by Alyssa LaVacca. @alyssalavacca.
PUTNAM, NY - Live reports from the annual Putnam County Spelling Bee indicate past champion and Bee favorite Ruth Ginsburg has dropped out due to a scheduling conflict with her bat mitzvah, leaving her slot in the lineup to be filled by controversial newcomer Leaf “Amy” Coneybear.
“I blame Ruth,” said Chip Tolentino, the winner of last year’s Bee. “She was selfish. She knew she was going to turn 13 at some point. She should have had her bat mitzvah celebration in 2012 - did she really think she’d be able to just keep pushing it off? Ruth’s ego ruined her own legacy and Coneybear taking her place will make sure of that.”
Indeed, the differences between the tween spellers are stark. The second girl to ever enter the Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ginsburg is considered a trailblazer for gender equality in American academic competitions. Coneybear, on the other hand, is known for interpreting the dictionary through the lenses of Textualism and Originalism. Instead of considering the dictionary a friend, Coneybear feels it should be strictly adhered to as it was originally intended by Noah Webster, the founding father of the American dictionary.
“She’s not that smart,” said eliminated speller, Marcy Park. “It’s just that the spelling club at her school is well-connected and has a 30 year history of funneling unqualified spellers into countywide and national Bees, but we’re only now realizing how bad it can get. I mean, she just outright refused to spell the word ‘emoji’ because it wasn’t ‘recognized as a word in the first edition of the dictionary’…”
The concern that Coneybear’s inclusion will rob the Bee of legitimacy is shared by participants and audience members alike. Notably, however, the Bee’s Official Comfort Council, Mitch Mahoney, sees no hypocrisy in adding Coneybear to the Bee despite his refusal to fill the spot Tony Scalia left when he dropped out in 2016.
“Life is random and unfair,” shrugged Counselor Mitch as he stood in front of the nurse’s office, intentionally obstructing access to the only First-Aid kit in the building. “Plus, as we’ve seen for the last four years, the best spellers… they don’t necessarily win, now do they?”
The Broadway Beat could not reach Coneybear for comment, though at intermission she was observed loudly complaining that another contestant’s two fathers were violating her religious liberty and preaching anti-abortion rhetoric to speller Olive Ostrovky, a pro-choice virgin.
The Broadway Beat feels a journalistic responsibility to report that none of those who attended the Bee in support of Coneybear were wearing masks or social distancing despite the global pandemic, which is probably going to turn out fine.