I could care less (Safire Watch is ended)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Jan 31 09:02:53 UTC 2001

   I have decided to retire the "Safire Watch."
   This has been prompted the thought that the man might be ill.  Also, Allan Metcalf wrote to me privately to end it.
   In law or in medicine, I would have gone to professional committees.  I would not have had to beg all ADS members for help.  This would have been corrected years ago.  Errors would not be allowed to stand as fact.
   For anyone who is new to this, I'll briefly re-state what happened:

   I work as a low-paid parking ticket judge.  I have no employment protections and I get no benefits.
   I make no money from etymology, no one pays for my expenses (they're not even tax-deductible), and I always give my work away for free.
   Gerald Cohen and I solved "the Big Apple" about nine years ago.  I expected to see it in The New York Times, which has both a metro section and a weekly column on language.
   I work with William Safire's cousin, Jeff Panish.  On his cousin's advice, I sent a mountain of stuff to Safire, including an invitation to the 1992 American Name Society annual dinner (attended by the late Fred Cassidy).  I told Safire the importance of finding living witnesses, and how he could really help.  Safire never replied.
   A year later, SAFIRE'S NEW POLITICAL DICTIONARY came out and got "the Big Apple" all wrong.  Safire subsequently apologized to Gerald Cohen--but not to me.
   Week after week, year after year, Safire's cousin would cut out Safire's column and laugh at me.
   Finally, a mere eight years later, while I was vacationing in Norway in August 2000, Safire's assistant told me that Safire would write a "Big Apple column."  I was led to believe that John J. Fitz Gerald's important words would finally make the New York Times.  Out of respect for John J. Fitz Gerald (I always correctly spelled the name) and the stable hands to whom his words gave credit, I cooperated.
   We were all double-crossed.  My corrections were censored.  His new assistant refused to speak to me, and censored other my work as well.
   All of that awful stuff still remains until there is some apology and some correction.  I don't regret any of my anger, which I feel is justifiable.
   I'm just saying that I think the guy may be ill, and I don't want to beat a dead horse, so the Safire Watch is officially closed.

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