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Spy vs. Rolling Stone

The Misspelled Celebrity Tote Board

No longer updated

H
ere are two magazines that have trafficked in celebrities without ever mastering the pesky little detail of getting those celebrities' names right. I monitored the two publications from November 1997 (when Rolling Stone's "Roslyn Carter" came on the heels of Spy's "Courtney Cox" and "Elizabeth Shue") until Spy's demise.

You might think Rolling Stone would have the edge in this ignominious contest, coming out weekly as opposed to Spy's monthly. But I'm guessing that the Stone also has a much larger, higher-paid editorial staff, and this probably accounts for Spy's "victory" (by a score resembling that of a just slightly out-of-control hockey game).

Here's one I had hoped I wouldn't see: Spy wrote about "Barbara" Streisand. I fear the folks at Spy were baiting me.

Paranoid conspiracy theorists will note that men's names don't seem to be getting botched, with the exception of Mr. Bright Lights, Big City. It took a woman (my girlfriend, Jacqueline Dupree) to catch Rolling Stone's back-to-back butcherings of Kirstie Alley and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

By the way, the spellings I'm listing below are the correct spellings -- that is, the ones not used by the magazines in question. I had an embarrassing moment when, soliciting other commonly misspelled names, I sent fellow Posties a computer message mentioning a bunch of people already on my list (including Katharine Graham), spelling all names the right way. A top editor helpfully wrote back to point out that she thought Mrs. Graham's name was right the way I had it.

SPY   9 ROLLING STONE   3
Courteney CoxRosalynn Carter
Elisabeth ShueKirstie Alley
Ellen DeGeneresJulia Louis-Dreyfus
Anne Heche 
Jay McInerney 
Katarina Witt 
Sarah McLachlan 
Isabella Rossellini 
Barbra Streisand 


Now what?

Move on to WHEN SLANG IS JUST PLAIN LAZY

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