Conservatives are in a tizzy over the way Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) pronounced “Pakistan” during last night’s debate:
– “When Obama says Pock-i-stahn I have an uncontrollable urge to read the New Yorker and find some Chardonnay. Fortunately I have an old copy of NR and a Coors Light to snap me back to reality. Seriously though — no one in flyover country says Pock-i-stahn. It’s annoying.” [E-mail posted by Kathryn Jean Lopez]
— “Re Senator Obama’s ostentatiously exotic pronunciation of Pakistan, one thing I like about Sarah Palin is the way she says ‘Eye-raq’.” [Mark Steyn]
— “Most overwrought pronunciation of the night: The academic way that Obama says ‘Pakistan,’ with a soft ‘a’ – reminscent of a 1980s ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch in which newscasters over-pronounced ‘Managua, Nicaragua.'” [Philadelphia Daily News]
— “Drinking Game: A shot every time the candidates pronounce ‘Pakistan’ or ‘Taliban’ in an annoying way?” [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Even the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder liveblogged yesterday, “Noticing that Obama says Pahk-istan and McCain says Pack-istan.” However, Gen. David Petraeus also pronounces Pakistan with a soft “a,” the same as Obama:
Is Petraeus also exotic, academic, and annoying?
A. Serwer at TAPPED writes: “To pronounce something correctly is to be ‘ostentatiously exotic,’ while pronouncing something incorrectly is raised to the level of something like a presidential qualification. Meanwhile, there are thousands of Americans of Pakistani descent who are themselves ‘ostentatiously exotic’ by virtue of their names (and it would be elitist of them to expect anyone to pronounce them correctly) and ancestry.”