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Letter: Morley raised writing to an art form

Mitchell A. Levin

Your fulsome and informative obituary about the late Morley Safer left out one salient fact that meant we missed out on one of those linguistic anomalies that crop up now and again.

Morley Safer was Canadian, but he also was Jewish. First and foremost, Safer considered himself a writer — on camera he read the words he had so carefully chosen while typing away on his manual typewriter. In Hebrew, the language of the Jews, a “safer” is a book — a collection of written words. Furthermore, the Hebrew word “sofer” (a word that comes from the same root as “safer”) means “scribe” or “writer.” So is this one of those cases where a man’s destiny was determined by his name? Was Morley Safer or Morley, The Book fated to become a writer? That is a question for the philosophers and mystics to answer.

What we do know is that an era of tweets and linguistic impression we were fortunate enough to have a man among us who raised writing to an art form and in the process elevated those around him. He truly lived up to that quote he liked from Mark Twain — “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

Mitchell A. Levin

Cedar Rapids

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