The University of Chicago Magazine has a nice piece on Ben Zimmer, linguist and former “On Language” columnist (Keep “On Language” in the New York Times!); it recounts the history of the Times column along with Ben’s own story (“In the early 1980s, the preteen Zimmer wrote—but didn’t mail—a letter to the legendary On Language columnist Safire”). One quote that struck me:

Discontinuing the column is “like chopping down a tree in an old growth forest,” says former Oxford American Dictionary editor in chief Erin McKean, AB’93, AM’93. “You know, one of those huge monsters with a trunk ten feet across? It would take hundreds of years for that tree to come back.”


  1. Never seen a bteetr post! ICOCBW
    [I deleted the spam link but left the comment so this poor post wouldn’t be so lonely. -LH]

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