Stefan Fatsis pans the new decision by the National Spelling Bee to force contestants to memorize definitions:
There are two reasons for the change. One is philosophical—that learning definitions will make the event more educational for its participants. The other is procedural—allowing the Bee to better accommodate its new overlord, television. Both are wrongheaded. …
It was bad enough when the Bee was moved into prime time and sometimes stretched past the bedtimes not only of the participants but also of other children (my daughter, for one) who wanted to watch. Now TV is dictating how many kids get to stick around and spell some more. If you knew the cameras were showing up to film an event designed for the children who participate, it was easy to justify watching this. The fact that the Bee is being reformatted to satisfy ESPN’s scheduling needs should make everyone a bit more squeamish.
Some contestants could always retaliate like the one seen above.