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Thread: Wayland slammed in April Issue Boston Magazine

  1. #1
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    Default Wayland slammed in April Issue Boston Magazine

    Thought I'd put this out there...this felt very beefed up from the author's point of view, and certainly wasn't my experience at all. I'm sure some of these elements exist, but haven't felt the mean stream or exclusivity that she talks about.

    http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/a...-moms-suburbs/

  2. #2
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    Kathy, thanks for posting. I read this article earlier this morning with equal parts amusement and bewilderment. Here's the post I added on the Boston Magazine site.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach
    Ms. Suratt writes, "Aside from the fact that Wayland isn’t on the water (it’s about as landlocked as you can get in the Boston suburbs), it just felt so, well, middle school to form a clique—and to give it a hoity-toity name to underscore its exclusivity." Perhaps a geography lesson is in order. Wayland is FAR less landlocked than most communities in the Boston suburbs, as it borders Lake Cochituate. And while there may not be all that many yachts on the lake, there are plenty of small watercraft of all types--sailboats included.

    The Wayland I've seen over the last 20 years is one made up of countless circles of friends and acquaintances. I've been a strong part of some of them, aware of others, and undoubtedly oblivious to many more. I gravitated to the ones whose company I enjoyed. Perhaps the author might do the same.
    For me, her flubbing the waterfront angle pretty much let the air out of the rest of the article.

  3. #3
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    Default I really enjoyed this article

    In fact, I've passed it around to my co-workers and other assorted friends around the country.

    I think this article will ultimately HELP our real estate values!
    I mean who doesn't want to be an elitist?

    Oh - and what a reason to have privacy in voting on the floor of town meeting !

  4. #4
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    Somebody forgot to tell me that Boston magazine is a legitimate journalistic enterprise. I was under the impression that they were solely in the business of giving away (or selling) "Best of Boston" certificates to every restaurant I’ve ever vistited.

    The "cut-throat mothers living in a wealthy suburb" trope is so tired (see "Desperate Housewives," or "Housewives of a Town Near You") that frankly the article didn’t warrant more than a skim down to the bottom of the first page.

  5. #5
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    The author speaks with Emily Rooney - http://wgbhnews.org/post/mean-moms-secret-world-suburbs .
    It's kind of pathetic, but this stuff really does go on in our little Waytown.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't (I wouldn't know ... kind of surprised that you do John - I never thought of you as a "Wayland Mom"), but what is the point that Julie is so poorly trying to make? And what is she trying to accomplish by doing this? Clearly she no longer has a prayer of "fitting in" here (or anywhere else for that matter) as she has attempted to place herself in the position of judge, jury, and executioner for roughly half the population of Wayland (and by extension, any suburban town). I don't think anyone would want to befriend someone who besmirched the town they live in publicly and viciously, but who knows - maybe suddenly everyone she's judging (assuming they actually exist - although John seems to "know" that they do) will suddenly see the light and reform. It's almost as pathetic as the second Town Meeting!

  7. #7
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    Default Privacy is priceless

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    The author speaks with Emily Rooney - http://wgbhnews.org/post/mean-moms-secret-world-suburbs .
    It's kind of pathetic, but this stuff really does go on in our little Waytown.
    I spoke with selectmen from Westborough Mass when they were first investigating electronic voting for their open town meeting. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that privacy was a major factor in bringing in this technology. Well knit social groups had formed in Westborough which brought peer pressure coersion into their town meeting. This coersion poisoned the vote with fear of retaliation before, during or after the fact. This coersion was a factor in stopping people from showing up and their attendance numbers spiraled down. It was an open secret in Westborough that one was watched as they voted. And when people are watched, they act differently.

    Westborough is now moving forward towards their second open town meeting using electronic voting.

    In talking to representatives from Duxbury and Hingham and Ipswich - I also got the same type of feedback.
    There are a number of communities in Mass who are moving ahead with electronic voting plans for their town meeting. Both open and representative. A more precise list can be found at this website www.electronicvoting.info

    I have good reason to believe that the Boston Magazine article described an accurate situation which has affected some in town and in similar ways. This peer pressure knitting or coersion (or whatever you want to call it) is not uniquely a property of Wayland - but rather - a property of humanity.

    Hence for many. Privacy is priceless.

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    Julie Serratt, the "Wayland mom" who authored the Boston Magazine article, describes a situation that could be everywhere or everywhen or both. There's probably some truth to it and probably some exaggeration. To be sure, trying to force a fit into any social group creates tension compared to joining a social group "naturally."

    Whatever its benefits and ills, one credit that I'm not sure that we can attribute to electronic voting is the "reduction of mean." I have a hard time believing that electronic voting has (or will) in any meaningful way alter the dynamic that Ms. Serratt described, to whatever degree that dynamic exists.

    My observation of Town Meeting this year doesn't register much of a difference from the pre-ELVIS era: contention, tedium, and molasses-like progress.

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    Rule #1: Never pass up an opportunity to advertise for something that you want others to bible thump.

