the high road can feel kinda low

I have, in the spirit of fun (admittedly tinged with meanness), poked fun at myself and at the Oscars. At the sweet Tony Danza once, and the amazing Selma Hayek. I could say everyone does it, but then I’m back to second grade standing on the Brooklyn Bridge with a lecture about all my friends jumping off it, now is that what I want, too?

I don’t know why I go there, to that mean place, even with a spirit of fun. I’m no comedian, and really, the comedians I like best are the nice ones. Ellen. Bill Cosby. I don’t know many others. People who are funny and never at anyone else’s expense. I don’t want to be her. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, maybe not hard enough. I think sometimes we take things too personally, that if someone were to come across something mean written about them, they shouldn’t take it to heart, but should instead question what’s really going on with the writer who penned the words. Are they doing it for attention? Are they jealous or insecure about their own talents?

When I turn these questions on myself, when I force myself to respond, I’d have to say, it was done, even behind the veil of good fun, because I was lazy. With regard to my Oscar’s post, the one where I didn’t edit myself, simply aired what I was thinking, it wasn’t done maliciously, or really, even for attention. I wrote it because I didn’t know what else to write. I was lazy and didn’t feel like doing a post-mortem on the night, with the benefit of morning and some good sense. It was easier than thinking. It was easy. It’s why it’s so easy in writing to be mean. I need to work on that. And I apologize for being lazy. For being mean. Because really, I’m better than that.

I need to remind myself of all the times I wasn’t lazy. All the times where really nasty things were written about me, by people who, just the same, didn’t know me at all. People who attacked me personally, pissed on my writing without being constructive, people who were unkind… and I wasn’t lazy. It would have been lazy and easy to lash back, to have a pissing contest. And it took more effort NOT to respond, to take that high road. I wasn’t lazy when I chose not to address all the assmunch cracks at my expense. So I shouldn’t be lazy when it comes to making the assmunch cracks at the expense of others, especially people I’ve never met. My unprompted apologies.



  1. I've always been impressed by your ability to not bite back. It's one of the things that makes this place so likeable.

  2. Not taking the high road is human. I'm surprised you're even questioning yourself or "apologizing". No, I guess it isn't "nice" to trash-talk the stars at the Oscars but on the karma scale, there's much worse. I'm actually not even trying to defend you to yourself or make you feel better for doing it. If anything, THIS post of seemingly common sense, seems "lazy" vs the Oscar post.

    The Oscar post was easily relatable and could have (and probably did) sparked debate- frivolous debate, of course, but whatever. I doubt many people relate to really feeling bad about ripping on couture style of one night.

  3. I don't know about anyone else, but it never crossed my mind that you were being mean. It's much worse to say negative things about people you actually know, even though the stars are people just the same.

  4. I feel the same way when I say something mean. I don't know if I would call it lazy, just the ugly side of human. When I am mean, I get a sick feeling in my gut – like all of my goodness just quickly twisted into a knot. We all do it, and only on the high road does one admit when she has sunk down low.

  5. I didn't think your Oscar post was bad at all. Actually had to go back and read it again; try to figure out why you're even apologizing. After reading it for the second time, the only issue I found was with the Owen Wilson comment. Other than that, no big deal. Hey, it's your blog Steph, write what you want.

  6. i hate to say it, but this post is the pits. its your post, be mean/snarky/bitchy if you want to. we all do it. it is what it is. doesn't mean you have to apologize to the masses for being you, or some version there of. all in all, this post is a perfect example of how you (and lots of ppl, including me me me) betray our/themselves. JM2C.

  7. I would say that I like you and I like your blog, that's why I read it. I hope I haven't every been unkind to you, even though I do sometime disagree with you, and some of your commenters make that hard to do sometimes.

    Maybe I misunderstand but "I need to remind myself of all the times I wasn't lazy. All the times where really nasty things were written about me, by people who, just the same, didn't know me at all. People who attacked me personally, pissed on my writing without being constructive, people who were unkind… and I wasn't lazy." does that mean that people being unkind about you is any kind of reason to be unkind to anyone else?

