Without a hefty cash advance, nobody with more than a dozen working synapses would want the job of figuring out over a one-year span whether The Weekly Standard or The Corner, National Review Online's group blog, posts the more aromatic tripe. But, Wednesday at least, it's no contest. In his "It Sticks in My Craw," Mark Krikorian explains that "Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English. ..."
Part of our success in assimilation has been to leave whole areas of culture up to the individual, so that newcomers have whatever cuisine or religion or so on they want, limiting the demand for conformity to a smaller field than most other places would. But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options — the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there's a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.Without getting into the whole multiculturalism contretemps in this matter - Andrew Leonard does a good job of that at Salon - most people, out of courtesy and an expectation of reciprocation, defer to the individual's preference when pronouncing a name. Krikorian allows as how that's okay, "but there ought to be limits." Which he proceeds to establish.
Ah yes. Just another drip to add to the growing deluge proving that Sonia Sotomayor is the other, the alien, the unAmerican. Not only is she empathetic and brown, but her very name needs adjusting. You would think she would know this since she's not a newcomer but was born here.
Some other names clearly need adjusting, too. Like the President's. Obama ought to rhyme with Alabama, Steven Colbert ought never to be missing the sound of the final "t," and Joaquin Phoenix should always be pronounced Jo-AY-kin, not the unnatural Wah-KEEN.
Krikorian's nonsense makes for an especially ridiculous critique delivered in a language that has always been a mongrel in vocabulary, grammar, spelling and pronunciation. As Leonard says:
Krikorian appears to be suggesting that we emulate the French, who are always striving so hard to keep their language free of foreign contamination. He's either forgotten, or never understood, that what makes the language he speaks so great is that it welcomes all comers and adapts effortlessly to them, without chagrin or fear or hate.Well said. But with Republicans caught in a confirmation predicament like this one, with so little in their quiver, expect them to make more and more arrows out of hot air.
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h/t to David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo.com.