Sane and Insane

by Jay Nordlinger

Impromptus today is the usual mélange, beginning with The Curious Case of the Commie Cadet — yes, he is curious indeed. I also talk about the “Populist International,” as Anne Applebaum calls it. Recently in Alabama, Britain’s Nigel Farage was talking about “the whole global movement.” He had come from Germany, where he campaigned for the AfD, of course.

A lot of normal conservatives think they can ride this movement — “the whole global movement” — as they might a tiger. They have “pas d’ennemis à droit,” no enemies to the right. I think they’ll be sorry. But time will tell (the most boring phrase in the English language, to be sure).

The news is full of horror and misery, but I would like to touch on something light, here in the Corner — a language issue. In Impromptus, I mention the pronunciation of “Puerto Rico” by mainland TV reporters. Some of this pronunciation is a little funky.

Years ago, I wrote a piece called “‘Gutter’ Politics” — about the pronunciation of foreign place-names and related matters. Why that title? Well, people were starting to pronounce “Qatar” — formerly “Qa-TAHR” — “Gutter.”

In Impromptus, I mention that Mark Helprin uses an interesting spelling in a recent novel of his: “Porto Rican.” That spelling is very, very old-fashioned — but there is something to say for it.

This morning, a reader has written me saying, “I notice that Major League Baseball is now putting accents on the uniforms of Hispanic players.” “Rodriguez” has become “Rodríguez,” for example. Our reader decries this trend.

I’m with him, generally, but I’ll tell you where an accent is necessary. Over the weekend, I was watching a video clip about the Minnesota Twins versus my Detroit Tigers. (I had high hopes for the Tigers at the beginning of the season. They’ve finished with the worst record in baseball, and their roster depleted.) The Twins have a star named Miguel Sanó. You need that accent, letting you know that the name is pronounced “Sah-NO.” Otherwise, he would be “SAH-no,” i.e., healthy.

With the playoffs upon us, Twin fans are certainly hoping that Sanó remains sano. As for the Tigers’ season: insano.

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