  8. Why did you feel so compelled to write about the Oscars that you felt mean writing was better than no writing? You said you wrote it because you couldn't think of anything else to write. So take the night off from writing. Or post pics – everyone's always asking for pics of your kids, your scarves, your spice rack, your cookbooks, your shoes…

    FWIW, I skipped the Oscars post, simply because I have no interest in it. People I don't know, judging a slew of movies I mostly haven't seen, wearing shit I'll never afford or buy the knock-off of since I'll never have any reason to wear it anywhere.

  9. I, for one, appreciated your introspective post this morning. It's so much easier to be mean than to be nice. I watch it with my darlings all the time…and coach them to be nicer than meaner, not only because Karma is a bitch – but because it doesn't do one single good thing for them as people to be mean.

    Maybe there's a momentary burst of pleasure when you really zing someone, but the sick, horrible, knowledge that you just hurt someone isn't ever worth it to me.

    Thanks for the post.

  10. One point I think everybody has failed to grasp is that the Oscars, and Hollywood at large, depends on discourse before, during, and after an event. Talking (or blogging) about celebrities is an inherent outcome of the Oscars.

  11. Hold on, hold on. What are these adds for Amazon that are imbedded in the comments? At first I thought you were making the text of the comments into hyperlinks, but then I realized that either you weren't paying attention, just putting keywords into Amazon to hyperlink to, or that it was automatic. And who is "stephanied"? Need I ask?

    I understand you wanting to run adds on your site, but I don't know why you would do it in such an underhanded way. Also, your commenters are not aware that they are, in effect, advertising for Amazon, and I don't think they'd be that excited about it, either. I'm sure that they will all speak for themselves soon enough and tell me how horrible and stupid I am and that they would do anything for Stephanie Klein, or even Stephanie Di, it's inevitable, really.

    Stephanie, this is weird, and I think kind of low, to use your commenters for advertising revenue.

  12. I don't know what it is about this setting, but sometimes it's just easy to be mean around here. A setting full of intelligent, opinionated women discussing issues that sometimes hit close to home, behind a veil of anonymity that shields us from the human consequences of our words.. I've said snarky things here to people I don't even know, things that I would never say in real life were I faced with a real flesh-and-blood human instead of a screen. Most recently on your Oscar post. I think many of us have done the same at times. But you're right, action in numbers doesn't validate the action.

  13. The vagina comments about Tilda Swinton were really stupid and really tacky and really reduced my desire to read more. Been trying not to bother to take the time to say that since the post went up, but geezus, if you are an author you can do better than that, right?

  14. If you, indeed, edited the comment, then I have no problem understanding how/why you would imbed advertising into people's comments without their permission or knowledge.

    It's creepy.

    And for the record, I have no problem with you making money off of your site. I have no problem with you running adds on this site. I just think that your commenters should know they are shilling for a major corporation with their words before they do so.

  15. It's easier to be mean, and I don't know why. I'm really trying hard to be more positive in my life and I'm finding it really difficult to find people around me who are making the same effort. Snarky is fun sometimes, but it seems like that's the only way some people know how to relate to each other. Yech-

    Thank you for your post, Stephanie! I commend your thoughtfulness about your own writing, and truly appreciate your insightful words.

  16. i've been thinking about the subject a lot lately. mostly because i just finished reading. It really makes you think about the person on the other end of unkind statements.
    I usually say them carelessly – or to entertain others. I just need to remind myself that I'm smart enough to think of more interesting things to say than rude comments demeaning other people. and you're correct about the laziness factor. It takes a lot more energy to smart/funny without being unkind. I'm hoping it's a habit that can be broken with a little bit of effort.

  17. I think you are being waaaaaaayyyyy too hard on yourself. Maybe you feel a bigger responsibility because you have a huge audience, but I felt like I was sitting with my girlfriends as I read your blog and I loved it.

    But I'll respect your introspection and the message.

  18. hey stacey: what's JMC2C? you're way too hip for me. please explain.

    hey kelly: are you serious with that? come on now…"low"? REALLY?
    you must be kidding. i'm sure sk will respond that it's just a bug in the system: or better yet: if she doesn't? uh, hello? the girl's got two kids…i say make a buck wherever and however she can! this is a public domain!

    rock and roll…and uh, relax.

    i'm sure this sounds harsh but i don't mean it to really: adult life is expensive: what's the big deal if she wants to make some extra dough (or have her blog come up on more internet searches)…self promotion: is good promotion!

    come on now. really! who cares? it's all good…or rather: it's a blog: just. for. fun!

