Friday, December 7, 2007

'hyü-bris.

I understand that I am not the first person to comment on this; I'm not even the first blogger to give the World Wide Wonder the privilege of listening to her belly-ache about it. I may, however, be the only one in danger of having her head explode over it. I hope you'll understand that as an English major with my very own personal soapbox, I can no longer restrain myself on this subject.

We've eleven more months before we get to pick the grand prize winner, and I need somebody who's in charge out there to know that although I will listen to all the debates, stump speeches, sound bites, and talking points they want to throw at me--before I go to the polls, I'm gonna need one more thing.

I need to hear each and every candidate say the word nuclear.

Even after seven years I still find it hard to believe that our President--a man who graduated from Yale and attended Harvard Business school, a man for whom English is his first language--is incapable of correctly pronouncing this word.

It might interest you to know that as an undergrad, I very narrowly passed a college Linguistics course. Thus am I in a position to know that this mangling of language, if you care, is referred to as metathesis. For the layperson, it's that adorable thing tiny children do when they pronounce spaghetti as pasghetti. It's cute when you're four; not so much if you're the leader of the free world.

And because he's the leader of the free world, he has advisers--people he pays to make sure he doesn't make a mistake that makes him look like a doofus. Don't you suppose that those people are whispering into his ear, every time he steps behind the podium? "Now try to remember, Mr. President--the word is nuclear. New-clee-ur."

So for a long time I was convinced that he was not a very smart apple--that he just could not be taught. But lately--and maybe it's just me--but sometimes I swear he's giving that offending syllable just a little more emphasis than he did five or six years ago. Like maybe he wants us to know that he's not stupid, dammit. He can say nuclear as well as the next guy.

He just doesn't want to.

photo, Steve Woods.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deb, I would love to hear this post on a podcast! I have tried in vain to pronounce 'nuclear' like our brave leader, and I can’t seem to get it just right. I don’t seem to have that extra something to bring to his special word. Now, I must admit I have just listened for the first time to one of your podcasts ("It didn't seem that long ago--until just this minute"), and thoroughly enjoyed it; however, I am a bit shocked that your accent is much softer than Tawana’s.

Anonymous said...

So for a long time I was convinced that he was not a very smart apple--that he just could not be taught. But lately--and maybe it's just me--but sometimes I swear he's giving that offending syllable just a little more emphasis than he did five or six years ago. Like maybe he wants us to know that he's not stupid, dammit. He can say nuclear as well as the next guy.

He just doesn't want to.




You know, I'd believe that too...if the man could pronounce OTHER WORDS correctly. It literally turns my stomache to listen to him. When I have a fifteen year old who asks me how I can listen to a man that can't speak his native language and makes up words - well, I have to agree with her. hahaha

Anonymous said...

Who is Tawana? Is she running for something too?