I’ve received a civil and gracious note from David Hart regretting the tone of the exchanges over our respective articles. At his request, Mr. Lyttle has apologized, at You Don’t Say and Johnson, for his intemperate tone.
Dr. Hart and I continue to have differences. He sees his original article as a light-hearted and self-deprecating look at language usage rather than a serious position. I see in it a restatement of standard-brand language peevery masked by the tone, and the seriousness with which the commenters on his article take the matter suggests that I am not alone in that reading. There are people who read his article as he does, and others who read it as I do. You will read it according to your own understanding.
But I did jump on him a little severely, without clarifying why I read his article as I did until the comments had already heated up. And I did mistype idyll.
When we write for publication, as with any other public performance, we have no guarantee of a respectful audience. And if members of that audience fling brickbats, old fruit, and dead cats, we accept that hazard—which is why less-than-flattering remarks by Mr. Lyttle and others were approved as comments here.
Similarly, if Dr. Hart and I have been misunderstood by readers, we have only ourselves to blame. He apparently did not intend to open the gates to a clamoring horde of peevers, and I did not intend to attack his person rather than what I took to be his position. Writing is slippery.
For now, though, the cannons have been limbered and the muskets stacked, and calm has descended as the parties attend to their wounds.