I have a lot of peeves. The older I get, the crankier I get, and I am frankly irritated beyond belief by some of the manners in today's world. Mostly having to do with cell phones.
But there is one thing which probably irritates me more than almost anything else and so it earns the title of "pet peeve" and it is simply this: People who mispronounce the names of the countries of Iran and Iraq.
You hear it from politicians, from "newscasters", from military personnel who have served in Iraq, from ordinary people in the street. Whenever they talk about either of the two countries, they will invariably refer to them as EYE-rack or EYE-ran. It grates on my ears and makes me grind my teeth. It makes me want to grab them by the shoulders and stare intently into their eyes and say sweetly, "It's EAR-rock," or "It's EAR-rahn." Really, what is so very hard about that?
I believe that this ignorant behavior started as a deliberate insult to those two countries by American politicians who wanted to show their disdain for an entire group of people by refusing to pronounce the name of their country(ies) correctly. And they have now misled very large numbers of their own countrymen into the same stupid error. The only difference being that many of these ordinary people don't realize they are mispronouncing because they are just following suit of what they have heard on television. They've never bothered to look in a dictionary. That would require effort.
What is perhaps most distressing to me is to hear military people who have served in Iraq referring to it as EYE-rack. Dude, if you're going to invade a country, you should at least learn how to pronounce its name!
Now that David Broder, that Dean of Pundits, has advocated war with Iran, perhaps we will be be hearing veterans of some future conflict there referring to the quagmire in EYE-ran!
Honestly, this is just an example of ignorance compounded by laziness, multiplied by the hubristic assumption that Americans get to call people and their countries anything that we want to. Is it any wonder that we are seen by those people and countries as "ugly Americans"?