Hm. Well. I don’t particularly like “said”. But that’s because “said” has a flavour to me. So when (using your example, Tevyn) someone “says” something versus “warns” someone, it makes a huge difference of “tone” to me.
What I mean is: “said”, for me, brings with it a sometimes unconcerned feeling. A certain calm and/or neutrality. “warned” on the other hand brings with it a certain urgency. Depending on the situation, this urgency can, of course, differ. It can be angry, it can be concerned and many other things.
Now: I can, of course, infere the tone of voice from context and characterization. But the big thing here is: If the character is simple, I can read the right tone most of the time, without it needing anything else but “said”. Is it a complex character, that disguises his own feelings for example though… or a character, that we (the readers) do not know well enough yet: Then it can be more than difficult.
So (again stealing your example Tevyn) when you say “‘Don’t touch that. It’s hot’, Jerom said. He stepped in between his sister and the stove.” it can be read… vastly different from what you may have intended as a writer.
Version 1, “said” with the definition I used above: Jeroms tone of voice is calm, seemingly a little detached. He steps inbetween the danger and his sister, but… Is he a character, that is always collected? Does he maybe not really care (about his sister)?
Version 2, “said” without colour: Okay. Jerom steppes inbetween them, so he cares.
Now… There’s nothing inherently wrong with either Version. But the thing is: What do you, as the author, intend? Do you want your readers to have a film running in their head, while reading? Do you just want to entertain them in a lighthearted manner? (It can still be a Tragedy, I mean that in regards to investment only.) Do you want to shower your readers with little snippets, they can search for and put together, to get the bigger picture?
Depending on that, the weight of “said” differs.
Of course: You can use the “invisible” “said”. But you cannot use the invisible and visible together! That just doesn’t work. So I am vastly in favour of the “visible” (living and breathing) “said” than the “invisible” one.
I, personally, often find myself stumbling while reading the “invisible” said. Reason: Even if I tell myself to ignore the flavour it has to me, when someone (for example) is teasing or taunting, “said” is fast to make me stumble. Doubling back, to read again. Reading again, ignoriering the word “said” (ie: Not looking at it at all, with conscious effort). If the character is “saying” something and the context comes after the deed, for example being hurt and so the voice trembled a little, I falter, roll my eyes in exasperation, go back, and read again. This time with the “right” voice.
But yes: Those are problems to me. Other people will not make distinctions like I do. Other people are okay with only the information. But for me? I read, as though reading it to myself (in my head) and try making everything sound “right” (in my head). And because different people have different experiences as well as different priorities and ways to enjoy themselves/a story, it is important for every writer to be clear about their own as well as what they want for the reader. Their experience, their possibilities.
But to the opening post: I find myself reading it as sarcasm. So I want to answer to that too ^^
Sure. Using each and every possible (and impossible) word, just to use “some word I didn’t yet use”, is nonsense. But I find, that “said” is utterly redundant as an “invisible word”. (And for me and some others at least, it has it’s own place, being glaringly visible.) And I find, personally, that nothing, in a text, should be “redundant”. So if you want to use a tag, I find it way more enjoyable, to see “replied”, “asked”, “objected”, “agreed”, “joked” and the like. Sure: They may be redundant in their own way – but, and that is important to me, they can bestow a certain flavour. When used correctly. As with every other word. And using “murmered” or “screamed” can bring another kind of flavour to it. Words like “growled” or “chuckled” are one step further still – one can argue that it is impossible, so it is nonsense. But to others those words are more like a cue for a certain way to speak, or a certain way, the character looks at the one they are saying whatever they say to. And not to be taken as literal, as some seem to take them. (Though one can argue, that it sure is possible to chuckle while talking as well as to “growl” something.)
On the other hand though, using no tags altogether is also possible, making the whole debate on “said is (not) dead” utterly redundant as well
(Not talking about non-fictional texts here! Only fiction!)