Excellent news from the NY Times: they've settled on a replacement for
the late William Safire as their language columnist, and it's linguist
and lexicographer Ben Zimmer!
In making the announcement, Gerald Marzorati, editor of the magazine
said, "Ben brings both an academic's deep knowledge and a maven's eye,
ear and passion to his commentary on the way Americans write and speak
now. We welcome him to our roster and know our readers and 'On
Language' devotees will greatly enjoy his columns."
"It's an honor and a privilege to be welcomed in the space that
William Safire called home for thirty years," Mr. Zimmer said. "I look
forward to continuing this fine tradition with my own take on how
language shapes our past, present and future." May he serve as long
(thirty years!) as Safire; my only faint regret is that I won't have
the pleasure of giving him the kind of beatdown I did his predecessor
(God love him), since Ben will actually know what he's talking about.
But my loss is the Times readers' gain. Congratulations, Ben!