Today on Yahoo! News there was a video story about a woman whose minivan was returned to her by an Edmonton repair shop with an additional 1400 km on the odometer.
Ok story, nothing major, the shop apologized and is sending her a check as recompense.
Why then did the reporter on the story feel compelled to make jokes about the fact that this Canadian woman found 1400 "kilometers" extra? The Yahoo! reporter (and presumably the producer too) had to stop and issue the very stupid remark, "can we get that in American?"
A bright title card appeared giving the measurement in miles. Later, the same reporter mentioned that the woman was expecting a check...but then felt necessary to say "or a cheque", mispronouncing the word, adding a 'kwe' ending and making it two syllables. Also putting the Canadian spelling up in a title card with the comment that it was a "weird spelling".
For some reason, this was a sufficiently final straw to me that I felt it necessary to deliver feedback to Yahoo! about this. Here is my comment to them:
The Mars Climate Orbiter I referenced, for those who do not recall this amazing gaffe, was a US$125 million spacecraft which was lost because one engineering group used the US system of units in miles rather than the Système International units of kilometers (the system understood to be used throughout the scientific community and in almost every other country in the world). 125 million US dollars lost because someone forgot to mention the need for a 1.6 conversion factor ... or to do it the way the rest of the world does it.
I don't really mind that the US continues to use a confusing and outdated system of measurement (how many cups in a gallon? how many yards in a furlong?), if that is what the US wants to do and the costly mistakes that it entails are not important to the US people and government, but to make jokes about other people's use of a sensible, easy to understand, and world wide system makes US look stupid.
To take pride in such ignorance is even worse. To feel resentment for the rest of the world not understanding OUR way is imperialistic.
To deliberately mention and then mispronounce the word 'cheque' (even though it is pronounced exactly as our own word 'check' should make any international viewers of Yahoo! News cringe. I know it did me.