Letters: 'Transformers,' Spelling Rule

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/105923750/105923732" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read from listeners' letters, including one listener who takes issue with a story that called the original Transformers" cartoons of the 1980s "lame" and another who is indignant that the British have decided to stop teaching a golden rule of spelling: "i before e except after c."


Now, your letters and a couple of clarifications.

First, in our story about Howard County, Maryland and medical costs, I said that the state of Maryland actually sets reimbursement rates for doctors, which is unusual. As a result, the doctor's fees are very low compared with other states. Well, Maryland sets hospital rates, not specifically physician rates.


Another clarification comes from our story about this summer's big movies aimed at a certain age of boy. They are "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Both of these films are based on toys made by Hasbro. Well, we said that current Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner had taken over the company in 2000. That's not exactly correct. He was president of Hasbro's U.S. Toys Division, but he wasn't named CEO of the company until last year.

SIEGEL: Another line in the Hasbro story got the attention of Brian Plunkett(ph) in Tupelo, Mississippi. Here's the offending bit of tape describing the original "G.I. Joe" and "Transformers" cartoons.

NATE DIMEO: Even Hasbro's CEO conceded that those cartoons were lame, but lame was good enough 25 years ago.

SIEGEL: Well, Brian Plunkett writes: I realize the Transformers cartoons in the '80s probably were not Golden Globe Award winners, but they did the job they were supposed to do - namely, entertain 6 to 12-year-old kids without being so graphic as to alarm their parents, and maybe sell a little a product in the process. As one of those kids who watched the cartoon daily, I say it was a job well done, and definitely not lame.

BLOCK: Larry Roth of Ravena, New York took issue with our story about what the FBI calls lone wolf killers and why their crimes are so difficult to prevent. We said that police were unable to prevent James von Brunn's attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum because he wasn't under surveillance. And we said he wasn't under surveillance because, while he had written racist essays, authorities can't legally act until there's evidence a crime might be committed.

Well, Larry Roth writes: I listened with disbelief today, as NPR promoted the myth that law enforcement agencies can't cope with lone wolf killers. Of the three examples given, only the Arkansas shooter was anything like a lone wolf, coming out of nowhere. The other two - the Holocaust Museum shooter and the Kansas doctor killer - both had a history of violence, criminal behavior, and association with groups that have promoted violence.

SIEGEL: Well, on a lighter topic, listener Robert Wildman could not believe his ears when he heard my interview with Ben Schott, who writes "Schott's Vocab: A Miscellany of Modern Words and Phrases" for the New York Times Web site. At issue, the British have decided to stop teaching one of the golden rules of spelling: i before e, except after c. Why? Because, they say, there are simply too many exceptions.

BLOCK: Well, that reason is just not good enough for Robert Wildman. He writes: Britannia waives the rules, in other words. First, they deplorably discontinue use of the subjunctive mood, thereby losing the important, subtle distinction between the real and the imaginary. And now they want to demolish the spelling rules, too? Queen's English? My aching place where I sit down.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Well, if you, too, were seized by something that we've aired - either you though it was weird or just plain heinous and you have the leisure to tell us about, and if you can spell all those words correctly, please write to us. Just go to npr.org and click on Contact Us.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.