I think about literary and cultural criticism all the time. But some days, when my wife and I are letting fly at each other, or when I’m blowing it by being too stern with my children — who was it that said all fathers are Republicans, while all mothers are Democrats? — or when I’m on the receiving end of criticism from my editors, I think I know nothing about words and their power to sting or inform at all.
Dwight Garner’s sorta-tedious essay A Critic’s Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical is all in favor of chastising writers for particular turns of phrase, so hey, I’ll get in this spirit of that and point out that the whole “who was it that said?” rhetorical device is utterly useless in the age of search engines and should be avoided entirely. It was Robert Lee Frost, Dwight. I Googled it for you.