Saturday, May 27, 2006

YES, BUT HOW CAN YOU AVOID THAT TIE-UP ON THE NJ TURNPIKE SOUTH BEFORE THE MERGE AROUND EXIT 8A? Echoing thoughts I've advanced here before, Charles Passy argues that the just-concluded National Geographic Bee is a more meaningful competition than the Spelling Bee:
True, spelling is a gateway to understanding language, but what possible value is there to knowing how to spell "appoggiatura" (a musical embellishment) and "pococurante" (an indifferent person), to name two of the more recent winning words? By contrast, knowing about Cuba or Russia means knowing about Communism, the political ideology that has informed much of America's foreign policy in the past half-century.

And yet the spelling bee continues to receive all the attention. Perhaps that's because spelling is a tantalizingly easy concept to grasp. You either spell a word right or you don't. The answers are all in the dictionary.

Geography, on the other hand, asks more. But it offers more in return: to know the world is to know how to make it a better place, from a path to peace in war-torn regions to a promise to conserve our planet's natural resources.
Regardless of the merits of the above, this is Spelling Bee Week, and, yes, Shonda's coming back for another year of our live coverage.

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