The Great Jeopardy Saga

By now you may have heard about what happened on Jeopardy recently, although I won’t blame you if you are blissfully ignorant of this little affair (I became aware of it when someone posted about it to a discussion group I helped moderate). Let’s roll the video first:

Great news for Skyler Hornbeck, no? He has every right to be proud.

Well, let’s roll the complete video of the contestants as they responded in “Final Jeopardy”:

The young fellow who stumbled with the misspelling, Thomas Hurley III, is angry. He thinks he was cheated, as he explained to a hometown paper.

Maybe. But Thomas seemed doomed to take second place anyway, regardless of how he spelled “emancipation.” Maybe if he had stumbled over “sesquicentennial,” more people would feel bad for him.

However, this segment may suggest that Alex Trebek had it in for Thomas … and for a good reason:

Shuli Jones of Toronto, Canada, took third place quietly. It doesn’t seem fair that she had to deal with an American History question, although she studied up on it.

I think the kids gave it their best. Not like this fellow:

UPDATE: The usual Lincoln expert chimes in.

7 thoughts on “The Great Jeopardy Saga

  1. bdhamp August 5, 2013 / 6:36 am

    Spelling isn’t that important.

    “And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slavers within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. “

  2. Laura McCarty August 6, 2013 / 4:09 pm

    It’s been an interesting summer for Jeopardy and Civil War answers…earlier this summer a big adult winner (and alum of dear old Wofford, hail!) got credit for saying “War between the States” for a question about the Civil War.

  3. Phil LeDuc August 6, 2013 / 5:41 pm

    I’m just curious, Brooks – what’s your policy on spelling and grammatical mistakes made by your students on tests (essays or short answers) and term papers? Do you knock off points? I happen to think spelling and grammar matter. Clear and correct expression of ideas and arguments are part of the package. But maybe pointing out such things damages the student’s self-esteem. (Tongue firmly in cheek.)

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 6, 2013 / 5:52 pm

      A common comment I used to see: “This is supposed to be a history course, not an English course.”

  4. Buck Buchanan August 8, 2013 / 9:28 am

    While I am not as august a personage as Professor Simpson I do teach occasionally as an adjunct history instructor. I am okay with minor spelling and grammar on things handwritten (tests, quizzes). However, no slack on anything which is prepared outside of class. I was that way in the pre-PC days and especially so today with the software programs people use. Even back in the day I reminded them that a dictionary was a required element for their education.

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