Sunday, October 23, 2011

I have a bone to pick with Mr. Webster.
Now any editor will tell you that I am not the world's greatest speller. Kieth Shelton once wrote on my evaluation "can't spell cat," and Mike Trimble still reminds me that I once spelled the plural of Jet ski "jet skies."
But some words I always spell correctly because it was drummed into me in journalism school. You know, commonly misspelled words that reporters should never fall victim to.
One of those words was pompon. No, not poupon. That's a mustard. Pompon. The things you wave at football games at any opportunity. I have a pompon for the Mean Green and I wave it endlessly given the slightest opportunity.
I wrote about my pompons a couple of weeks ago and was surprised to see when the column was published that some enterprising editor had changed the spelling to pompoms. I was horrified. What's the use of spelling a word correctly if an editor is going to change it and make it wrong.
Turns out that pompom is now the preferred spelling.
Who knew? Editors, that's who.
The explanation - so many people spelled it that way that it became word spelling law.
Now that's just wrong!
That's like saying that so many people run red lights that going through a red is preferred to stopping. Wrong!
As for me, I will continue to spell pompon in the old, yes, correct way and make them change it if they dare. No editor worth his salt would cower before a mere reporter with tradition and right on her side.
Especially one who writes about "jet skies."

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