Jon Stewart and the Limits of Fame

Jon Stewart has been host of the popular “Daily Show” for a decade now and has been on national television longer than that. Yet a goodly number of the bloggers I read and commenters on my blog routinely mispell his first name with the more common “John.”

What’s up with that?

I get that some names have multiple spellings and that using the less popular variants invite confusion for those who have only heard the name.  But we’re talking about people who are writing, quite often in response to a written article — sometimes even having themselves quoted the correct spelling in the piece.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    Spelling is a little different than general knowledge. I once worked for a company called Tecnomatix. It took a while for fingers not to want to automatically ad an ‘h’ after the c, like in Technical. Now, some years later, I still catch myself typing ‘Tecnical’ without an ‘h’. Even people that know his name is Jon, may inadvertantly type John.

    Of course, spending a little time to edit your piece can do wonders.

  2. Triumph says:

    Yet a goodly number of the bloggers I read and commenters on my blog routinely mispell his first name with the more common “John.”

    Dude–You’re talking about typos on freaking blogs. Its not like people are preparing a manuscript for the Man Booker Prize.

    Blogs are designed for more-or-less instantaneous reaction–minor spelling error ain’t no big deal.

    Besides, John Stewart is a yellow-bellied liberal who deliberately misspells his name as an affront to patriotic Christians. By not using the spelling from the Gospel he is insulting all right-thinking Americans.

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    You tell um triump!

  4. Bithead says:

    What’s up with that?

    Talk to Henke.
    I’m sure he’ll give you an earful on the subject.

  5. sam says:

    Spelling is a little different than general knowledge. I once worked for a company called Tecnomatix. It took a while for fingers not to want to automatically ad an ‘h’ after the c, like in Technical. Now, some years later, I still catch myself typing ‘Tecnical’ without an ‘h’. Even people that know his name is Jon, may inadvertantly type John.

    Heh. Years ago (may still do it for all I know), PC Magazine gave out an annual award for technical excellence. One year, the cover of the mag showed a lovely young thing holding the plaque for the year–the plaque read “Tecnichal Excellence”

  6. markm says:

    Talk to Henke.
    I’m sure he’ll give you an earful on the subject.

    I just fired it off to him. We’ll see what he says about the controversy.

  7. just me says:

    I think partly because we mostly use the familiar and there isn’t that big a difference between John and Jon when reading the name for an adult fluent reader-sort of along the same lines of why our brains automatically fix typos and grammatical errors when we read without consciously thinking about it.

    I actually have the opposite problem. My son chooses to spell his shortened nam Jon, so I often automatically write Jon because it is what I am used to.

  8. neff says:

    I’ve noticed a pretty strong likelihood to refer to McDonald’s as “MacDonald’s” on the Internet too, particularly among people posting harsh criticisms of the company. I’m not particularly fond of McDonald’s itself, but whenever I’m reading someone slamming “MacDonald’s” I wonder how reliable the information they’re giving me is if they don’t even know the name of the company.

  9. Drew says:

    John, er, Jon Stewart. I’ve heard of him. He’s the guy who makes a living passing off smarmy comments as wisdom and insight to 22 year olds who’ve accomplished nothing in life, right?

  10. floyd says:

    After all this time and exposure you would think they could get Jon Stuart’s name right at least,GEEESH!

  11. floyd says:

    Don and Mary Leibowitz must be relieved!

  12. floyd says:

    neff;
    Ya think the “Big Mac” or the “Mac Tonight” mascot,might have influenced the misspelling, or was it just the lack of a decent diet?