Mar 3, 2022 3 min read

#333: What Doctors Don’t Hear, Interpreters Do

Welcome to March, loyal readers. Thank you for being here. This week’s issue explores the effects of losing or lacking connection. The lead article, “ Unspeakable Pain: What Doctors Don’t Hear ,” examines the ethical dilemmas medical interpreters face when doctors and patients do not share a common

Welcome to March, loyal readers. Thank you for being here.

This week’s issue explores the effects of losing or lacking connection. The lead article, “Unspeakable Pain: What Doctors Don’t Hear,” examines the ethical dilemmas medical interpreters face when doctors and patients do not share a common language. In the second piece, “When Black Excellence Isn’t Enough,” a Black graduate student seeks common ground with her Black peers in a predominantly white elite university. If you have time, I suggest reading both articles as a pair. Though entirely different, they talk to each other.

Then comes a thoughtful video on the 10th anniversary of Trayvon Martin, followed by a profile of a champion auctioneer facing the demise of his industry. If you’re taking a respite from reading, good thing I’ve included an outstanding podcast for you – about Siegfried and Roy. Please enjoy!

+ What connections do you see among this week’s selections? I’d love to hear what you think. Hit reply or record a short voice message.

+ Tonight’s HHH is sold out! If you’re one of the lucky 24 people who were able to snatch up tickets, I’ll see you there. One of you will win the grand prize. If you couldn’t make tonight’s gathering, HHH will return in June.

+ This month at Article Club, we’re discussing “On White Violence, Black Survival, and Learning to Shoot,” by Kim McLarin. Everyone is welcome. Here’s more information and here’s where you can sign up. If you’re looking to read more deeply with a kind, thoughtful community, AC is it.

Unspeakable Pain: What Doctors Don’t Hear

Unspeakable Pain: What Doctors Don’t Hear

When Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas goes to serve as a volunteer medical interpreter in a free clinic in Chicago, her trainer says, “Remember, you are not really there. Never, ever, add a single word to what is said. That is not your job.” Prof. Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas wants to follow the rules. But an interaction between an insensitive doctor and a frightened patient (who looks “just like and nothing like me”) prompts her to go off script. (14 min)

+ Trigger warning: This article includes a discussion of a suicide attempt.

When Black Excellence Isn’t Enough

C. Syl’violet Smith: “I don’t fully know why I keep putting myself through their fire. I keep reassuring myself that to be where I’m unwanted, or at the very least unexpected, is an act of resistance and self-affirmation, and other self-righteous pandering that feels good in the ear, but I’m becoming annoyed at how often I catch myself leaning so confidently on half-truths. The whole truth is, I still, no matter how hard I resist or deny it, long for their approval. The validation from Ma, Daddy, The Culture, isn’t, by far, enough, even though I want it to be. I want them to want me. ‘Who are “they”?’ My white therapist, white professor, white classmate ask. C’mon now, you know who they are, I think.” (14 min)

Eli Detweiler Is The Auctioneer

Growing up, Eli Detweiler Jr loved going to livestock auctions, where his dad would buy cows to milk. He wanted to become a professional bid caller, but his Amish upbringing forbade the career. So when Mr. Detweiler turned 18, he left his family to pursue his dream. Years later, he became the Wisconsin state auctioneer champion. That same year, in 1995, eBay launched its first online auction. Jarrett Van Meter poignantly tells Mr. Detweiler’s story while exploring how online platforms have decimated the live auctioneering industry. (17 min)

+ Listen to the audio clips of Mr. Detweiler’s precise chant. They’re awesome. Here’s another example, because I find the bid assistants hilarious.

‎Wild Things Podcast: Siegfried & Roy

German-American magicians and feline fans Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn made up one of the most popular acts in Las Vegas history. But during a show in 2003, white tiger Montecore attacked Mr. Horn, nearly killing him. This podcast explores the tragedy from many angles, criticizing the era’s homophobia, considering whether the attack was an inside job, and questioning if Siegfried and Roy told the truth of what happened. Somehow, in what could have turned out to be a campy conspiracy theory-laden production, Steven Leckart does a great job reporting and telling the story. (41 min)

+ Big thanks to VIP Jessica for recommending this podcast. The whole series is good!

Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter. Did you enjoy it? Let me know by clicking on “Yes” or ”No” below. I like hearing from you.

To our four new subscribers – Matthew, Jed, Char, and Aid – I hope you find the newsletter a solid addition to your email inbox. To our long-time subscribers (Brenda! Bora! Ben!), you’re pretty great, too. Loyal reader Kim, thank you for sharing the newsletter and getting the word out.

If you like The Highlighter, please help it grow. I appreciate your support. Here are a few ways you can help:

📬    Forward today’s issue to a friend and tell them to subscribe

☕️    Buy me a coffee, like loyal reader


(thank you!)

❤️    Become a VIP member to say thank you

On the other hand, if you no longer want to receive this newsletter, please unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am PT.

Join the conversation

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Big Reading.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.