If you were a world leader, how would White House press secretary Sean Spicer pronounce your name?
Spicer has been known to slip up and mispronounce the names of many heads of state in press briefings and live TV interviews. Now you can find out how he might garble your name too, thanks to an online widget created by Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. Type in your name and it will be magically “Spicerized,” morphed into something vaguely similar to, but completely different from, your name.
My name, Lindsay Maizland, was transformed into “Line Maj-Britt” — way off the mark, but at least the first initials were right.
The Herald created the meme generator after Spicer wrongly stated Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s name, calling him “Trumble” in a February press briefing. In another press briefing, he mistakenly called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “Joe Trudeau.”
Recently, Spicer has had a hard time pronouncing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s name. This week, CNN host Wolf Blitzer corrected Spicer’s pronunciation on live TV after Spicer stumbled over the name.
The gaffe inspired Ayman Mohyeldin, MSNBC anchor and co-host of Morning Joe, to create a Twitter poll about which Syrian dictator is the worst, listing all of Spicer’s mispronunciations as options.
We tried Spicerizing the names of some Vox staffers, and here’s what happened:
Assad’s name isn’t the only thing that’s made Spicer stumble this week. The press secretary made a stunning mistake in his Tuesday press briefing when he compared Assad to Hitler and made false comments on the Holocaust while attempting to defend President Donald Trump’s decision to order a missile strike on Syria.
Vox’s Zack Beauchamp reported that in the press briefing, Spicer astoundingly said that Assad was worse than Hitler because “Hitler didn't even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.” Spicer then attempted to clarify his statements but actually made it worse for himself, basically saying, as Beauchamp writes, that “Hitler only gassed people in ‘Holocaust centers’ — not a term used by anyone in the history of ever — but didn’t ‘drop’ the gas on ‘his own people’ in towns.”
This is mostly false. As Beauchamp notes, “Prior to the construction of gas chambers, SS soldiers would drive around so-called ‘gas vans’ — vehicles with hermetically sealed compartments that could be flooded with poison gas — and used them to execute Jews in, yes, their towns.”
Compared with that gaffe — which Beauchamp termed “a kind of petty Holocaust denial” — Spicer’s occasional (okay, frequent) mangling of foreign leaders’ names seems pretty harmless. Still, when you’re speaking on behalf of the president of the United States, you should probably try to get the names and facts right.