The distinguished writer Neal Gabler wrote a confessional essay about his family’s financial struggles in the Atlantic this month. My response to it, on the Atlantic website, is here.
If you read Gabler’s piece, or maybe if you re-read it, you’ll notice conspicuously few specific dollar figures. A fascinating aspect of such pieces is the combination of painful candor about some matters, while other things are conveyed in general terms or held even closer to the vest. There are good and bad reasons for discretion. Most of us presumably do that when we make use of self in our public writings. One obvious consideration is to protect another person’s privacy.
This combination of revelation and selective reticence is especially striking in financial accounts, where a few concrete numbers would provide so much greater clarity.