Brett Stevens vs Brett Stephens: Onomastic Quicksand
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In my column this morning I wrote Brett Stevens' name as "Brett Stephens." (Now corrected.) That is roughly equivalent to mis-spelling "Peter Brimelow" as "Luis Gutiérrez."

The Stevens-with-a-v is a Dissident Right blogger, a man and a brother. The Stephens-with-a-ph (and only one "t" in the forename) is one of those neocon fantasists responsible for putting the "stupid" in "Stupid Party."  His advice to the Republicans is, in Ed West's memorable headline, that "The only way you can win is by importing more Democrat voters."  He believes that California Proposition 187 "helped destroy the GOP in a once-reliable state."  He wonders aloud:

By the way, what's so awful about Spanish? It's a fine European language with an outstanding literary tradition — Cervantes, Borges, Paz, Vargas Llosa — and it would do you no harm to learn it. Bilingualism is an intellectual virtue, not a deviant sexual practice.

You get the picture.  

(To deal with that last point:  Who ever said there is anything "awful" about Spanish, or bilingualism?  Most people have great difficulty in mastering a foreign tongue, though, and should not have to.  A citizen at any level of intelligence who is capable in the settled language of his nation should not be at any linguistic disadvantage in his daily life.  To demand bilingualism as a requirement for low-skilled work, as is now quite commonly done in the U.S.A., is just imposing a burden on citizens at the left side of the bell curve.  This is cognitive elitism at its worst ? the smart making open sneering war against the dumb.  Here, by the way, is me reviewing Vargas Llosa.  Here, even more by the way, is a comparison of civilizational attainment, though admittedly in only one narrow field:  Spain v. Britain.)

The Steven/Stephen business is a damn nuisance.  I have to look up Pinker's forename every time I mention him.  When we take over, I shall move a Constitutional Amendment to ban both forms.

And no, switching to Spanish is no solution: "Estevan" and "Esteban" are both in play. 

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