The Corner

Nothing High-Flown About This Guy

Yet another instance of maladroit phrasing in speaking of the departed:

“Mr. Derbyshire—This isn’t timely now, but a few weeks ago the heir to

Walmart died and a friend of mine sent me this. From MSN.com: ‘Wal-Mart

heir John T. Walton, who died in the crash of his experimental, ultralight

aircraft, was remembered as a down-to-earth man who threw his considerable

financial support behind efforts to educate low-income children.’

“Maybe it’s just me. It seems like an unwise choice of words to describe a

person as ‘down to earth’ who died by crashing his aircraft into the

ground.”

No, Ma’am, it’s not just you. Inappropriate tributes to a deceased

person… Hmmm… I feel another competition coming on.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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