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Who Would Protest a Spelling Bee?

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The Scripps National Spelling Bee is one of the nation's most-time honored and consistently beloved academic competitions (just check out how favorably the 2002 documentary "Spellbound" was scored by critics), but it is not without its detractors.

Case-in-point, with the 83rd annual competition underway today in the nation's capital, opponents to the event have emerged in, well ... if not full force, full fours (terrible, we know, we know).

That's right: On Thursday, a four-person squad representing various orthographic organizations peacefully protested outside the Grand Hyatt Washington, where the contest is being held, in yellow-and-black bee costumes.

But precisely what was their problem? The stress placed on the young competitors? Nope.

The hyper-commercialization of the event (it is now shown live on ESPN and ABC, among other channels)? Nope.

The fact that the only hard copy of the official word list isn't even known to the event's official "pronouncer," former winner Jacques Bailly? No, again.

In fact, upon learning the protesters' comments, it turns out that the true object of their ire is not really the Spelling Bee, but the English language itself. They want the official spelling and grammar rules to be revised to reflect phonetic pronunciations. For instance, The Associated Press reports that they handed out pins with the words "Enuf is Enuf. Enough is too much."

One protester and member of The Spelling Society told local news channel WUSA-9 that current spelling rules should be changed. "The few rules we have, have loads of exceptions," Timothy Travis said. "One of the major rules for English spelling, is I before E except after C, but weird is an exception for that."
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There were only four protesters because they were the only ones who could spell well enough to make coherent signs.

June 07 2010 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm just surprised they got four people to protest this.

June 03 2010 at 10:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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