In Safire’s case, however, he will be remembered more for his interest in other people’s words than his own words of political commentary. As the NYT obituary says
from 1979 until earlier this month, he wrote “On Language,” a New York Times Magazine column that explored written and oral trends, plumbed the origins and meanings of words and phrases, and drew a devoted following, including a stable of correspondents he called his Lexicographic Irregulars.
One of my (rather too many) nerdish interests is in the origins of phrases and sayings, and his Safire’s Political Dictionary is invaluable for the history of political terminology. Read the rest of this entry »