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To The Editor:
Permit me to express my profound disappointment and outrage at the license taken in your recent article by Maria Francesca LoDico on the Mordecai Richler Symposium held at McGill (The Reporter, March 25, 2004). I cannot but assume that you gave careful consideration to including the word "wop." I have read and reread the article in search of some contextual, literary, cultural or other redemptive quality to this word. Scatological or derisive language has found a place in our culture, but always tempered by being seen as a literary device within the context of changing, but acceptable, societal norms. Do understand that this is no disguised plea for political correctness, nor an attempt to limit freedom of expression, but rather one person's point of view, mine, that it is absolutely unacceptable to employ "wop" when describing an attempt to find a person to read a text in accent. The most benign defence may be the author's feeble attempt to simulate Richler's "take-no-prisoners" humour. Should this be her defence, one thing is for certain: she ain't no Richler! There is little humour in gratuitous insult.
I am of course left wondering if that lengthy list of expletives used to describe members of the Afro-Canadian or Jewish communities would have been so glibly inserted.
I leave it to the reflection of the author, Maria Francesca LoDico, to judge whether this derision, or possibly self-derision, speaks more to her self-image than it does to the Symposium.
Ms. LoDico and the Reporter owe us all an apology.
Department of Political Science