lawgivers

Those who have spent time reading 1940s and 50s (and maybe other decades’) newspapers will immediately recognize the reference here, from a recent Daniel Gross piece in Slate:

Today’s Southern solons have watched their local economies blossom thanks to a younger, more-vibrant auto industry unencumbered by the Big Three’s legacy costs and union work rules—a sort of anti-Detroit that has the flexibility and ability to turn profits by making the types of cars that Americans actually want to buy.

It always seemed weird to me to come across the word “solon” in newspapers. I get the allusion, but why did it become widely used? And what’s Gross doing using it now? These are important questions.

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2 Responses to lawgivers

  1. teofilo says:

    I wonder if length was a consideration. It’s considerably shorter than any plausible synonyms I can think of.

  2. andrew says:

    (A non-internal trackback comment! I haven’t seen one of those around here for months.)

    That might be part of it, what with actually having to set type and do manual layouts (or whatever they did) in the old days. It also saves time/space over distinguishing between House and Senate and Assembly and etc. I suspect that it originated with someone trying to be/being creative or clever but could have caught on for other more prosaic reasons.

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