This thread is awesome. Has anyone read "English: The Mother Tongue and How it got that way" by Bill Bryson? In it, he argues many of the same things people are arguing in this thread and makes some interesting observations. In it, I think he even makes a point in saying that before Chaucer, there weren't any rules, that there wasn't any standard, and so you could encounter many different spellings, and that the only sense of standard came when they had to write things down.
It's interesting how the language can evolve. Sometimes it's dialects widening their geography and getting more popular. In some cases, very secluded areas haven't had much change at all, like a certain part of Canada's eastcoast.
I've always found the evolution of language interesting, and I remember a TV show on PBS that I can't remember the name of, but was very interesting and entertaining.
The one pet peeve of mine, and I started seeing this in the mid 90's is the misappropriation of rouge for "rogue.", as in a rouge agent. I originally thought it was a misspelling, and maybe it still is, but I do see it very often and I find it annoying as I'm French-Canadian and know my French pretty well. Rouge = Red. If someone is "red", they're either red in the face, and if literally an agent wearing red, well, they'd stand out a bit much and not be very covert
They might as well be a painted target. In French, rouge can also mean "lipstick".