Christopher A. Craig sends along a gem of a Cupertino (our term for a spellchecker-induced miscorrection), from today's "Washington Wire" blog on the online Wall Street Journal. The piece describes an anti-Obama Youtube video from the Republican National Committee that uses clips of other Democrats talking negatively about Obama in the past:
Clips of former President Bill Clinton and former candidate John Edwards are also used. “Rhetoric is not enough. High flatulent language is not enough,” says Edwards from a debate appearance.
As you might have guessed, what Edwards actually said in the debate was "Highfalutin language is not enough." The word highfalutin should be in any decent spellchecker's wordlist, but if it is written as two words, high falutin, then the second element of the compound can go unrecognized. The origins of the falutin element are obscure, with the best etymological guess being that highfalutin developed as a jocular pronunciation of high-fluting. Fluting is in fact one of the suggestions for falutin given by the latest versions of Microsoft Word (2003 and 2007), right behind faulting. But presumably some other spellcheckers suggest flatulent as an alternative (perhaps for a differently spelled variant of falutin?), since the Cupertino shows up in many other places:
"Not," he adds, "to sound too high flatulent about something that's just a crap superhero book." (Salon, Oct. 18, 2000)
Well, your high flatulent society is worse than that. No, but if you figure in inflation, prices should be like $3.00 a gallon. (CNN Transcripts, Mar. 13, 2005)
Not only is PK soon going to be a TV star, but he also attends high-flatulent weddings in places like Cape Cod, where roads are named Sleeping Dog Parkway. (The Big Lead, June 7, 2006)
Every once and awhile it is fun to laugh at the art world, to take the stuffiness out of the high flatulent language and just be amused. (Iridescent Art News, Mar. 10, 2007)
Of course, "high flatulent" actually sounds like a reasonable descriptor for pretentious pomposity. Consider sense 5 of flatulent in the OED:
5. fig. Inflated or puffed-up, 'windy'; empty, vain, pretentious.
1658 OSBORN Adv. Son (1673) 237 Religion grows flatulent and Hypocritical.
1697 DRYDEN Æneis Ded. e4 How many of those flatulent Writers have I known.
1742 YOUNG Nt. Th. vi. 239 Flatulent with fumes of self-applause.
1863 N. & Q. 3rd Ser. IV. 284 Much of the poetry is little more than very flatulent declamation.
1870 SWINBURNE Ess. & Stud. (1875) 261 A score or two of poems, each more feeble and more flatulent than the last.
Given the figurative relationship between flatulence and windbaggery, this is a particularly fortuitous Cupertino. The chance resemblance could also explain why editors might not notice the error, since the miscorrection makes about as much sense as the original. In fact, it's more transparent, since the origins of highfalutin are lost in the mists of time. Could this be the first documented Cupertino eggcorn?