I got some pretty angry emails regarding my last column.
I wrote about a group of kids I know who are former athletes now studying sport management who also happen to smoke a lot of weed. People saw that as an unfair generalization, saying that I portrayed the entire sport-management program as just a bunch of washed-up stoners.
(By the way, the term “washed-up” in the title was not my doing. I still haven’t mastered proper headline style, so other people write the column’s headline for me.)
It was bad journalism, a few of them said. No point to the story. I had no idea what I was talking about.
And that’s a fair argument, but it wasn’t my intention: All I was trying to do was write a little story about a very specific group of kids.
I apologize if it came off as insulting. I know the sport-management program here is ranked as one of the very best in the nation. It entails a wide array of subject matter, including not only sports-related classes but also business in general. You need prerequisites to even get into the program. Kids drop out because of the workload. It’s not easy.
I get it, OK? I understand. But now here’s my only problem: Why does it matter that the kids smoke weed?
Most of the emails I got said I was being judgmental toward the sport-management program. But then, weren’t they also judging the kids I wrote about? Do they really think that smoking weed is equivalent to worthlessness?
Maybe I’m wrong. It’s tough to gauge whether or not a person is coming across as judgmental, especially in writing. But I don’t understand why any form of association with a supposedly “bad” group of people is enough to elicit such a negative response.
No college program is made up of totally perfect kids. I’ve seen journalism students get so drunk they vomit and piss on themselves.
I’ve heard an exercise-physiology major use the word “fag,” as in, “If that fag tries to talk to me, I’ll punch him in the face.”
I’ve seen people snort cocaine off the faces of the little kids pictured on the covers of their early childhood education textbooks.
So should those specific cases be generalized to include all students in each program? Of course not. I assumed that was obvious.
All I’m saying is that you never know when something is going to be taken the wrong way.
Still, though, it’s a pleasant surprise to find out that some people actually read my column, even if they did get pissed off.
I never thought anyone ever took me seriously — because, even if I did come across as judgmental, I’m not even remotely qualified to make judgments or preachy statements or to form generalizations, hasty or otherwise.
I do my best, but I’m not a professional. I’m just some kid who writes a column. That’s all the credibility I’ve got.
For instance: The other day, I got sick and had some violent diarrhea. That right there is something I’m fully qualified to discuss, and if I had more space, I’d tell you all about it.
Evan Smith is a freshman studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Are you still pissed off? Send your rants to Evan at email@example.com.