    Rule #2: If there's even a remote connection in an unrelated discussion, ignore the fact that you're off topic, and proceed with advertising.

    Rule #3: Never pass up a chance to say "See? I was right!"

    (Happy Face Included to Indicate the Humor in this Post in Case You Missed It)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    Clearly she no longer has a prayer of "fitting in" here (or anywhere else for that matter) as she has attempted to place herself in the position of judge, jury, and executioner for roughly half the population of Wayland (and by extension, any suburban town).
    I couldn't disagree more. First of all, to say she has alienated "roughly half the population of Wayland" is to suggest that ALL women in Wayland are that way. The truth is, it's a very small number of women who are so nasty. It is just like high school - you've got the mean girls who may be loud and vocal, but relatively small in number, and then you've got everybody else. Also, I would call the author an observer, not judge, jury and executioner (which, BTW is the title of a great song by Atoms For Peace)

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    I don't think anyone would want to befriend someone who besmirched the town they live in publicly and viciously....
    On the contrary, the only ones who don't want to befriend her are those pathetic few who participate in that small world and live their lives as "Queen Bees" or "Wannabes". As I said above, there's them - those mean girls, but then there's everyone else. There are plenty of REAL friends to be made in Wayland, who don't judge, ostracize or desperately feel the need to fit in.

    You're right, Carl. I'm not a suburban mom. But I do notice these behaviors. They're kind of hard to miss.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  11. #11
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    I'd love to meet Julie, and will seek her out. I am sorry if she (and others) have felt left out either in Wayland or in other suburbs.

    I really doubt she has met much ostracizing here as a result of this article - if she's suffering socially, why would anyone want to make her feel badly about that? I do wish she hadn't called out Wayland, because I don't think these issues are worse here than anywhere else, but I certainly respect her right to speak about her own experiences. Everywhere you go, there are people who hang out and don't include everybody. Everywhere you go, there are people who disagree about politics, whether it's at the national, state or local level. That said, I don't see a lot of "exclusion" (as opposed to not INcluding everyone - which is, frankly, rarely possible -- sometimes people are left out inadvertently, because organizers didn't realize they were interested, because the person didn't make an effort to opt-in, or because of other constraints in a specific event) Sometimes all you need to do is say, "Could you let me know about that next time? I'd love to do that."

    I don't understand the "why wasn't I invited?" thing when you hear about an event, or, using her specific example - a group that shares dinners. Honestly, if someone is hosting an "elaborate dinner", there are probably only so many people they can fit. If they have a group and move houses week to week or whatever, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I'm not much of a cook, sadly, I'll never get an invite. That's OK. Please invite me when you're having pizza though! Why can't people have a intimate club of close friends who share a hobby? If you like someone in such a group, maybe there's something else you can do with them.

    As for cliques in general, certainly there are circles of friends - people find people they like, and they hang out with them. If it doesn't work out, they move on. I have never felt affected by cliques or "Queen Bees" in Wayland because as an adult, I've really never had a desire to belong to a clique. I suppose I'm blissfully unaware.

    I hope Julie has people she genuinely does like, or even a group of them that hang out together - whatever works for her. If she doesn't, or if she needs more, or just wants to meet, Julie, call me!!

    BTW, I've never heard of the "Yacht Club", nor has anyone I've asked -- does it actually exist? If so, I am curious about the choice of the name, and what the joke is. I wouldn't assume it's something elitist, it may well be self-mocking, and even from what I heard Julie said, I don't see the issue.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 04-10-2014 at 11:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    if she's suffering socially, why would anyone want to make her feel badly about that?
    I think that's the whole point of the article - it's because they are "mean girls".

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Everywhere you go, there are people who hang out and don't include everybody. Everywhere you go, there are people who disagree about politics, whether it's at the national, state or local level.
    True. But this is diluting her point. There's a difference between not including or disagreeing, and being mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I have never felt affected by cliques or "Queen Bees" in Wayland because as an adult, I've really never had a desire to belong to a clique. I suppose I'm blissfully unaware.
    I hear you. Neither have I. However, it's hard to be unaware of it, even if it doesn't affect you personally.

    But then, the "mean girls" in this town do affect people beyond those within their own ranks. For example, back in the dark ages of "analog voting", people could observe how others voted at Town Meeting. There was no hiding it. SOS used this to their advantage. They would scan the room and stare down, intimidate and ostracize those who didn't vote the way they were "supposed to". Now, granted, it wasn't like Chicago in the 20s, and they didn't hold machine guns, but the Queen Bees very definitely exerted their power over the Wannabes, as the latters' very social life hang in the balance. There is no point in denying this or pretending it didn't happen because anyone who was there and is being honest can attest to the fact that it did. Regularly. As a commenter pointed out under Julie's original article, many friendships came to an abrupt end on the Town Meeting floor, as those brave enough to vote their conscience were ostracized if their vote was not SOS-approved. And of course, there were those not so brave, who went ahead and voted as they where "supposed to", in order to preserve their place with the mean girls.

