I grew up in Blackstone, Massachusetts, a small town on the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
I love Blackstone. It was a wonderful place to grow up. I’ve actually set one of my future novels in Blackstone, partly because it’s easier for me to write about a place I already know but also because of the affection I still have for the town.
I was taking a peek at Blackstone's official website yesterday for reasons I honestly can’t remember when I clicked on the About Blackstone tab, expecting to learn a little bit about the history of my hometown.
What I found was a single page PDF that was clearly written by a middle school student suffering from a traumatic brain injury. It is a poorly written, strikingly nonspecific, occasionally incomprehensible document that offers nothing of value to the reader. Comprised of three sections, it is the third section that I think is the worst.
Titled ORGANIZATIONS, I have pasted it below for your examination. In terms of grammar, please note the capitalization of the words Civic Organizations and the double and triple spacing after sentences.
Even worse, I don’t think it’s possible to write three sentences containing less information than these. This is truly a study in the art of the wasted word, a masterpiece of drivel and something that does not belong anywhere in print, let alone on the official webpage of my hometown.
What would a person who was considering moving to Blackstone think after landing on this page?
Worst of all, this is not a difficult problem to solve.
Why not simply link to Blackstone’s Wikipedia page, which isn’t great but at least is comprised of facts and correct grammar.
Or why not sponsor a contest at the high school, asking juniors and seniors to write their own About Blackstone page. Allow students to spend the entire school year working on their entry, then post the best piece on the website, crediting the student for the work.
Or how about simply deleting the tab altogether?
As a general rule of thumb, nothing is almost always better than dreck.