As most of you know by now, I am an admirer of British irony and wit, the subtler instances of which I occasionally highlight or dissect, as here, here, and here. At its best, it is a matter of tone, not a matter of telling jokes. And it is best delivered casually.
Today happens to be our weekly deadline day at The Economist, and I am right now (thanks to the London time zone that I am forced to observe in California) finalizing my piece in the next issue with one of our editors, Ann Wroe, who happens to be one of my favorites (and who is a successful book author in her own right).
In the piece, I quoted an American think tank whose name starts (as they all seem to do) with “Center For The…”
Ann changed it to “Centre For The…”. I asked: Do we change words to British spelling even when they are names?
And she replied:
Yes, words are anglicised even within proper names; it either has to look odd to us or odd to them, and we opt for them.