  19. hey stacey: what's JMC2C? you're way too hip for me. please explain.

    hey kelly: are you serious with that? come on now…"low"? REALLY?
    you must be kidding. i'm sure sk will respond that it's just a bug in the system: or better yet: if she doesn't? uh, hello? the girl's got two kids…i say make a buck wherever and however she can! this is a public domain!

    rock and roll…and uh, relax.

    i'm sure this sounds harsh but i don't mean it to really: adult life is expensive: what's the big deal if she wants to make some extra dough (or have her blog come up on more internet searches)…self promotion: is good promotion!

    come on now. really! who cares? it's all good…or rather: it's a blog: just. for. fun!

  20. jeez louise:
    I care very much if what I am writing, without my knowledge, is going to be used for advertising that I don't condone or have any knowledge of. If you read my later comment (which has been edited by SK, as was my first one), I say go for it! Advertise all you want, have ads on your site! I don't care if you do, in fact, you should. But the way that it is happening is distasteful and dishonest.

    For instance, say that you really really liked puppies. And in one of your comments, you wrote about how much you loved puppies. And somehow, a link to a book on Amazon about torturing and killing puppies appeared as a hyperlink in the text YOU wrote. Do you think that's "just. for. fun!"?

    Stephanie, is there a reason you won't publish my comments in their entirety? If it's something to do with privacy protections and Amazon not letting you say certain things, okay. Just tell me to bug off. I've been a loyal reader for a long time now, and I bought your book, and I think you owe your readers an explanation. I'm not sure if you'll publish this in its entirety, and sure, it's your blog and you can do what you want, but forgive me for thinking that this is not a good way to encourage readership.

    FROM STEPHANIE- KELLY, I TOOK OUT NAMES. THAT'S IT. I don't allow names or links. OTHER THAN THAT, FEEL FREE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF. AND, I have explained how amazon links work before. I do not manually enter them. If you or anyone else has a problem with them, don't click them, or don't post a comment. I'm also working on restructuring the site (though I don't know that I'll eliminate this feature). When I link to things, I make my links BOLD. And I don't allow HTML in comments, so the majority of readers here know that the links in comments are amazon links before they click them.

  21. If you are going to write with wit then sometimes you must go to a place some people may find mean. Sorry, but it is true.

    Their problem.

    Don't apologize.

    Personally, I find the "nice" comedian Bill Cosby rather smug, and sanctimonious. I don't like him. If he is so above reproach then why was he found to have numerous affairs and father a child outside his marriage? Yet he pontificates and reams other comedians and those in his community that don't fit his "mold"

    To me the Oscar post was real. The apology…I dunno it comes off as shallow and self-serving. I think you should have respected yourself to say this is a part of me…so it is the unedited you…but at least it is the unapologetic you.

  22. Kells — Actually, while all the other little girls wanted to be ballerinas and mommies (1960's folks; these were 2 of the 4 possible career choices), it was my heartfelt ambition to a Major Corporate Shill. The other kids looked at me funny; my parents tried to whup it out of me, but the fire of my ambition refused to die. Unfortunately, I'm as lazy as tree-dwelling sloth, fire or no fire. Fortunately, SK has figured out a way for me to fulfill my dream with absolutely no input or effort on my part! Thank you, Stephanie Klein. & bless you.

  23. Stephanie – posts like this show us you are indeed human, not just here for our amusement. Its your blog and we come back because we like you – fun and not so fun. Posts like this show us that you are so just like us – we all do this so don't worry about who says what about you…We wouldn't continue reading nor posting if we didn't like what you have to say, in all its shades of red to pink.

  24. Good for you and this post. We all tend to judge those we do not know personally and perhaps envy, good for you for calling yourself on it. You yourself have been harshly judged at times for things you have said. I'm glad you have come to this wise realization.

    And btw I think Tilda Swinton is absolutely gorgeous. She is a natural beauty with no need to follow Hollywood norms on what a star should look like. We could all learn from her and her confidence in herself.

    Loving yourself for who you are is key to a happy life me thinks. Not how much makeup we can cover ourselves with or 'name' clothing we don. Superficiality stinks and most of us grow to realize it.

  25. (there's a big difference between being lazy and being tired. its ok.)

