s not always useful to tell people exactly how we feel, especially when the object is to get sympathy for ourselves. This is one example. If there were some lesson to be learned from Kovac’s whale-esque sobbing, perhaps her piece would have been worth publishing. But there is no such lesson.
Any why on earth did they choose to use a picture of her looking like the cat who swallowed the canary? That smirk is worse than the one supposedly made by MAGA Boy (and that wasn’t a real smirk).