Saturday, January 31, 2009

Now where will I get my weekly grammar fix?

Earlier this month, I lamented the laying off of Nat Hentoff by the Village Voice.

Today I learned that James_J._Kilpatrick is retiring from the newspaper business at the age of 88.

Kilpatrick's picture and byline are among my earliest newspaper memories; he began writing a syndicated column (having already spent years as a writer and editor) in 1964. I think I was aware of his column even before I had graduated from the funnies page to the grownup sections of the paper. As several of the newspapers of my youth in Virginia carried his column, I often read it. (Kilpatrick edited the Richmond Times-Dispatch before "retiring" to Supreme Court news and column writing.)

In recent years, I've enjoyed (not to mention clipped for future reference) his "Writer's Art" column.

Kilpatrick has earned his time off, I suppose. But I'm going to miss those treatises on dangling participials, purple prose, and obscure words.

Thanks for your efforts in support of good writing, Mr. Kilpatrick. You have made it possible for many a grammar geek to keep his (or her) sense of humor in the face of declining literary standards.

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