  26. I already forgot about that Oscars post. Do you seriously feel bad about what you wrote? Sure, the vagina eyes comment wasn't exactly classy, but it was your opinion which you are entitled to. So you didn't edit yourself, is that lazy? Your 'drunken posts' aren't edited either, no?

    Jay Leno is my favourite 'good guy' comedian. His biography is just so funny and warm. Although I guess he made fun of people too, but never in a really meanspirited way.

    FROM SK: I've just been thinking lately what assholes some people can be, and how I sometimes fall into that category. I don't want to. I'm by no means perfect, and I don't strive to be, but I do strive to be the best person I can be.

    I'm also acutely aware of how mean people can be over the internet. I try to be fair. If people say mean things about other posters, I sometimes refuse to post them. If people attack me, simply to drive traffic to their site, I sometimes, but not often enough, remove their URL. If people use links to sites for promotion, I remove them. If people are downright inappropriate, especially in naming others, I don't post their comment. And sometimes, if they just piss me off, I ban them outright. While I was away (just back from NY late last night), I had a friend approving comments, and one slipped past her that was hurtful in nature to someone other than me. Once I realized, I edited that comment and the ones to follow referencing the original. I'm sure that makes sense. Just wanted to clarify.

    As for the nature of this post… I will say the thought came about when I was asked to do something recently that would definitely require me to take the high road.

    Imagine, if you will, having to break bread with the people who bribed you not to marry their son. Having to play nice with people you knew said malicious things behind your back. I've had to do such a thing before, and recently I was asked to do something similar. It got me thinking about the high road and how fucking taxing it can be. Mean people suck, and I don't want to contribute to that.

    As for the amazon ads, it's an engine. I don't choose where they go. I've stated this before. I'm working on revamping the site anyway, with a different ad structure. Like I said, I've already explained the amazon thing, and I'm too tired to go there again.

  27. And for those of you who love Amazon adds, Leno's biography is called "Leading with my chin" – let's see if the advertisement script picks it up :D

  28. "I don't allow names or links. OTHER THAN THAT, FEEL FREE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF. AND, I have explained how amazon links work before. I do not manually enter them. If you or anyone else has a problem with them, don't click them, or don't post a comment. I'm also working on restructuring the site (though I don't know that I'll eliminate this feature). When I link to things, I make my links BOLD. And I don't allow HTML in comments, so the majority of readers here know that the links in comments are amazon links before they click them."

    Is there a reason you don't permanently and visibly post your policy even though you have one, or is it just something you haven't gotten around to but plan to do? The problem is that many readers aren't aware of any of the info in the above quote. This issue comes up repeatedly because, although you have addressed it before, it is not realistic to expect that every reader or commenter has happened to have read your previous explanations, since they're buried in comments and not visibly posted in a permanent spot. New readers and/or those who happened to have missed your comment with that particular explanation still do have a right to know BEFORE they comment that their comments may be turned into ads for Amazon (may be banned, or edited without any notation in the comment that you've made edits, etc.).

    I don't understand, especially since you seem to tire of explaining this regularly, why you don't simply post the explanation you give above somewhere visible, like right above your blog's comment form, so that all commenters can make an informed choice prior to leaving a comment.

    Most blogs, especially if they edit or delete comments, have a "comment policy"/advertising guidelines clearly stated somewhere highly visible. Your comment/advertising policy is buried in the comments of some post from 3/08 (and perhaps a few other posts as well), which doesn't exactly make it easy or likely for most readers to find it as they go to leave a comment.

    If you post your policy, you won't have to keep explaining it over and over, and readers will not need to keep bringing it up or feeling somehow wronged over it.

    Honestly, to you it may seem "fair," but I don't think it does to many others or it wouldn't keep coming up. I don't think it's the policies themselves people have a problem with, but the fact that the policies aren't really revealed openly, accessibly, and transparently.

    You have a clear, consistent policy that YOU are well aware of. Why not make ALL your readers aware of it (before they even leave a comment) as well (esp. since its THEIR words that are affected)? Not by noting it somewhere in the middle of dozens of comments in some post that will eventually be buried by future posts, but by giving it a permanent and visible spot on your blog such as above the comment form (along with your explanation that comments are moderated and will be posted after approval) where it most naturally fits and is most likely to actually be seen.

