In the High Peaks

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How Not to Write a Blog Post--A Cautionary Tale

My apologies to everyone who read and was offended by my previous blog post, written last evening. I have not removed it, though I would like nothing better than to delete the whole thing or at least to edit out the material that may offend readers. I did delete the "F" word (used as an adjective to describe the P-E). That was deplorable. It's one thing to use it in casual conversation with a friend, but quite another to publish it to people who are readers of this blog. No reader deserves that. That was the only change I made. (If I changed it, then the cautionary tale idea would fall flat--besides I need to wear the letter A for a while a la Hawthorne.

I also published all the comments received (2 so far). I don't delete comments unless they are spam or if the commenter is using some form of hate speech  against a minority or other group of people.

The cardinal rule of how not to write a blog post is never to compose it when you have been massively triggered by terrible events of the day. This was my failing. The terrible event which triggered me will be related in a minute.

The next rule is never to over-generalize a group of people, as I did with college-educated people. Yes, there were lots of college-educated people who voted for Trump.

The next rule is to be precise with facts. According to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of voters for Clinton were college-educated; 43 percent for Trump. So I messed up there. My apologies.

The triggering event that occurred earlier in the day stemmed from an article in The New York Times reporting on campus unrest and incidents post-election. The main incident (among several) noted in the article occurred at Wellesley College, a women's college, (Hillary Clinton's alma mater) when two white male students from nearby Babson College drove onto campus in a pick-up truck bearing a huge Trump flag. As they drove through the campus, students and other witnesses reported that the men were hurling gender-demeaning and anti-African-American slurs at students. They drove to the African-American center on campus and continued said behavior. When an African-American student protested and told them to "Get out," witnesses report that one of the men spat at her. Campus police arrived and the men were ordered off-campus. This incident has caused a huge disturbance in both college communities and among both college's administrations. If you google "Babson and Wellesley" it will lead you to lots of reporting on the topic, which is still being investigated. Activism has already begun via To see's petition, link here.

This affected me so deeply because I grew up in the town of Wellesley, living near the college, and I'm a Wellesley graduate as well. I always have felt safe there. The campus was landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, is exceptionally beautiful, and is open to and frequented by many, many people from the Boston area, who have no affiliation with Wellesley, as a friendly place to walk dogs, go jogging, hike, canoeing, etc. The thought of this incident--this backlash--occurring against young women at this college disturbed me deeply.

Of course this is no excuse for the way I wrote my post--hence, my warning to myself not to write when such an incident has occurred in my day.

I think I was also reminded yesterday of the sexual harassment and sexual assault I experienced at my workplace when I was in my 20s. In those days, the mid-late 1970s, there was no recourse for a woman whose male colleague grabbed and muscled her against the wall in a large utility closet. And today, for many young women (and older, too), there is often no recourse, especially if a woman's priority is to keep her job and maintain her status quo among her colleagues.

So, again, I apologize for yesterday's mistakes and carelessness.

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