    After first reading this article, I asked a few women friends if they thought that any of the mean girls in town would acknowledge, if only to themselves, that this article was really about them - would they actually recognize themselves in the writing? Without hesitation, most of them said no.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    But then, the "mean girls" in this town do affect people beyond those within their own ranks. For example, back in the dark ages of "analog voting", people could observe how others voted at Town Meeting. There was no hiding it. SOS used this to their advantage. They would scan the room and stare down, intimidate and ostracize those who didn't vote the way they were "supposed to". Now, granted, it wasn't like Chicago in the 20s, and they didn't hold machine guns, but the Queen Bees very definitely exerted their power over the Wannabes, as the latters' very social life hang in the balance. There is no point in denying this or pretending it didn't happen because anyone who was there and is being honest can attest to the fact that it did. Regularly. As a commenter pointed out under Julie's original article, many friendships came to an abrupt end on the Town Meeting floor, as those brave enough to vote their conscience were ostracized if their vote was not SOS-approved. And of course, there were those not so brave, who went ahead and voted as they where "supposed to", in order to preserve their place with the mean girls.
    John, do you mean to assert that one or more members of SOS are among the "mean girls" that Ms. Serratt discusses in her article? Particularly given your use of the phrase "Queen Bee" to describe one or more members of SOS, a reasonable person might be forgiven for making that inference.

    It's a cowardly move to accuse a broad group of people of committing an ambiguous wrong-doing. No, the brave route would be to connect individual names with specific actions.


    • Did one or more members of SOS look at the votes of other Town Meeting participants? Almost certainly, as that's something that everyone does--in fact, it's impractical to do anything else.

    • Did any of those looks constitute a "stare down?" By whom, at whom, and when?

    • Were any of those "stare downs" an act of intentional intimidation? Or were they merely received that way? By whom, at whom, and when?

    • Did any of those "stare downs" result in an ostracization? In what way, by whom, at whom, and when?


    John, your words here are transparent, all right. Transparent false accusations that smear a group with zero supporting evidence.

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    Jeff - your words ring true around many of the posted accusations that have been made in John's various transparent accusations. Lots of generalizations, little evidence, and no examples. He's even gone so far as to put an anti-SOS link on his transparent website publicly smearing the intent and actions of the majority of Wayland residents (given the most recent election results, I feel comfortable stating that the SOS leanings are in fact "majority"). It's truly sad that Julie and John feel justified in tearing Wayland down by inferring that there are "mean girls" in town who make living here unpleasant. I don't know - I've been here for almost 20 years, put two kids through the public schools (one on track to be a lawyer, the other a doctor) and haven't felt the exclusion OR shame that Julie feels runs rampant here. Yes, I'm male, and yes, I work full time, but I do live here, and like John says, don't have to be a Mom to make observations. Oh well - chalk this one up to another "us vs. them" controversy I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    I think that's the whole point of the article - it's because they are "mean girls".

    But then, the "mean girls" in this town do affect people beyond those within their own ranks. For example, back in the dark ages of "analog voting", people could observe how others voted at Town Meeting. There was no hiding it. SOS used this to their advantage. They would scan the room and stare down, intimidate and ostracize those who didn't vote the way they were "supposed to". Now, granted, it wasn't like Chicago in the 20s, and they didn't hold machine guns, but the Queen Bees very definitely exerted their power over the Wannabes, as the latters' very social life hang in the balance. There is no point in denying this or pretending it didn't happen because anyone who was there and is being honest can attest to the fact that it did. Regularly. As a commenter pointed out under Julie's original article, many friendships came to an abrupt end on the Town Meeting floor, as those brave enough to vote their conscience were ostracized if their vote was not SOS-approved. And of course, there were those not so brave, who went ahead and voted as they where "supposed to", in order to preserve their place with the mean girls.

    After first reading this article, I asked a few women friends if they thought that any of the mean girls in town would acknowledge, if only to themselves, that this article was really about them - would they actually recognize themselves in the writing? Without hesitation, most of them said no.
    John, have you read her article? There wasn't a single word in it about politics. Further, I don't know if the author even participates in Town politics. Jumping to the conclusion that her experiences have anything to do with politics generally (or SOS specifically) is a great big leap.

    Further, despite the local uproad about this, she doesn't really focus much on Wayland experiences - rumors of a dinner club, her choice to hang out with the cool Moms at Creative (hey! us Children's Way moms are cool, too!), a physician not being included a chicken pox party?! (If I were throwing such a party - and I wouldn't - I can imagine I wouldn't invite a doctor either - not because I was being mean, but because I'd be afraid a doctor would look down on what they were doing - and seriously, shouldn't she?)

    And, finally, here's another view: http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/2014/03/...ms-erin-almond Ultimately, Suratt's article is, in fact, much more about stay at home moms than it is about politics (or at least, it isn't about the latter, as far as I can tell, at all)

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