Go Lancers!


The top half of the op ed page was devoted to student opinion. That Chang, in the words of the page 1 article, wanted a spirit-focused Lance to include "a page dedicated to student opinions to replace the page currently dedicated to student opinions" is as equally indicative of Chang's general ignorance of The Lance's operation as it is indicative of the student body's ignorance of what a newspaper's "op ed" section was about. This became evident in 1989 during something I call "the lug-a-mug" incident.


Back about 1989 some U of W club called the UW Environmental Awareness Organization introduced the Lug-A-Mug program. Instead of buying your coffee in Styrofoam they encouraged you to buy a plastic, reusable mug. Right. No big thang. Anyway, the top half of The Lance's op ed section was reserved for student opinion. Any student could submit a longer opinion piece and we'd run it there. It was a rare week we actually got something from an actual student who was not on staff. This is a world where hot topics like free trade, apartheid, the cold war, and acid rain were tearing up society. But we never heard a thing about any of this stuff from a student. Suddenly, after we ran a little puff piece in the news section about the Lug-A-Mug program, we started getting inundated with these anti Lug-A-Mug pieces from students for the op ed section. For about four straight issues we ran these anti Lug-A-Mug op eds. Finally, the exasperated head of the Lug-A-Mug program came up to The Lance's offices. She cornered the editor, The Legendary Kevin Johnson, and demanded to know what the hell The Lance had against the Lug-A-Mug program.


Kevin explained that The Lance had nothing against the program. He pointed out to her that every desk in The Lance had a lug-a-mug. It's just that the op ed section is for student opinion and for whatever bizarre reason, people had something to say about lug-a-mugs.



Letters to the Editor


Letters to the editor were generally subtitled with one or two words. It was considered high art if every letter on the page could be appropriately subtitled with a similar word or some kind of chain of homonyms. We had two fairly hard policies about the letters to the editor.


  1. We never made comments after the letter. The philosophy was we had an entire paper to have our say. The reader only had the little letters section. Sometimes, or most of the time, the letter to the editor writer was so snarky you really wanted to make some witty, biting comment après. But we really tried to rise above it. Terry clarified it this way, once: Most letter writers dash off their rants in great haste and it normally shows. In contrast, you spend time researching, writing, and revising your article. If your article, then, is so easily waylaid by the letter writer's "scattergun of opinion", well, you probably then deserved it.


  1. We corrected spelling and grammar. One was also tempted to run snarky letters to the editor unedited, leaving in their embarrassing typos and bletcherous grammar. Only once did we come close to making an exception. Some woman in residence put a poem on the outside of her dorm room door. It was about friendship, women holding hands and getting along, or something. Someone came along and wrote all over her poem something like "shut up bitch, you wouldn't write poetry if you had my big dick in your mouth". She was pretty upset, naturally. We did an editorial about it, wondering what kind of losers the University of Windsor has been letting in lately. The next week we got an anonymous letter to the editor defending the guy who defaced the poem. Basically he suggested the reason women were raped so often was because they couldn't laugh off insults and threatening, sexually tinged language. His letter was so offensive, so hate filled, and so poorly worded, that correcting his grammar meant, in some ways, making his vomit more palatable and implying an intelligence that simply wasn't there.




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