To President Bush Re: the Word “NOO-cue-lur”

Mr. President George W. Bush
43rd President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Hello, Sir!

I don’t know how you feel, but I am a big proponent of continuous improvement. Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better! And so are you! Right?

Knowing that you are a like-minded individual (or perhaps I’m just ASSUMING you are, but I feel like I know you!) I have been racking my brain to come up with one – just one! – suggestion for how you might improve yourself, your administration…perhaps even the whole blessed country (or at least just the world). However, either because I’m not that smart or you’re just THAT good, for 6 years I’ve come up dry. But last week I was watching your last State of the Union address and I think I may have finally come up with something! At first I thought it was a small thing. But the more I thought about it, the more I think that instead of a small thing, it’s a big thing!

I know you’re a busy man (and if you did have some free time you’d want to spend it on that cool ranch-themed property you set up down in Texas where you can take pictures clearing brush and wearing cowboy stuff), so let’s not beat around the bush (no pun!) any further. Ready? Read this word aloud: nuclear.

Did you hear that? Do it again! See? That happened three times in your State of the Union!

If you can fix that pronunciation thing you probably just noticed (i.e., the way you say “new-KEW-lur” instead of “new-KLEE-er”), it will send a message to the world that a) you care a lot about that particular topic, and b) you are highly competent. I say these are important messages for a President to deliver!

I know. Words are just words. And normally I’d just say “let ‘er rip!” But this just happens to be one of the most critical words in the history of the human race. Plus, I figure that if you spend the big bucks on speechwriters (like that Frum guy, how much did he make? Heck, I’d do it for half that!), then words must be at least a little important. I find that words make a certain impression. Remember when Kennedy wore makeup on TV and Nixon didn’t? Same idea! And who won that debate? Need I say more?

I myself am full-time employed right now, though there’s probably a scenario where I’d come aboard to pitch in on the wordsmithing. “Answer the call,” if you will.

I considered that one drawback to fixing this pronunciation is that it does have a certain folksy appeal. It’s something somebody’s Uncle Clem might say after a few Blue Ribbons, if you know my meaning. But then I realized that doesn’t help you anymore because you don’t need to get reelected! According to my calculations and thorough review of The Constitution, you’ve gotta vacate White House premises in a couple years anyway (much to my chagrin)! You can totally focus on delivering the dual impression of caring and competence mentioned above. What a relief!

The other thing is, maybe you just don’t want people to worry. You know when your wife asks you the name of that TOTALLY hot new intern at work and you pause for a second and furrow your brow and answer, “Sicily, Cecilia, Sybill…somethin’ like ‘at.” But you know darn well her name is Serena and you’re just trying to pretend like she’s no big deal and you can’t even remember her name. Maybe you’re doing the same thing with nuclear. And I have to say, I appreciate the effort to make the whole topic seem too trivial to merit proper pronunciation!

But I think the real answer is this: you just ain’t sayin’ it right. And with a small adjustment in palette deployment, you can easily change all that. It might in some small measure help with our country’s worldwide approval ratings, which are at an all-time low. Even the Guamanians hate us. Or your domestic approval rating, which is down there in the dumper too. So, aside from getting another good speechwriter on staff, this may be just the ticket. People would talk about this, I know they would. Especially, and here’s the clincher, if you admitted your mistake. That’s the rap on you – never admits his mistakes. So this one you can admit and it’s not that big a deal and you look good and every time you say the word people will say, that Dubya, he owned up to his faults and just listen to the mellifluous tones now! Plus, that sure was one heckuva speech!

Anyway, them’s my thoughts.

~ by joshuakelly on December 24, 2006.

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