*Don Lemon’s new profile in GQ starts out with the CNN anchor correcting the interviewer on how to pronounce “sorbet.”
Writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner included this moment of their interview as an example of how Lemon can convince people he knows what he’s talking about, even when he hasn’t a clue.
This is what happened when Brodesser-Akner tried to order sorbet at the end of their lunch interview:
He leans in, big warm smile, not wanting to correct me, but needing to: “Sorbette,” he says, like a news anchor. “It’s pronounced sorbette.”
“Sorbette,” I repeat, shaky. I smile, not quite understanding the joke.
“Sorbette,” he says with the confidence of a man who informs hundreds of thousands of Americans each night about what is happening across this land as well as many others. “It’s pronounced sorbette.”
Sorbette! Could he be right? I’ve been saying it like a French word for years, like a complete asshole. Have I, a native English speaker, a graduate of a four-year college, a frequent eater of frozen desserts, been mispronouncing it all this time?
But now here comes the waiter, and he asks if we’ve decided, and Don Lemon asks for the sorbette, and the waiter looks at Lemon like, Are you joking? I give the waiter the silent, wide-eyed micro head shake—No, he’s serious, proceed with caution—but the waiter has guts that I don’t, and so he says, “It’s sor-bay, sir.”
Because of course it’s sor-bay. I am shaken from my stupor and remember that yes, for sure, absolutely, it is sor-bay. I am right. The man sitting across from me, smiling and confident—he is not right. And so I am relieved, but also nervous about what will happen next.
But Lemon is not embarrassed. “Oh,” he says, and then nods, because you learn something new every day, and he doesn’t look at me to say how embarrassed he is, he doesn’t look with a gulp at the tape recorder, he doesn’t attempt a joke to clean it all up. He just says, “That’s what I’ll have, then.” And we move on.
So now, this has become a thing.
Cut to “The View” on Wednesday, when Lemon surprised the co-hosts with – of course – lemon sorbet. Pretty much no one on the panel or in the audience agreed with his “sorbette” pronunciation and co-host Nicolle Wallace went so far as to accuse him of acting like a stubborn Republican on the issue — “You are so Dick Cheney on sorbet.”
Side Note: Either pronunciation is valid, according to The Oxford Dictionary.