Roy Peter Clark wrote a book about language which was savaged viciously on Language Log — in other words, the poor guy was publicly ridiculed and his work rudely trashed. He couldn’t possibly have learned anything from that, could he? He has a guest post now in which he describes his reaction.
In brief, the criticism, some of it harsh and uninformed, helped me straighten out some crooked thinking about language, a process that resulted in the recent publication by Little, Brown of my book “The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English.” On August 22, Ammon Shea gave the book high marks in the New York Times Book Review, calling it “very much a manual for the 21st century.”
I write this on Language Log not to tell you that my success has proved some of your commentary off the mark. Quite the contrary, I have often said now to friends and colleagues that had I not been roughed up by the Language Loggers, I could not have developed the muscle tone to write the book.
Hmm. Who would have thought that maybe the response to criticism was dependent on the attitude of the recipient? Oh, gosh. Me.