A New Pastime: Butchering Podhoretz’s Name

It might be time for Commentary Editor John Podhoretz to get it over with and legally change his surname. Something with just a few more vowels.

At the National Review Institute summit this weekend, conservatives in media and politics gathered to talk about the future of the Republican Party. Those who participated on the “What is wrong with the Right?” panel on Saturday morning with Podhoretz either worked around having to say his name or completely botched it while trying.

National Review‘s Reihan Salam moderated the panel. While introducing the guests, he noted one John “Pod-hore-ets,” with emphasis on each syllable. “It’s ‘Pud-or-its,'” Podoretz said. Apologizing, Salam tried again: “Pud-hore-ets.”

Recognizing that his own name is difficult to pronounced, Salam thanked Podoretz “for the privilege of letting me butcher someone else’s name.”

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also spoke on the panel. Though Podoretz has been a guest on Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” program, it’s a name with which the “Morning Joe” host still struggles. “I won’t try to say his last name because I always butcher it,” Scarborough said.

NYT columnist Ross Douthat had no luck either… At one point, Douthat named each person on the panel along with their respective publications but noticeably skipped over Podhoretz. “I didn’t want to risk your name, John,” he said.

Again this morning, Scarborough struggled. Referencing the panel discussion on his show, Scarborough said he was “heartened” by what the panelists said. “Whether it was [Weekly Standard‘s] Bill Kristol or or John pud-ore-ets… boy, you can’t say his name right and he gets really mad at ya,” Scarborough said, clearly joking.

Podhoretz actually took the butchering well. He attempted to correct the mistakes twice, but laughed it off.