Your solution would probably resolve the problem I mentioned in “Animated-title with french tiny spaces”, too (sorry for the double posting!).
BTW: The tiny space (“espace fine”) is rrepresented by the html-entity   as far as I can see.
Thanks for the .text() suggestion, Brian.
We used .html() because the code needs to take HTML tags into account when preparing titles for animation, but the solution is somewhere in the middle and will be included with the next theme update.