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Letters: Eric Holder, Picking The Worst English Word

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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.


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 Just click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.



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