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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reviving Daily Local Dan

A few people have come up to me in recent weeks and asked me, "What happened to your blog?"

My response, "You read it?"

"Yeah," they say. "There's a link to it right on the Daily Local News's homepage."

"You're right," I say. "Do you like the picture that goes with it?"

"No," they say.

"Neither do I," I say.

So, they're right. I ought to be keeping up with this thing.

Today's topic: word choice.

I recently wrote a story about the "local reaction" to Ted Kennedy's death. Local reaction stories are difficult. Man on the street interviews sometimes work, but in this case I thought they would not. Instead, I decided to call politically active Chester County residents - specifically, ones who do not currently hold elected office. I talked to a bunch of folks, and ended up using pieces of my interviews with former Chester County GOP Chairman Bill Lamb, Chester County Young Democrats President Dan Tyman, and former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford. Wofford was an excellent source, because he had known Kennedy for nearly half a century.

When casting about for a phrase to describe my subjects, I settled on this somewhat unconventional choice: "Members of Chester County's political class."

Today, I read the reader responses to my article. This one struck me:

"I've not read the article -- probably won't. The phrase "political class" is vile. Not that it is inaccurate, I suspect that it is accurate. Being hit in the face with a description that the people who run our beloved county are different from the rest of us is just plain sad. "


Tacitus is being too idealistic. I challenge him to provide a workable definition of "the rest of us." And it better not be "Sarah Palin."

Then there's this highly entertaining response:

"To the Editor:
"Your reporter’s ramblings about the sadness of a political “class” over the death of U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy displays a shocking lack of understanding of American democracy and perhaps a pathetic mewing for the end of the Cold War and for the Marxist thinking he self-evidentially espouses.
"His examples of this “class” could hardly be more hapless. Bill Lamb was a crime-busting DA back in the 1970s fearlessly busting up volunteer firehouses to confiscate illegal nickel slots. Harris Wofford was a U.S. senator from the Main Line who had his butt thrown out of office after the Commonwealth realized that he was what a tweedy-snot.
"One is shocked that the Daily Local News could manufacture and publish such unsophisticated rubbish. What next? A campaign for fluorinated water?"

Sandy Flash
Penn Green Road

Anyway, I promise that from now on I'll stay up to date with this blog.



Blogger Garrett said...

How about referring to the group as "politically engaged people"?

September 2, 2009 5:40 AM 
Blogger Dan Kristie said...

Naa, Garrett. I don't like the sound of that at all. "Politically engaged people?" It sounds like a phrase invented by a university department of education. We've got to do away with such tame language. "Political class," at the very least, evokes the image of a group of people who can use the weight of their influence to have a greater than average effect on the outcome of an election. i.e. - if Bill Lamb or Harris Wofford endorses a candidate, people will listen. "Politically engaged people," for me, is a phrase that covers too wide a spectrum. If you watch politics shows on cable news for two hours every night and spend more time than your boss would like reading Politico, you are politically engaged. But that doesn't mean you have more influence than the average citizen. And, as I said in my post, in the case of Kennedy I wasn't interested in what the man on the street had to say.

September 2, 2009 11:37 AM 

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