For newcomers trying to get their bearings, here's a short list of things we do and don't like about The Bee:
- Smart kids being awesome. Smart kids being awesome.
- That part late in the Bee when we get to words of Finnish, Mayan, Welsh, Afrikaans, and Egyptian origins.
- Jamaican and Canadian spellers, except the 2008 Canadian Bloodbath round which was really unfortunate.
- Foodie words, because it's the only time in the competition many grownups feel smart.
- Dr. Jacque Bailly
- When Bee veterans, coaches, and parents come here and share their wisdom and experience.
- Use of computerized competition to impose artificial elimination checkpoints for tv purposes, especially, in the cutoff from Thursday afternoon to Thursday night.
- Interviewing kids in the middle of the competition
- Interviewing kids right after they've been eliminated
- Cutesy filler pieces which demean how hard these kids work
- The fact that the bulk of the first hour of primetime will be dominated by filler, and not spelling.
- Yiddish words capable of multiple correct spellings (otherwise known as The Marsha Special), and capable of igniting Bee controversy.
- Amateur psychoanalysis of the kids and their parents. As I've written before, which is as close to a mission statement as we've got:
"What we won't do is mock the kids, or presume we can learn anything meaningful about them or their parents based on the brief slices we see on tv. As my favorite line from Frost/Nixon goes, 'The first and greatest sin or deception of television is that it simplifies, it diminishes. Great, complex ideas, tranches of time. Whole careers become reduced to a single snapshot.' We will try to be modest about what we believe we're seeing; the only thing we can know for sure is whether the word is spelled correctly, and what we learn from former spellers thereafter."Or, as Shonda explained last year: "What I love about the Bee is its celebration of intelligence. The Bee at its best is a dance party for braininess, a nerdgasm for smarty-pants. The Bee is home for those of us who maybe can not throw a ball or run without our inhalers. The Bee is a place for people who like to read, who enjoy math, who love science and art and geography and words, words, words. The Bee is for people who have plans that do not include being a Real Housewife of Anything. The Bee is the only way our people will ever be on ESPN. And that makes the Bee awesome. The Bee is a celebration."
Come celebrate with us this week.