Anyway, one thing that has come into focus with this is that these folks are really denying themselves the pleasures of language. Like a lot of linguists, I've mostly thought of these folks as elitists, interested in asserting power over those who don't obey their rules. But it also involves a kind of denial, asceticism.
In some sense, this is one of the cultural divides in our culture:
- People who really revel in how you can be creative with language in a fundamental way (hip-hop [leaving aside the really formulaic junk], good 'colorful rural sayings', and of course lots of slang).
- People who can't actually enjoy language — Safire probably gets some pleasure from the Bard, but that's kind of the missionary position of language enjoyment.