The Rock Explainer

Ongoing History of New Music

30-03-2022 • 34 minutos

I’m going to explain why you might get frustrated at spellcheck on your phone or computer…and the answer has to do with a guy named Noah… no, not that Noah from the bible with the ark…another one… Noah was annoyed…as a proud new American, he believed that his new country needed to set itself apart from its former colonial masters in every way possible so they new nation could truly be different and independent and separate… By 1828, there was no need to take up arms anymore, so Noah picked up his pen…as an author of schoolbooks, his annoyance had to do with the way the British spelled some of their words…why could “colour” have that extra “u?”…the proper way to spell “centre” was “c-e-n-t-e-r,” not “r-e”…everywhere he looked, he saw what he believed to be nonsensical spellings… He made a list of such annoyances…and in 1828, at the age of 70, Noah Webster published his “American dictionary of the English language”…and it was a hit—largely because Noah was already that guy with all the spelling books being used in school… And so came to pass that Noah’s preferred spellings—again, modifications to the original British versions of these words—became adopted by America…and these spellings are what’s accepted today as correct in the U.S… That means if you have a computer or a phone or whatever and you have your default language set to “English,” it’s most often means “American English” by default…and that means if you try to spell certain words the British or the Canadian or Australian way, you get a squiggly line underneath… That really annoys me (and maybe you, too)—almost as much as when my iPhone insists that I mean to spell “ducking”…but that’s another story…but this story does explain why your device seems to hate your spelling skills…it goes back to grumpy Noah Webster and his nationalistic demands on language… Rock music has been with us since the early 1950s…that’s long enough for many things to become entrenched, familiar, and basically just part of the scenery…there are so many things about rock that we just accept and don’t really question or wonder about… But just like the spellcheck on your phone, if you start thinking about some of these things, you might wonder where they came from, why we do it, or who came up with the idea in the first place…let’s see if I can help…I call this episode “the rock explainer”… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit