Roundup: Ballots, Food Drive, Atlantic Sports Story, More

To clarify yesterday’s Roundup story on absentee ballots:

The registrars of voters have not “counted” ballots yet. They cannot do that until tomorrow. What they did on Saturday was open the ballots, to find any without signatures.

Five of those — out of approximately 8,000 returned — were discovered. Those voters will be contacted today, and are allowed to vote in person tomorrow.

As Thanksgiving nears, Wakeman Town Farm is collecting nutritious, non-perishable food, for delivery to 2 local pantries. Among the items most in

  • Pasta
  • Rice and quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Mac and cheese
  • Canned fruits
  • Applesauce
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Soups (canned or boxed)
  • Stews and chili (canned or boxed)
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Dried beans and ;entils
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken in water or broth
  • Jell-O
  • Protein and granola bars, unsalted nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers
  • Coffee and tea.

Items can be dropped off at the “Food Donation” bins at the gates to Wakeman Town Farm on Cross Highway, and at Franny’s Farmacy and Savannah Bee.

As COVID cases rise, what will local retailers do on Black Friday?

Jillian Elder wants to know. The founder of the Finding Westport platform — your go-to site for all local retailers, restaurants and services — is surveying businesses, and will post that information soon. It will go on Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut too.

If you’re a retailer or restaurant owner, tell Jillian your hours, limitations on customers, etc. Email

Westport writer Ruth Shalit Barrett’s long article about crazy, college-focused  Fairfield County niche youth sports — fencing, crew, squash, lacrosse — created quite a buzz when The Atlantic published it last month.

It’s creating more buzz now. First, the magazine appended an extraordinary 800-word correction.

Last night, the Atlantic retracted the entire piece. Click here to read why.

The Atlantic illustrated Ruth Shalit Barrett’s story with this time-lapse photo by Pelle Cass.

Every day, the Y’s Men walk. Yesterday was typical: a group gathered at the train station, then headed out for 4 1/2 miles. Molly Alger joined them, as “the token woman.”

All walks are socially distanced — except for their brief gathering for this photo, part way through.

And finally … today is of course the Day of the Dead.


13 responses to “Roundup: Ballots, Food Drive, Atlantic Sports Story, More

  1. It’s an absolute shame that plagiarism occurred on such an important topic that was being written about. However, please, please understand that it is VERY TRUE that a large percentage of wealthy parents will do practically anything to try and get their kid into elite schools via a sports pathway.
    Why? Because that’s too often what the parents want…..FOR THEMSELVES.

    I wrote the following statement below a few weeks ago when this topic was addressed on “06880”. Do I have some special insight that others don’t have? Absolutely not. I simply hope that what I have written helps some family going forward. For those that read below what I’ve written yet want to try and convince themselves that it isn’t true, go look in a mirror and say it isn’t true.

    “Having witnessed first-hand throughout Fairfield County what parents are willing to do for their “little athlete, Johnny/Jennie”, whom the parents believe are stud athletes, OR will be studs after countless private instruction, lessons and travel teams($$$$), the real issue is that the parents want “it” more than the kids do. The vast majority of parents are DELUSIONAL when assessing how good their kid really is, and if the kid is in fact decent, wait until they get out of their town/county and have to compete against a much bigger pool of talent.
    To that end, parents who haven’t gone through this process YET, please please listen to this—–let the kids choose where THEY want to look at for schools, not where YOU and YOUR HUSBAND/WIFE want them to look.
    After all, aren’t the kids the ones that are going to be going to school, not you?? If they can play their sport of choice at the colleges that they want to go to, that’s icing on the cake….but to choose a college based solely on a sport rather than the college itself is a nightmare waiting to happen for the kid
    in SO MANY instances. Why? For many reasons, but here are a just a few: because coaches that recruit kids quite often leave after the kid has enrolled and the new coach and the player don’t see eye to eye, or the kid gets injured and his/her playing days at college are possibly over and the kid says to him/herself, “Now that I’m not on the team, I realize that I hate this place and I only came here because I was recruited to play “X” sport, but now that I’m not playing there is nothing appealing to me about this school.”
    Parents…….this happens time and time again. Let the kids drive the college research and decision process on where they would like to go.
    It’s not about the parents and their hoped-for bragging rights.
    Let me rephrase that……too often IT IS about that, but it shouldn’t be……and if in your case you make it that way, regret may be coming down the line for you and your spouse……. and your child.
    Your regrets I don’t care about because you should have known better.
    Think about your child.”

