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McGill Reporter
May 13, 2004 - Volume 36 Number 16
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To the Editor:

If Maria Francesca LoDico had written her article (March 25) with anywhere near the eloquence, wit and style that characterized Daniel Richler's letter (April 29), her use of the word "wop" and the phrase "wop-ing it up" probably would not have generated the debate that it did.

Instead, what she wrote contained none of the "consistency, originality and wit" that Daniel attributes to his father as an "equal-opportunity offender."

Further, if what Daniel Richler refers to as an "embarrassing performance" by Gil Bellows had not taken place, then LoDico would not even dreamed of using "wop" in her piece and in her poor attempt to mimic the irreverence she claims to admire in Mordecai Richler's style.

Daniel Richler is, however, mistaken in his assertion that the critiques and expressions of concern have to do with "tone-deafness to irony, to dry wit, to squibs," resistance to "telling it like it is" and exaggerated political correctness. Bad judgment in the style of presentation at the conference and a less than skillful imitation of a writing style in the article are at the root of this tempest in a teapot.

In the right context, with the right skills, words like "wop" can be used in conversation, in humour, in literature, in drama and academically without being offensive.

Prof. Anthony C. Masi
Department of Sociology,
Deputy Provost and
Chief Information Officer

To the Editor:

Bernard Shapiro is a most inspired choice to become the first federal ethics commissioner. Of all the distinguished and wise individuals it has been my privilege to know over many years at McGill, none was or is more brilliant than he.

David S. Rovins

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