I have many reasons to dislike the Scripps National Spelling Bee …

Like the way the bee isn’t broadcast on a major network but relegated to the various ESPNs, for starters. This suggests that a more cerebral pursuit such as spelling isn’t worthy of non-cable channel like ABC or even PBS. (Heck, they put the preliminaries on ESPN3, which is one step away from The Ocho.)

The way bee contestants can seem like dictionary-spewing automatons, formed by years of intense, near-abusive drilling by overzealous parents living vicariously through their borderline-Aspergers academics.

The way the bee allows ties, as exemplified by this year’s co-winners. Seriously, the final round is composed of 25 words and if the uber-brains make it through then they are both crowned Supreme Spellsmith. What? The nerdbiscuits can’t grab a dictionary and come up with some more words?

The way the bee organizers have unceremoniously swept Howard under the rug after his and Scripps’ same-sex divorce.

…but the main reason the National Spelling Bee pisses me off so is that they use a bell to denote incorrect spelling. See for yourself…

See! He gets it wrong and – ding! No, no, no, no, NO! A bell is for when you get something right, a buzzer is for when you get something wrong. Have these geeks never seen a game show?! That’s how competitions work, especially competitions on TV. It just sounds so wrong and if these little scholastic show-offs aren’t messed up enough by the rigid mental discipline their rents have inflicted upon them then this gross misuse of tournament sound effects will surely do the trick.


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