So, they had to spell “nuclear” phonetically to get Sarah Palin to pronounce it correctly last Wednesday in St. Paul. I thought it was already spelled phonetically, but they got her to say it right within five days. They’ve never gotten George W. Bush to say it right and they never got Jimmy Carter to say it right either. Carter, by the way, should have known better: after all, before he became President, he was a naval officer on a “nuculer” submarine.
Spelling words wrong so you’ll say them right is an old broadcaster’s trick and Sarah Palin was once a broadcaster. When I was on the air in Richmond, VA, I always spelled Staunton, a city in Western VA, along I-81, incorrectly in my copy, so I’d say it right. The correct pronunciation, by the way, is Stanton. And as a child of the New York metropolitan area, I always spelled Powhatan wrong too. You can probably imagine how I sight-read that one if I didn’t leave out the h. I didn’t have to spell Monticello differently in copy if I meant Jefferson’s home or the race track in New York. For some reason, the difference in pronunciation of those two places is something I could always remember. I’m not bragging, that’s just something that sticks in my head. I never could figure a way that worked for me to keep from messing up the different pronunciation of Lima, Ohio and Lima, Peru.
If we have any hope of continuing to call what passes for electioneering these days “political discourse,” can we please stop criticizing the 7-year-old in public? My mom used to moisten a Kleenex with saliva and use it to wipe my face when I was a toddler. I know Kleenex is a trade name, but mom always used Kleenex as opposed to Marcal, Scots, or some other brand. And I remember it because even when I was a toddler, I thought my thirty-something mother was doing something gross. Someone will eventually teach seven-year-old Piper Palin not to use spit hair tonic on her baby brother. In the meantime, I say cut the kid a little slack.