In the future, to prevent embarrassment, Nakesha Abdur-Rauf should ask a better-educated person to read her letters of opinion before she submits them (The Mail, 8/6). Her letter criticizing the July 30 article “The Murder Victim Next Door” reveals that she missed the point. Like many others who scorn people they think “need to go back to school,” she obviously does not understand the use of irony in ordinary discourse. (As an example, when a panhandler says, “Can you spare me a dollar?” and you say, “Sure, I’ve got billions,” you are being ironic.) To ensure that readers do get the point, publications may have to start attaching disclaimers, in words of one syllable, to their ironic remarks: “Hey, we don’t mean this the way it sounds. That is just one kind of style we use when we write. Truth is, and what we mean you to see, is that we too think it’s wrong for the death of some folks to get far more press than is fair. We were mad and we were sad, but we played it as if we were cool.” Without such a disclaimer, publications might have to give up and start limiting their prose to accursedly simple sentences.

Washington, D.C.

via the Internet