Keep it Simple

While researching spelling-bee star Samir Patel for my story “The Glorie of Defeet,” I came across references to a group that called themselves the Simplified Spelling Society. One segment of the group that picketed the Scripps bee sounded like an art mob with an anachronistic flair. “Spell Different Difrent,” read one sign. The Society’s Web site offers up questions like “Why do ‘they,’ ‘say,’ and ‘weigh’ rime?”

Last week, I caught up with Steve Bett, the editor of the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society and moderator of a discussion group on Foolswisdom. Bett is a retired professor living in Austin who joined the 99-year-old international organization in the late eighties believing, as most simplified spellers do, that

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