There was a lot of discussion last week about the whisky vs. whiskey controversy on the various forums and discussion boards, including Whisky Magazine, Straightbourbon, Peatfreak and Bourbondrinker.
Commenters raised various arguments that we hadn't discussed in last week's blog. The following is a brief summary.
Not to E
The consensus on the various boards and the few emails I received seemed to support the "not to e" position. Many in this camp expressed a "'taint broke, don't fix it," logic. One poster noted that no less than Michael Jackson had endorsed the multiple spelling position.
Another reader opined that using the e generally but switching back to no e for proper nouns, as Chuck Cowdery suggests, can lead to inconsistent use in the same sentence, which looks odd and may prove confusing: "Whisky Magazine has numerous articles about whiskey."
Among the e supporters, several gave examples of people assuming that, because of the spelling difference, whisky and whiskey were fundamentally different types of alcohol, leading to the exact type of confusion against which Chuck cautioned us.
A number of readers seemed under the mistaken impression that this issue was somehow trivial or otherwise lacking in gravitas. It greatly saddens me that there are still people who do not take seriously issues which may not seem "sexy" but which can have lasting and life-changing impacts such as global warming, nuclear proliferation and how we spell the names of various spirits.
Can't We All Just Get Along
One poster suggested that we can live with divergent spelling practices as we do with variations of indefinite gender pronouns (e.g. "he or she" or "his or hers"). There are multiple acceptable ways to express the concept of "he or she" when discussing a group of individuals of mixed gender, including he or she, they, (s)he, and he/she. Similarly, the writer pointed out, we can live with some who use the e and some who don't. While I appreciate the sentiment, I must point out that my little blog is nothing compared to the amount of ink which has been spilled on the proper use of gendered pronouns.
So, at this point, I'd say this controversy has been fairly well explored. It will be interesting to see if our little discussion generates any response from the magazines and other publications that have to deal with spelling issues.
As for me, all of this discussion has made be hungry for my favorite pastry, but is it doughnuts or donuts?
Next Wednesday: Meet Whiskey's Mexican Cousin