Sara Jeannette Duncan/Lily Lewis Archive

Wit and Wisdom from Canada (Washington Post, July 12 1885)

Duncan talks about a recent article in The Cincinnati Enquirer, which, apparently, reported that a “feeble-minded” woman went insane after reading an article about how Ulysses Grant had fallen ill (he would die two weeks after Duncan’s article). She argues that the melodrama surrounding Grant’s illness “panders to this peculiar public taste”--the idea that Americans should get to hear every intimate detail about the death of a national hero. She speaks more generally about declining journalism, like how editors are putting more of their own personality into articles than the author can. She then, abruptly, moves into warning “sweet girl graduates” to “be careful whom you snub”. Duncan states that if the victim is a member of “the staff of any publication whatsoever” they will end up slandered in the news, referring to a specific incident where the girls of Girton College were slandered by the Pall Mall Gazette. She then talks about some “discourse” which happened at a recent American “conference”, where there was a debate over whether or not women should attend conferences. She spends much time addressing one comment made by a male attendee which she feels is an example of common, rude “witticisms” made by married men.


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