Controversy erupted Thursday at the annual convention for the Anti-Abbreviation League. Featured speaker Howard Longfellow, a co-founder of the organization, drew ire after a speech in which he called for “re-examination of our goals.” “Yes, we need to adhere to our core principles, but there are times when we must adjust to society. I urge these changes ASAP.”

Controversy erupted Thursday at the annual convention for the Anti-Abbreviation League.

Featured speaker Howard Longfellow, a co-founder of the organization, drew ire after a speech in which he called for “re-examination of our goals.” ?

“Yes, we need to adhere to our core principles, but there are times when we must adjust to society. I urge these changes ASAP.”

Gasps turned to boos and catcalls from  the convention crowd when Longfellow repeatedly said “Anti-Abbreviation League, aka AAL.”

The speech began in typical fashion, as Longfellow lightened the mood with some anecdotes.

“Technology can be frustrating,”?Longfellow?told the crowd of about 300. “Why, just the other day, I tried to electronic mail a photo to my friend. He electronic-mailed me back and said he couldn’t download it. He wondered if it was in Joint Photographic Experts Group format. It was, but after a couple more tries, it still didn’t work. Finally, I?told him I could save it on a Compact Disk-Read-Only?Memory and just take it to him.”

Things soon turned sour, however, as Longfellow called for sweeping changes in the organization.?He also pushed for a compromise between NAACP?and the full spelling, suggesting it was “OK” to meet halfway with “En Double A See Pea.”

Many who witnessed the speech expressed outrage afterward.

Ted Fullword, a 15-year member of the League, described the speech as “a bad lysergic acid diethylamide trip.”

“This completely undermines our organization,” Fullword said. “I got up at 4 ante meridiem today just to catch a Trans World Airlines flight to get here. I’m missing the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament for this. What a shame.”

One of the league’s earliest campaigns was to stop what it called “rock ‘n’ roll nomenclature abuse,” suggesting a reversal of the short form references to bands such as Electric Light Orchestra and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Some members thought the league went too far in that regard with Alternating Current Slash Direct Current, and eventually formed the American Society to Conserve Our Alphabet (ASTCOA).

The Anti-Abbreviation?League eventually turned its attention to media campaigns to urge full spellings for AFL-CIO?and NASDAQ.

The league also made a push against television network abbreviations, but ran into a snag when it refused to appear on C-SPAN unless it were henceforth referred to as the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network.

ASTCOA co-founder A. Shorter said news about the speech made him “ROTFL.”

“FYI, this is vindication,” Shorter said. “I’ve come to realize people like Longfellow, et. al., are B.S., IMO, i.e., completely SOMETHING. So I guess they’re SOL now.”

Anti-Abbreviation League representatives did not say if the speech would result in Longfellow’s dismissal, but one said, “I’m sure we’ll have a lengthy discussion about it.”

Sturgis Journal