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Welcome David Skinner

Here at Ricochet, we’re always grateful when a distinguished writer agrees to join us for a week. But our newest visitor deserves a special measure of gratitude. David Skinner was originally set to come onboard at the beginning of the week, but he encountered a small hiccup: Hurricane Sandy. It would have been perfectly reasonable for him to have rescheduled or cancelled on us outright, but he followed through and is now here for your reading pleasure. And we’re delighted to have him.

Mr. Skinner is the author of the new book, The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published, a relentlessly engrossing look at the story of Webster’s Third dictionary, published in 1961, which set off nothing short of a firestorm in the world of letters. The AP’s review calls the book “An immensely entertaining history…[that] manages to transform this somewhat arcane lexicographical dispute into a real page turner.” Having started it myself, I have to agree. The book is, to put it briefly, marvelous.

David is a writer and editor living in Alexandria, Virginia. He writes about language, culture, and his life as a husband, father, and suburbanite. He has been a staff editor at the Weekly Standard, for which he still writes, and an editor of Doublethink magazine. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New AtlantisSlate, the Washington Times, the American Spectator, and many other publications. He is also the editor of Humanities magazine, which is published by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary.

Please welcome David Skinner to Ricochet!

  1. grotiushug

    Nice to see a fellow alumnus of the Cunningham Park Day Camp here at Ricochet.  Welcome, David.

  2. Diaryof1

    Welcome, David!

    p.s., I would love for you to invent a gender neutral third-person singular pronoun for those times when gender isn’t known. I proof manuscripts for a large publishing house, and it makes me crazy when my editor instructs me to allow “they” or “their” in reference to a single person or someone or anyone. Of course that’s better than the awkward “he or she” but the English language should be embarrassed. Plenty of other world languages have a neutral third-person singular pronoun. I understand that even Shakespeare engaged in this inconsistent usage, but surely something can be done by now?

  3. Percival

    Welcome, David!

    I heard the Between the Covers from National Review on your book.  It is on my list.

  4. J. D. Fitzpatrick

    Looking forward to your posts, David! 

  5. Pig Man

    Ain’t it great David is here!

  6. Yeah...ok.

    Wow, this word geek has groupies!

    I use word geek with utmost respect. But still.

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