On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with avocado farmer and bath aficionado Oprah Winfrey, in which she talks about her programming collaboration with Apple, teases a potential new talk show, and calls Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s “Buttabeep, Buttaboop.” She told THR:
Right now, I’m studying the field. I’m reading Shortest Way Home by [Pete Buttigieg], I call him Buttabeep, Buttaboop. (Laughs.) The name’s either going to really hurt or [really help] — I think it’s going to help, actually. Just the other day, I was at Apple with Spielberg and we were in the hallway talking about, (employing a dramatic voice) “What are we going to do?” And I said, “Have you heard of this Butta guy?” He goes, “No, Butta-who?” I go, “Buttabeep, Buttaboop. Look him up.”
When reporter Lacey Rose suggested that calling him “Mayor Pete” seemed easier, Oprah laughed, “I like saying ‘Butta.’”
Oprah’s pronunciation raises a couple of important questions. Number one: Is it possible that she missed this very website’s explainer about how to pronounce Buttigieg’s name? (It’s BUTT-edge-edge.) Has she perhaps fallen behind in her Cut reading, and she plans to catch up later but she just hasn’t had time? Hm. A chilling, but distinct possibility.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly: Should Pete Buttigieg change his name? For Oprah?
On the one hand, it would be difficult to take a candidate named Pete Buttabeep or Pete Buttaboop seriously. And I’m not sure, legally, how long the whole name-changing process would take — his new name might not be official in time for the primaries. On the other hand, it might make Oprah happy, and what matters more than that?
Something to think about.