Clever writers on language

I wrote about Sarah Palin’s language and about Roy Blount Jr.’s language book. Now here are two pieces from the New York Times by writers much more adept than I. What gratifying reads they are.

Dick Cavett takes on the tangled syntax of the former vice presidential nominee and current Republican star. Cavett quotes Palin to devastating effect, but his own most memorable line is about her running mate: "I feel a little sorry for John [McCain]. He aimed low and missed."

Jack Shafer reviews "Alphabet Juice" by Blount. An inventive illustration by Matt Dorfman enhances the review. Shafer says of Blount, "The scientist in him holds and measures words; the poet tickles them and begs to be tickled back." Oh, that’s exactly it!

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.