  29. Stephanie- had your last response to Kim been in your original post, it would have totally clarified why you were feeling bad about the Oscars post. Knowing it was connected to other event(s), I get it. (And your ex-inlaws still make me want to vomit, which is who I assume you just referenced)

    I don't know what the Amazon thing is and I don't care. I don't know why anyone cares. If it had happened to me, my first thought would have been a glitch- not some underhanded plot to take over the world (Kelly makes it sound that f'ing dramatic). I'm just thrilled not to have pop-ups.

  30. The contextual Amazon links don't particularly offend me but I do find them annoying. i don't think they add much value and I'd bet that the click-through rate is pretty low once people figure out why they're there.

    I work in advertising and to me this is a great example of how the business is floundering to find a revenue model that works.

  31. JM2C2= Just my two cents, too? It's a guess. Never seen it before.

    The current Oprah webcast/book club selection includes ideas about developing an identity that is not based on criticizing others and reacting emotionally. A lot of it is drawn from Zen Buddhism and Hinduism and is not original, but it is written in a way that strikes a chord with me.

  32. People get over yourselves! Can you honestly believe you are bitching to someone YOU READ THEIR BLOG DON'T PAY THEM ANYTHING AND TELL THEM YOU FEEL VIOLATED BECAUSE SOMETHING THEY DIDN'T ASK YOU TO WRITE GETS A LINK OF A DIFFERENT COLOR IN IT?! You grip if she has pop ups, ads, spelling errors, mentions her books, says the shoes she wears… F*cking amazing you pathetic idiots. GET A LIFE!


  33. Reading the comments to this post sent me back to read those on the Oscars post. You were no more snarky than my friends and I were as we watched. Honestly, Oscar or not, that first shot of Tilda S crossing the screen left me wondering who that man in the dress was. It is unfortunate that you felt you had to make a public apology to those among us without a sense of humor. I hope that this episode does not change the way you write. After all, you developed this audience by writing what you felt, uncensored, snarky or not. :)

  34. Kelly: I noticed sometimes words here become automatic links as well. I think that it's merely a glitch, however and do not think it's intentional.

    Re: this post, I agree with 3 teens who said it is much easier to be mean than nice. So very true.
    Perhaps I have a thick skin or am somehow insensitive but I didn't see what was so egregious about that post. It's not like nastiness is a theme in your writing. If it was I suspect your readership would have diminished by now.

    I don't know why you wrote this after the fact but I never thought this post was necessary. It's a one off, not that big of a deal – is it?

  35. Personally, I'm glad you edit and block certain comments. When I sit down in the morning to enjoy your blog with a cup of coffee – I selfishly want a certain experience – a moment to live vicariously or catch up on the latest. To read some of the shit that does come through is like having someone pee right in my hot cereal.

    Happy day to you – did you have a joyous homecoming? I bet those babies were all over you!

  36. Simone – Nurse & teacher. Also stewardess, librarian & cowgirl. Boys' list included astronaut, doctor, pilot, scientist. This is from actual book in my 1st grade classroom. Don't remember context, but page w/lists clear as day in my mind. 46 years old and still not qualified for any of them.

  37. What I find interesting is that people are quick to defend you, yet again, about the Oscar post. “It’s not that big of a deal.” “This is your blog, unedited and your thoughts” “It’s only human, we’ve all been mean at some point, is it nice? No, but it’s human.”

    Normally I would agree with all of that, and personally didn’t have a problem with your post under the theory that celebs (at least now a days) have to put themselves out there for promotions sake (and sometimes, they just like being out there personally) and what comes with that is increased scrutiny and a certain amount of speculatory commenting mean or not about everything from their movies to their appearance.

    What I think is funny, and quite hypocritical of many of the adoring commenters here is that Ms. Klein, similar on a smaller scale, puts herself out there for strangers to view. Sometimes just to “help people feel less alone” with certain issues, sometimes for promotion (photos, books, what have you) sometimes to show off the tots and sometimes just because she damn well pleases.

    And that’s absolutely fine.

    But with the public forum in which she does it, and the way she puts herself out there, there are bound to be a few, sometime many, mean comments about certain content. I say, she knows the deal by now, but commenters who are so quick to dismiss Ms. Klein calling someone’s eyes vagina slits are so quick to jump on other posters for calling Stephanie vein, self-involved, egotistical, ad nauseum, saying this is her personal space, it’s not for us to judge, how dare we say anything negative about someone we don’t know personally.

