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 Atlantis, Slate, 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!