Letters: Eric Holder, Picking The Worst English Word

Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish read listener emails about a profile of Attorney General Eric Holder, and their reaction to an interview with New Yorker blogger Ben Greenman about eliminating the word "slacks" from the English language.

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Now, some of your emails. First, many of you expressed disappointment in our profile Friday of Attorney General Eric Holder. Chris Sands(ph) of Bloomington, Indiana, writes this: Questions about his Apple addiction, talk about Trayvon Martin? Where are the tough questions, NPR?


Mark Mitchell(ph) of Columbus, Ohio, wondered the same thing. He writes: Why was it that there were no questions asked regarding his involvement in the gun-running scandal Fast and Furious, or about the Justice Department's continued efforts to withhold documents, stall and impede the congressional investigation into the matter?

Mr. Mitchell goes on to say: Instead, the hardest question we heard about was whether he was still on a first- name basis at the Apple store.

SIEGEL: On a lighter note, our interview with Ben Greenman, of The New Yorker, got many of you writing. We talked with him about their online contest for a word to purge from the English language. The winning - or losing - word was "slacks."

CORNISH: Yes, slacks - as in pants or trousers. A preposterous word, Greenman says.

BEN GREENMAN: The texture of that word also is terrible. People said it felt like rubbing the palm of their hand over polyester to say that word out loud.


SIEGEL: Well, Daniel Sarper(ph) of Aventura, Florida, writes to commend Ben Greenman and the folks at The New Yorker for putting the word "slacks" on the chopping block. Sarper hates the S word so very much that he even refuses to include it in his email. He writes this: The word is disgusting. I'm not completely joking. Maybe the neuroscientists should scan the brains of those of us who just can't stand the word. I know there are bigger fish to fry in this life, in this world, but my sincere thanks go out to you and Ben. I feel better now.

CORNISH: Whether it's in relief or disgust, we do enjoy hearing your thoughts. Write us at NPR.org. Just click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.



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