The longest political pamphlet ever

The particular furor over the dictionary—from which Skinner’s book takes its title—was partly due to a messy press release that declared “ain’t gets official recognition at last.” The press release left out that the dictionary also noted that ain’t was “disapproved of by many” and “substandard.” (“Ain’t” had also appeared in many earlier dictionaries.) Still, reviewers had a grand time with headlines such as “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With the Use of Ain’t” amidst a nationwide clutching of the pearls: gutter talk had invaded Webster’s! The New York Times called for the entire edition to be scrapped. Dwight Macdonald, seeing Webster’s Third as an incarnation of the middlebrow takeover of America’s intellectual culture, wrote a coruscating 20-page smackdown in The New Yorker.

"The War of the Words: How to Update a Dictionary," -