First, there's an interesting little semantic development there. Merriam-Webster defines maven this way:
one who is experienced or knowledgeable, EXPERT; also FREAK 4aThis definition (I think) stays very close to the Yiddish/Hebrew origins of the word, but 'language maven' has come to mean something very different: It's a self-appointed expert, a person dedicated to upholding rules that in part never existed. But the last part of the definition fits — the M-W reference to 'freak' is to the meaning 'ardent enthusiastic', which they give with a part b: 'a person who is obsessed with something a control freak'. Yeah, that gets closer.
His mavens aren't actual experts, like etymologists, lexicographers, linguists, specialists in lexical semantics. They are people who mostly have a college/university affiliation and/or a PhD. And they bring homey chit-chat to the topic, pleasant enough, but no new facts, arguments or insights.
It's time to pour a little whine: A free Mr. Verb t-shirt to the person who can provide a convincing interpretation of this key sentence from his column:
Amid the elitist Language Snobs and the anarchic Language Slobs, among mediacrities and hip-hopocratic jargonauts shooting the Utubes and pretending to be Serius, there stands the fastest-growing crowd of all: un-self-aware writers and speakers, lovers of the language fascinated by its roots and user-judges of its flowering.Say whuuuuuuuut? Which pieces are typos? Failed clever turns of phrase? What the hell does it mean? Are those last three descriptions the characteristics of a maven? He'd say "Go and figure it out yourself."