Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Picking a grammatical nit with William Safire

William Safire writes,
The principled refusal of two House committee chairmen to be steamrollered into hasty passage of a pre-election-driven bill has flipped the previous bashing of the supposedly domineering Bush 180 degrees.
Steamrollered? C'mon. American Heritage buys it, but I don't.

When the painters give my house another coat, is it paintered? When those same painters kick a ball around afterwards, is a soccer game playered?

When Mr. Safire works, does a column get writered? Or perhaps columnisted? Is his current column being challengered by me?

Perhaps those two House committee chairmen refused to be steamrollered because they preferred to be steamrolled.

Update--Mr. Safire's response is less than illuminating:

Dear Reader:

As you can imagine, I've been swamped with e-mails responding to my column in recent months. I read them all, most assuredly, including yours. But I cannot begin to answer them individually or I would have no time left to write a column that delights, illuminates, stimulates or infuriates.

Ergo this automated response. (Curious how "automated" has replaced "automatic." And why do I use "ergo" when "therefore" will do?)

Don't take offense, and don't stop writing. I'll keep reading what you send me.


William Safire