baltimoresun.com

« Yes, it's in the dictionary. Now pipe down | Main | A cheerleader for capitalism »

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.

 

 

Posted by John McIntyre at 12:54 PM | | Comments (5)
        

Comments

John, I think you mean "Boys *and girls*, we've lost." Well, maybe temporarily. But I'm not giving up hope quite yet.

Jan, I'm pretty sure he meant "Boys". It's consistent with the first paragraph.

Be that as it may, perhaps we can set our sights on the solution offered up in the last paragraph:

On Language. The Baltimore Sun. John E. McIntyre. LIGHT FOR ALL.

John:
In my three decades in newspaper journalism I've been through a veritable cascade of makeovers and revamps - everything from philosophical changes to whether or not we should use column rules; from heavy cropping of headshots to banishing grip and grin shots, from "We love white space" to "We need more investigative stories," to... you know what I'm talking about.
It's also been my experience that what goes around comes around; what we banned today looks great a year later.
As Groucho once said, "Time wounds all heels."

John:
In my three decades in newspaper journalism I've been through a veritable cascade of makeovers and revamps - everything from philosophical changes to whether or not we should use column rules; from heavy cropping of headshots to banishing grip and grin shots, from "We love white space" to "We need more investigative stories," to... you know what I'm talking about.
It's also been my experience that what goes around comes around; what we banned today looks great a year later.
As Groucho once said, "Time wounds all heels."

So "Words" by Zimmer doesn't count because it is in the Week in Review instead of the magazine?

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.
Baltimore Sun Facebook page
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Stay connected