A comment from a reader caught in our spam filter reminded me of a post I had written nearly three years ago when I noted that sometimes my titles don’t quite fit the posts to which I attach them:
. . . many of my titles don’t perfectly fit the post to which they’re attached (and then sometimes our critics respond to the title and not the post). Or don’t get at the essence of the idea I’m trying to express. Other times, however, the title comes with the post idea and on occasion has preceded it. More often than not, as last night, I’m just eager to find something that will work so I can get the post up and get on with my day (or move on to another post).
Yesterday, in the title to a post, I asked whether class warfare rhetoric ever won an (American) election. In the comments, a(n apparently) new reader (at least a new commenter) offered:
Now, if the question is, “Has there ever been a time when a legitimately lower class presidential candidate has defeated a legitimately upper class candidate by employing class warfare rhetoric?” than I’m sure I have no idea, but that’s different enough from what you actually asked. . . .
He’s partially right. The issue I raised in the text of the post related not so much to class warfare rhetoric per se, but to Democrats making an issue of the presumptive Republican nominee’s wealth. A more accurate (yet less mellifluous) title would read: “Has attacking a candidate’s wealth ever won an (American election?”
The irony in all this is that, in most cases, I attach the title last (after having written the post) and you see it first (before reading the post). And sometimes I give the title less thought than I do the post, more eager to find something (hopefully catchy and which fits on one line) so I can complete the post.
And sometimes, as in this case, the title of the post doesn’t accurately reflect its content.