Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's In A Name

I was listening to my friend Mitch Henck’s show on WIBA-AM yesterday morning while running errands on the west side, and one of his topics really tripped my trigger. His topic was “names that some people deliberately mispronounce”, but it morphed into commonly mispronounced words. One lady called in and said she hates in when somebody says “Ree-la-tor” (instead of real-tor) and it sent Mitch off on a rant (for reasons which only Mitch would understand) about people saying “Ohio” when they mean “Ohio STATE” and “Kansas” when they mean “Kansas STATE.”

It all got started when a lady called in and said the name Rush Limbaugh. She made it sound like the last part of Limbaugh was pronounced “bough”, like the bough of a tree. It set Mitch off immediately, and he went into a rant about how some of his left-leaning acquaintances deliberately mispronounce the blowhard’s name because they despise him. (I admit: I usually call him “Russ Limbo.”) And Mitch said a lot of his hoity-toity political friends on the left deliberately mispronounce local conservative politico and former school board member Nancy Mistele’s name with the accent on the wrong syllable: mis-TELL.

One “tell” that’s become current is people who say “Democrat Party” instead of “Democratic Party”, a deliberate tweak which I think was originated by El Rushbo himself. Any time I hear anyone say (or write) it that way I know they’re drinking Rush’s Kool-Aid. That ancient idiot Mitch McConnell does it frequently, as in “we will not compromise on anything with the Democrat Party.” Once in a while I write or say “the Republic Party” just to tweak them back.

Another similar one that’s current in the political scene is to refer to the President as “President Barack HUSSEIN Obama”, with special emphasis on his middle name, as though to imply that he’s a Moslem and not a Christian.

Mitch also pointed out that a lot of lefties still deliberately mispronounce Ronald Reagan’s name “REE-gun” because they so despise him. (I’m not sure which is more derogatory…that, or “Ronnie Ray-Gun”, as if he were some sort of space cowboy.)

All I know is that when somebody asks if Mister mo-RISS-ee is there when I answer the phone, I know it’s somebody who doesn’t know me and is about to try to sell me something.


  1. Y'know what bugs me? When sportscasters insist on saying "GREEN Bay" instead of "Green BAY." Happens all the time. Almost as annoying as "Wesconsin."

    And speaking as a lefty of long standing, I've never heard anybody pronounce "Reagan" as "Ree-gun." Doesn't mean it happens, only that I've never heard it.

    I can't tell you what I called him because this is a family website.

  2. Can those who mispronounce Rush Limbaugh's name correctly pronounce Jim Harbaugh's name?

  3. Colonel,

    I have to say, vis-á-vis the "Democrat" party, that the Pubbies who say it have hit paydirt if what they're trying to accomplish is to maximize the fingernails-on-the-chalkboard response of the Democrats.

    The Town Crank

    P.S., And as far as having one's last name mispronounced, one would think that a simple German name like "Erbach" would roll off the tongue of Wisconsinites with ease and felicity. T'ain't so. The crowning blow was to hear one of the first text-to-speech synthesizers pronounce my name as ER-BITCH. [Sigh!]