14 Nov 2008

Stephen Fry recants

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Last year, I lit into Stephen Fry for his pedantry over none. I am delighted to see that he has apparently recanted:
Yes, I am aware of the technical distinction between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’, and between ‘uninterested’ and ‘disinterested’ and ‘infer’ and ‘imply’, but none of these are of importance to me. ‘None of these are of importance,’ I wrote there, you’ll notice – the old pedantic me would have insisted on “none of them is of importance”. Well I’m glad to say I’ve outgrown that silly approach to language
He alludes throughout the whole piece to the difference between his old and new linguistically conscious self, and although he doesn't provide an explicit conversion narrative, it seems that he has been reading popular linguistics (he cites Pinker), and (more importantly) thinking about how what he reads relates to his own praxis. That is the mark of a true intellectual, by which I mean someone who actually takes the time to explore ideas and revise their views when confronted with persuasive evidence, and I honor it. Via languagehat.