Boys, we've lost
Strike the colors. It’s all over. Officers may keep their sidearms, and those who own their horses may take them home for the spring plowing.
The New York Times Magazine comes out again this weekend. We can inquire with it whether Miranda Cosgrove, “17-year-old tween idol, beloved by millions as iCarly,” can “turn into a grown-up star without becoming tabloid fodder.” A breathless nation waits.
In furtherance of the intention to make the magazine fresh, there’s a profile of 81-year-old Dick Clark.
And there is no “On Language.”
The protest has failed. The Keep “On Language” in the New York Times page on Facebook has stalled at 874 signatories, well short of Tunisian, Egyptian, or Libyan standards. There has been no popular revolt.
Hugo Lindgren, the editor of the magazine, has made the tough decisions. He has shifted the name of the magazine to the left on the cover and made it twenty percent bigger, and he has dropped Ben Zimmer and “On Language.” The editor of the paper, Bill Keller, who appointed Mr. Lindgren to the post, appears to stand by his man.
Never mind that public interest in the language, as seen in the attention being paid to Robert Lane Greene’s recently published You Are What You Speak, remains strong. Never mind that when grammar and usage are taught at all in our schools, they are presented in a tissue of superstitions and absurd fiats. Never mind that the staff of The Times itself, as we see in Philip Corbett’s “After Deadline” feature, could stand some polishing on the finer points. No, language is old hat, and must give way for Dick Clark.
Our remaining hope is that an editor at some other publication will prove capable of an intelligent decision and offer to take up “On Language” at a new location.