Nicholas Bodley scripsit:

> A recent body of text that circulated around the Internet had letters
> (within words) scrambled, except that the first and last letters were
> unchanged. What appalled me was that a sub-literate friend agreed with
> [the content of the scrambled message] that it was not at all difficult
> to read. (For me, it was not easy; I had to unscramble many words as
> I read.)

I didn't have any trouble reading it, and I taught myself to read very
early. I experimented with truly randomized texts and found them much
more difficult: there was a pattern in the text.

> Around Waltham and this part of Massachusetts, the geographical name
> Waverley is commonplace. However, countless people seem brain-dead when
> it comes to noticing the second "e", and can be trusted to misspell
> it as "Waverly",

Googling shows that "Waverly" has about 1.2 million hits, "Waverley"
about a third that many. The Great Unknown (who later proved to be
Walter Scott) wrote the Waverly, not the Waverley, novels, and I think
it's fair to say that the former spelling is the normal one in English
and the latter anomalous.

The dramatist Henry Fielding was once talking with the Earl of Denbigh on
how it was that the latter's family name came to be spelled "Feilding".
"I know not, my Lord", said Fielding, "unless it were that my branch of
the family were the first to learn how to spell."

> a Qalamite kindly alerted me to the term "haplology".

Or "haplogy", to be self-referential about it. To which we may add
apfrication, devoicink, diphthoungization, dithsimilation, epentthesis,
ftapped /r/, gemminnattion, glo?alization, haspiration, metasethis,
pyalatalization, voizing, rhotarirm, and vowol harmono.

He made the Legislature meet at one-horse John Cowan
tank-towns out in the alfalfa belt, so that cowan@...
hardly nobody could get there and most of
the leaders would stay home and let him go
to work and do things as he pleased. --Mencken, Declaration of Independence