    I say what she writes is personal, but what she chooses to post in a public domain is open for wide and varied discussion.

    I sometimes like this blog, I sometimes find it infuriating but I’m usually far too laid back to get too worked up about it. What I do get worked up about most times, funnily enough, are the commenters. The complete, blind adulation from some is astounding. I can think of flaws in even the best of people, even my best friends (sometimes she gets a little too tipsy and spills certain secrets she shouldn’t, but I love her). I do see some posters who are objective, able to say good things and give constructive criticism, but the vast majority of people who post regularly are like fawning sheep quick to dismiss when Ms. Klein is, admittedly, horribly mean, and quick to jump when anyone else commits the same sin.

    A final note: sorry to make this so long, but eh, oh well. I don’t have a problem with you editing your comments, especially when you say you do when people are viscious towards other posters, but honestly, there are some of your supporters in past posts who have been atrocious to people who have disagreed with you on whatever issue and It seems like a lot of those get through while a lot from detractors do not.

    I hope I don’t get jumped on and this is probably a bad assumption to make, but as an aside, I have never said anything mean or nasty to Ms. Klein. In fact, if I count correctly this is my 3rd post in more than 2 years of reading and I’m sure Stephanie (being a bigger tech wiz than myself) can verify it. So please don’t accuse me of being one of those nasty posters whose comments never make it through b/c I’m not. I’m just someone who very rarely sees balance in the discussion section, and sometimes I tire of fawning.

  38. M, please be more redundant.

    Yes, I'm being mean, but that comment was painful to read.

    Two sentences could sum that up.

    I want my 1.5 minutes of life back.

  39. Nice post. You're right…you can't be lazy in the face of criticism coming AT you; just the processing of it is kind of an ordeal. So at some level it seems worth it to dial back the harsh comments that flow so easily when it's late and I want to get the blog post up. Thanks for the reminder.

  40. Stephanie, I'm sure as a writer you can understand this point: I simply don't like to have what I write be used for something I don't necessarily know about or even used for something I don't believe in or support. Sure, I know I relinquish control when I write a comment. It's your blog, you can do WHATEVER you want with it. I swear I don't mind if you run ads. I just didn't know about these ads and I didn't like feeling like what I was writing might be used to link to a book with an idea in it that I didn't support.

    Such is life. I knew it was coming, I said it in my original comment, but I find that I don't want to read the mean comments about me or anyone else. And like Buffy, whose comments I have always enjoyed and whose website is absolutely beautiful, I always liked that you didn't "bite back." Well, maybe sometimes you did. But for the most part? I think you are an honest, good person who is working every day to be a better person. Believe it or not, pathetic or not (or, as Alison said, "f'ing…pathetic"), I think that knowing what words I use and what they will be used for and choosing them carefully and honestly is a good trait. I like to think that I work on myself every day, too, to make sure I am presenting myself and my beliefs honestly. It honestly does scare me to think that I'll write something that will link to something I don't support. I don't mind ads, do what you want to make money however you want. It's legal, it's within your rights, it's fine. I was just surprised, and I wanted to find out what was going on.

    I used to not like your writing. And you know what? Now I do. I believe that motherhood humanizes people (oh, no, here it comes, HOW COULD I SAY PEOPLE WHO AREN'T MOTHERS AREN'T HUMAN????). Though I am childless, I found this out when I was diagnosed with cancer and found out I had X amount of time to live. You know who it hurt the most? It was my mother. And when Lucas got sick, I made a comment along the lines of "medicine is an art, not a science" and I got BLASTED. People were so MAD that I wrote that. I think it's even an accepted phraseology, I've heard it from my doctors who can't cure me, heard it from all of them. They think it's comforting, maybe it is, to think you might have a chance, that statistics aren't the whole truth.

    I always wanted to be a writer, my whole life. You got to be one, and you worked to be one, and I wish I could have the chance to work to be one, but things came too soon and too fast and now I'm 28 going on gone. Now I have to do with the time I have left what I believe is right and good and positive. And you know what? Sometimes, it's as simple as leaving a note on a blog. Thank you for explaining why you edited my comments, and I'm sorry if I sounded snippy. I hope that I didn't sound as mean as Barbara E. or Alison.

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