Mr. Joseph Michael Cierniak of Frostburg is exercised over a post on our Web site:
Sun coverage of broadcast icon* and Baltimore native Jim McKay, who died Saturday at age 86.
He points out that Jim McKay, who was born in Philadelphia and who came to Baltimore at the age of 15, was by no stretch of the English language a native of Baltimore.
And he is right. You are a native of the place where you were born, and you remain so until the end of your days. Ezra Pound made much of being a native of Hailey, Idaho, though he lived there only briefly in infancy and grew up in Philadelphia. I’ve only lived in Baltimore for 22 years myself and am therefore, though a Baltimorean, still classified as an auslander.
We should be grateful that at least we did not refer to the late Mr. McKay as a former native of Philadelphia, an ignorant construction that we have published all too often over the years.
Mr. Cierniak is, however, in error in taking one of our sportswriters to task, at some length, for the “Baltimore native” mistake. Reporters do not write headlines or photo captions or what we call teasers — brief lines directing readers to information elsewhere. All this material is written by a cadre of anonymous editors laboring through the day and night.
Don’t blame the shoemaker for a mistake by the elves.
* I have flailed away for years, to no purpose, at the use of icon to refer to a person rather than an image, and I have given up the struggle. Though I still don’t care for it, I endure journalists’ addiction to it.