On deadline for the Sunday column, so I’ll be uncharacteristically brief…
It has been brought to my attention that some readers are offended by my use of “Harvard Barbie” as a nickname for independent Scranton mayoral candidate Paige Cognetti.
Good. That’s exactly the response I wanted.
The nickname is offensive, sexist, misogynist and all the other nasty adjectives that apply. That’s why I used it. It reflects the chauvinism and parochialism that keeps the paternalistic crooks who run this region in power.
I did not coin it. That dubious honor goes to one or more past and present members of the Scranton School Board. It reflects their fear and loathing of a strong, young woman with the skills, grit and audacity to put them to shame.
Those offended by the “Barbie” part overlook the real slam in the nickname. Paige isn’t a plastic doll. She is a graduate of Harvard with a stellar resume and experience in government. To some, that lone fact brands her an elitist egghead and an outsider, a “know-it-all” who doesn’t understand how things work here, a brainiac with a big mouth.
Paige and I have shared a few laughs over the nickname since it was coined. She understands the context in which I used it. I called her today to make sure that hadn’t changed. She said it doesn’t bother her, but some friends have asked her about it.
Some of my friends asked me, too, which is enough to convince me to put “Harvard Barbie” on the shelf. For now.
Thanks for reading.