Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 5 20:52:57 UTC 2013

On a lark I thought I'd check {David Broder icon}. It gets interesting
very quickly, starting with obits:

David Broder: Icon of journalistic integrity, fairness, tenacity
> David Broder, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist who
> died Wednesday, set an example of decency, fairness, and tenacity in
> the 45 years he covered national politics for the Washington Post.
> Through a column syndicated to 300 newspapers, 400 appearances on
> NBC’s "Meet The Press,” and the force of his presence at events, Mr.
> Broder was an outsize influence on national political coverage.
> Broder was “a man with unparalleled political instincts. He was a
> gentleman, a man of character. We all loved David,” said former
> Monitor political reporter Godfrey "Budge” Sperling Jr., who started
> the Monitor’s newsmaker breakfasts and was Broder’s friend for more
> than 40 years.

[National Press Club]
Journalism icon David Broder dies; received Fourth Estate Award in 1988
> Pulitizer-prize-winning journalist and National Press Club member
> David Broder died on March 9 at 81 from diabetes complications.
> For more than 40 years, Broder was a reporter and columnist for the
> Washington Post, winning journalism’s top award in 1973 for his
> coverage of the Watergate scandal. Renowned in the capital and beyond
> the Beltway for his incisive analyses, he defined the rubric for
> political reporting and commentary.

In both cases "icon" appears only in the headline. The reverse appears
on the Mike Huckabee's PAC site and in other blogs:

The Death of David Broder
> I was saddened to learn of the death of Washington Post columnist and
> journalistic icon David Broder. David interviewed me many times during
> my tenure as Chairman of the National Governors Association and my
> Presidential campaign in 2008. With the passing of David Broder, there
> is the passing of a quality old-school reporter whose journalistic
> integrity was driven by the desire to be accurate.

[Death To Tyranny]
> Maybe at the start a case could have been made that he was somebody to
> watch. But for the bulk of his dreadful career, he only placed in the
> top million political reporters because so many of the others were so
> god-awful. And of course since he became a journalistic icon,
> generations of up-and-comers have followed in the footsteps of his
> god-awfulness, that smarmy voice of oracular Village conformity.

Of course, the word more commonly associated with Broder was "dean", as
in "the dean of Washington journalism", "the dean of American press
corps". The closest meaning seems to be "elder statesmen" or maybe even
"guru" (although IMO "dinosaur" would have been more accurate in his
last few years)./z

AHD has dean 4. "The senior member of a body or group". Broder is
certainly /a/ senior member of the Washington press corps, but /the/
senior member? MWOLD makes it more clear by attaching the identical
definition to doyen, then linking dean 3. to doyen 1. In particular,
note doyen 1.b.: "a person considered to be knowledgeable or uniquely
skilled as a result of long experience in some field of endeavor".

But, back to "icon".

Broder himself was not averse to using "icon".

> He campaigned in South Carolina flanked by Sen. Tom Coburn and former
> representative Jack Kemp, icons of social and fiscal conservatism, and
> won Florida thanks to last-minute endorsements from Gov. Charlie Crist
> and Sen. Mel Martinez.

Icons of conservatism seem to proliferate. On Jesse Helms, in response
to his decision to retire:

> "On the day his decision became known, the New York Times described
> him as "a conservative stalwart for nearly 30 years," the Boston Globe
> as "an unyielding icon of conservatives and an archenemy of liberals."
> The Washington Post identified Helms as "one of the most powerful
> conservatives on Capitol Hill for three decades."

I suppose, "icon" and "stalwart" are a bit closer together than they
would be in other cases cited earlier.

Obama vs. the Icon
> Steele likens Obama's success to the fame and fortune won by Oprah
> Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. But the earliest
> of the crossover heroes he calls "iconic Negroes" was Sidney Poitier.
> ...
> But while all of the others mentioned by Steele were entertainers of
> one kind or another, Obama is the first to carry the "masking"
> technique of the "iconic Negro" into the realm of politics.

But here's Broder's piece that makes use of "icon" and "iconic". Here,
at least, the terminology does not originate with Broder, but with
Michael Steele. And the meaning is closer to "symbolic representative",
which merges with the earlier meaning of "icon" in similar contexts. But
it's no longer "a monumental figure", per OED 1.b., but is much closer
to the "Draft Addition" meaning. The other examples above may actually
go beyond that definition. The Death to Tyranny Broder obit cited above
gets the closest to that meaning.


On 5/5/2013 3:51 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> The meaning of icon has changed and broadened in the past half
> century, I think. The OED has the following draft addition.
> Draft additions March 2001
> A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol, esp. of a
> culture or movement; a person, institution, etc., considered worthy of
> admiration or respect. Freq. with modifying word.
> 1952   C. S. Holmes in Pacific Spectator Spring 248/2   ‘The Diamond
> as Big as the Ritz’, the work of a high-spirited young man turning a
> critical eye upon a national icon, satirically fabulizes the American
> Mr. Moneybags.
> 1975   Business Week (Nexis) 12 May 74   A large number of freshmen
> Congressmen sympathetic to knocking down institutional icons such as
> the ICC and CAB.
> 1980   Christian Sci. Monitor (Electronic ed.) 11 Feb. b11   Defining
> his icons as cultural phenomena, Wolfe devotes a chapter each to the
> spaceship, the city, the wasteland, the robot, and the monster.
> 1988   Sci. Amer. Feb. 67/3   Already an icon for young Indian
> intellectuals, the 32-year-old Ramanujan died on April 26, 1920.
> 1995   Hispanic Mar. 36/1   An American icon, the pickup truck has
> evolved from its role as a functional, less-than-glamorous work
> vehicle, into the sporty, headline-grabbing image of models like the
> Ford Bronco.
> 2000   Sunday Mail (Electronic ed.) 2 Jan.,   Hollywood's female gay
> icons Jodie Foster, Susan Sarandon and Jamie Lee Curtis.
> Here are two examples in which the term icon is linked to Emmett Till.
> Title: The Best American Essays 2001
> Page: GB 263
> Editor: Robert Atwan
> Year: 2001
> (Google Books data; Snippet view only; Data may be inaccurate)
> [Begin extracted text]
> The body of Emmett Till — "his head . . . swollen and bashed in, his
> mouth twisted and broken" — became a new kind of icon. Emmett Till
> showed the world exactly what white supremacy looked like. According
> to one report, Till's funeral ...
> [End extracted text]
> I have not seen this book on paper. A web page at
> www.betterbookprices.com has a long book description indicating that
> the words above are probably from the influential essay "Exquisite
> Corpse" by Ashraf Rushdy. In the excerpt above the physical
> manifestation of Till in death is labeled "a new kind of icon". This
> use of icon may fit the OED notion of a "representative symbol".
> Periodical: Jet
> Date: Jun 20, 2005
> Volume: 107
> Number: 25
> (Google Books full view)
> [Begin excerpt]
> Nearly 50 years after Emmett Till's battered body was found in a
> Mississippi river, federal investigators unearthed the Chicago teen's
> casket in hopes of finding clues to a murder that became an icon for
> the brutality of racism and helped galvanize the Civil Rights
> Movement.
> [End excerpt]
> Here the murder viewed as a transformative event is labeled an icon.
> To fit the OED analysis one might say that Tills death is a
> "representative symbol" of racism.
> The two examples above do not label Till himself an icon, but
> semantics of icon has continued to evolve.

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