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June 4, 1998

U held hostage by pro-consonant group
Letter’s abduction by BCD escalates vowel/consonant feud

BOSTON — The Letter U, the 21st letter of the English alphabet, was abducted from its home in the Upper Ukraine yesterday, and the notorious pro-consonant group BCD is taking responsibility. u.gif (8872 bytes)

The feud between the letters began last year when the infamous “FebRuary Manifesto” was released by the BCD to concerned English professors and copy editors across the country. The manifesto claimed that if the population at large did not begin pronouncing the R in such words as ‘February’ and ‘library,’ steps would be taken. While the vowels laughed the document off as “absurd, egalitarian, inane, outrageous and unrealistic,” it now appears the BCD meant business.

A document released to media by Boston police officials listed in detail the extent of the BCD’s demands. The 14-page document, written in 12-point Helvetica Bold, described the indignities the consonants have been made to endure.

The list opens with the consonant credo: “Our brothers in arms have been forced to suffer under the yoke of the vowels for centuries. If acts of terrorism are necessary to get our cause the exposure it deserves, so be it.”

The BCD’s demands include:

• All silent letters to be pronounced. Words such as pneumatic, tsar, doubt and llama will be directly affected.

• All abbreviations (JFK, TLC, VCR, etc.) are now to be considered actual words, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. Dictionary editors are required to act in immediate accordance.

• The constant need for the use of a U each and every time a Q is used is outlawed. BCD considers this grammatical curfew to be a blatant show of contempt.

• And a helicopter.

Police are still baffled as to the whereabouts of the U. “We will contine a fll-blown search for this missing letter ntil it is fond. We have nmeros cles and rmors to go on at this time, bt p to now, or search sqads have not been fortnate,” said a police spokesman. A phone conversation with the kidnappers yesterday revealed that it was being held in Boston and was still alive. Police assured reporters that the U was fine, but was only able to emit a few guttural groans.

In a recent phone interview with Professor Frank D. Schwartz-McKnight, PhD, a source close to the consonants, he offered some clarity to the plight of the consonants (or ‘non-vowels,’ as he calls them) and subsequent kidnapping.

“There are 20 of them, and only five vowels, but the vowels have all the power,” explained Schwartz. “It’s South Africa all over again. And the consonants mean business. If the police are not careful, they’ll be using flash cards before the week is out.”

Professor Schwartz also said he believes Boston was chosen because of its blatant disregard for the letter R.

“The Q-U debacle has been a sore spot for consonants for years,” he added. “They’ve accepted that a vowel presence is required in every English word, but I believe this particular show of aggressive chaperoning by the vowels pushed letter relations to the boiling point.”

When asked if the letter Y was also a pro-consonantist, he claimed, “Sometimes.”

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