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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

"Gritty urban enclave..."

One rule for the Globe reporters left after the coming purge should be to get out of the office and see what you are writing about. The you won't make bone-headed comparisons that sabotage an entire story.

Comparing Allston to 40th and Walnut in Philadelphia is like comparing Maureen Dowd to Howie Carr. Both use sarcasm. One is talented. The other is a hack. Nonetheless, Globe reporter Tracy Jan and the copy editors who abetted this lunacy did just that.

Here's the description of the Philly neighborhood that Jan conjured up for her lead:

PHILADELPHIA - It used to be that the University of Pennsylvania would warn its students not to cross 40th and Walnut streets, a seedy corner on the edge of campus once nicknamed McDeath because shootings and stabbings commonly occurred just steps from a McDonald's.

I can't think of a section of Allston that comes close -- and I have lived in or near the neighborhood for more than 30 years. Grungy (as in student). Littered. Graffitti-strewn. Maybe. Violence on the level described. You have to be kidding.

Seven paragraphs later comes the "but.."
While Penn built up the neighborhood to improve the college, Allston residents hope that Harvard's push to expand its own footprint will lead to improvements in the neighborhood. Allston does not come close to approaching the level of deterioration that plagued West Philadelphia, but the historically blue-collar neighborhood, where Harvard owns more than 350 acres, is pocked with university-owned lots and storefronts that have sat vacant for years.
Let's carefully note the "blight" she refers to is caused by "university-owned lots and storefronts that have sat vacant for years."

In other words, Harvard is committed to trying to clean up a mess it has created. A rather big difference, don't you think?

The Globe (and Harvard) owes Allston a massive apology.

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Anonymous wondering said...

"... Maureen Dowd to Howie Carr. Both use sarcasm. One is talented. The other is a hack."

Please explain which has the talent.

May 03, 2009 1:12 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Not Carr.

May 03, 2009 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Ted T. said...

Maureen Dowd needs to shut her porthole or a the very least dye her hair so she can pass for one of us normies. While I'm on this mean streak I'd like to add that this and every other article by Tracy Jan about Harvard are what make me wish most that the Globe would just go out of business already.

August 02, 2009 4:04 AM  

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