"What do you get when you combine an over-educated populous, beer, and the lure of fabulous prizes?" asks the Harvard Book Store's website, plugging an upcoming spelling bee to benefit the Brattle Film Foundation.
I don't know if that was a test, but even if you can't spell populace, you can enter the open bees -- one for all ages, another for adults -- scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. The theater, the bookstore, and cosponsor Houghton Mifflin -- publisher of the American Heritage dictionaries -- are coughing up prizes, among them "100 Words to Make You Sound Smart." (There'll be a movie, too, but I don't know where the beer is coming from.)
So if you've always been a spelling-bee spectator, complacently watching as contestants struggled with seiche and haulm, it's time to find out how the other half sweats. Info and tickets here.
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
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Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.