Thursday, October 1, 2009

Seamless Safire

Over Labor Day Weekend, I stood on the Wilmington, DE waterfront and watched young crew teams train. I admired their coordination and teamwork. No oars dragging in the water. Instead, crisp and steady, the boats glided seamlessly.
William Safire, New York times columnist, passed away on 9/27/09 and as Mark Davis wrote in the Dallas Morning News, "There are many left to man the oars of punditry, though few will do it with such grace." You didn't have to agree with his conservative politics, but you couldn't disagree with his love of the English language. He wrote seamlessly and debated endlessly over word usage, structure, and style.
I pulled out my copy of Safire's Language Maven Strikes Again, and chuckled as I perused a few chapters. In the forward he wrote, "It's your language, too, buddy; if you want to abuse it and muddle it up, you will do that for yourself, not for me. If, on the other hand, you are willing to think about how we communicate, and consider the words and the forms of grammar, then you are automatically a member of the Authority, entitled to the thrill of membership."
It's a fun journey. Grab an oar and start paddling.

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