  2. OK the Day of the Dead bit was funny….

  3. I know Dan and I disagree about this (we discussed offline), but the main flaws in in Mrs. Barrett’s article are minor and did not mislead readers in any meaningful way:

    1) Barrett helped the already pseudonymous source, “Sloane,” further assure her anonymity by falsely identifying her as having a daughter and living in Greenwich (she actually lives elsewhere in Fairfield County)

    2) She exaggerated the extent of Sloane’s daughter’s fencing injury as “a deep gash but more accurately described as a skin rupture that bled through a fencing uniform.” (In the words of The Atlantic’s correction.)

    3) She incorrectly referred to a wealthy family’s expensive, backyard private hockey rink as “Olympic sized.”

    The other thing readers should know is that the shortcomings in Mrs. Barrett’s piece were not brought to the The Atlantic’s attention by anyone involved with the article, but by a Washington Post columnist Eric Wemple, carrying on a 25 year grudge by the newspaper against Mrs. Barrett.

    Amidst a publishing industry that’s notoriously thin-skinned about receiving criticism, she wrote an unflattering 1995 New Republic piece about the way The Post’s management were handling racial tensions in the newsroom.

    For anyone interested in reading that article today, here’s the link: You can make up your own mind as to whether it merited a 25 year exile from journalism that’s just been renewed this week.

  4. Lying in service of some perceived “greater truth” is still lying. Mendacity undermines credibility.

    It’s nice to see that the Atlantic, at least in one case, has the integrity to call out a liar in its midst and administer the appropriate public flogging of the perpetrator and self-flagellation of the sponsor.

    It would be nice if the rest of the country’s major media had as much integrity.

    • We can always count on Westport people to join in a public flogging!

      • I could not disagree more with Mr. Blau, who is downplaying journalistic fraud, simply because he agrees with thesis. I agree with the thesis, too – but I can’t defend the actions of the writer.

        Mr. Blau is also giving an incomplete list of the collective sins. (The Washington Post has done a thorough job of covering this journalistic scandal.) I will add a few – though there are likely more that have yet to come to light. Erik Wemple, who has covered this story for the Post, wasn’t even working there when Ms. Shalit-Barrett wrote her disputed piece on the Post – suggesting that the Post has an axe to grind is simply blaming the messenger.

        The Atlantic provided the unfortunate initial cover by not publishing the essay under the writer’s complete name.

        (Having worked a quarter-century in book publishing, I read and loved the marvelously written Atlantic article. I was struck that someone with such a thin twenty-year publishing trail had shown up with a large piece in such a preeminent publication. Even though a few details in the story didn’t ring completely true, I thought “well, it’s the Atlantic, they surely checked the facts.)

        Clearly, more quotes were made up, including one relating to a non-existent competitive sports team at Georgetown University. “Sloane” will likely have been the tip of the iceberg.

        It wasn’t simply that the writer fabricated a “son” of “Sloane,” but that she contacted “Sloane” and encouraged her to lie to The Atlantic fact-checkers. Per the NYT:

        “According to the editor’s note, Sloane’s lawyer said Ms. Barrett had “first proposed the invention of a son, and encouraged Sloane to deceive The Atlantic as a way to protect her anonymity.”

        ““When we asked Barrett about these allegations, she initially denied them, saying that Sloane had told her she had a son, and that she had believed Sloane,” the editor’s note said. “The next day, when we questioned her again, she admitted that she was ‘complicit’ in ‘compounding the deception’ and that ‘it would not be fair to Sloane’ to blame her alone for deceiving The Atlantic.””

        The Post also noted that the basic framework for the story seemed to have been lifted from a story previously published in the Daily Princetonian.

        By fabricating portions of her story, the author completely undermined what was a valid thesis. It also fuels those who want to question everything that comes from the “mainstream media.”

        Clearly, the Atlantic does not believe the veracity of the story, which is why they removed it.

        To me, this had echoes of the “Jackie at UVA” story in Rolling Stone, which the Post also exposed as a journalistic fraud. As with that story, because of the importance of the topic, people were determined to defend the story even if it was fabricated. Just because we know that sexual assault on campus is a real and important problem doesn’t mean that news sources can publish fabricated stories in order to bring those issues to light. Because ultimately they serve to undermine legitimate claims of others.

        Pointing out journalistic fraud isn’t “flogging” but maybe people wouldn’t feel the need to do it if there weren’t people so eager to defend journalistic fraud.

        What perplexes me more than anything else is how someone who had largely been in journalistic exile for two decades would return to a prominent and respected platform and do something so… stupid. Here was a chance to return to journalistic relevance by writing about this timely issue for a prominent magazine. I just don’t get it.

      • I agree with Mr. Blau that Westporters can reliably be expected to join a public flogging. Sadly, perhaps, we seem to lack much ability to self-flagellate.

  5. Grateful for the music Dan‼️🇺🇸