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Teaching experience

To the Editor:

I want to assuage some of your doubts about my teaching position at the University next spring semester. I can understand how my "public persona" may make me a dubious candidate for a traditional teaching position, but it is the amalgamation of my professional experiences as an actor, director, producer and guest lecturer that have given rise to this opportunity at Penn.

The deep social infusion of popular culture oftentimes robs us of the ability to dissociate fictional characters from factual ones, and I welcome the speculation your editorial invited, primarily because it implicitly brings rise to those very issues.

I obviously hope that any socially fabricated notion of "celebrity status" does not bring students into the disciplines of Cinema Studies and Asian American Studies for the wrong reasons. Instead, I hope that my professional experiences contribute a deeper understanding of the course subject matter. I very much look forward to a very engaging semester teaching at a university which is already at the forefront of the rapidly changing academic, sociological and professional spheres of Asian American Studies and Cinema.

Kalpenn Modi (Kal Penn) The author will teach at Penn next spring

In poor taste

To the Editor:

I was shocked and disappointed by the "Out Shoutouts" section of this year's QPenn supplement in the DP. While not mentioning names, a large portion of the comments clearly targeted specific students in ways that were rude, offensive, unnecessary and completely contrary to the goals of QPenn.

Gay individuals and communities throughout the world suffer from a lack of understanding and acceptance from heterosexuals. The last thing gays need, especially during QPenn, is to show what little respect and unity they have among themselves. With body image and eating disorders as the subject of the supplement's first article, it is disgusting to then insult any student's physical characteristics in a shoutout. These comments confirm many of the negative gay stereotypes their anonymous authors likely claim to denounce.

I understand the desire for humor and inside jokes within a community. However, I think that the shoutouts' cheap laughs come with a greater price for gays, namely their sense of themselves and their already delicate standing with the larger public. It doesn't matter whether people learn the identities of the targeted individuals; making fun of body-image disorders, drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases was an inconsiderate and easily avoidable mistake that hurts the entire gay community.

Daniel Spelman Class of 2008

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