Chekhov couldn't have done better than this. Then again, he was the kind of guy who would have liked the Times sports page.
Other notes...the Times today ran an entire article on page B3 about the famous "666 5th Avenue" sign ("Citigroup Sign Replacing Those 3 Sixes at the Top") without once mentioning the biblical significance of the number. The paper's take on the decision to replace the three sixes with a Citigroup sign was that it was merely a vote of confidence in New York by the corporate community. Satan, apparently, was not available for comment.
Not to belabor the corrections issue, but something appeared in today's section that I can't remain silent about.
About four years ago, the eXile instituted a Corrections section on its own page 2. It was meant to be a parody of the corrections sections of dailies like the Times. Our very first correction, published on July 12, 1997, read as follows:
"The reference in the NATO story to a cat named 'Fluffy' was an error. The cat's real name is 'Snowflake.' The eXile apologizes for its mistake."
This kicked off a running joke in the paper. The July 31 issue of that year contained the following, somewhat less funny correction:
"The photo accompanying the article in the last issue about the Svyazinvest tender mistakenly referred to the dog in the background as 'Fido.' His real name is 'Snookims'."
The joke culminated in the October 9, 1997 correction:
"The dog mentioned on page 15 in the last issue was incorrectly referred to as 'Muffy.' His real name was trouble. And even that was only his middle name."
Here is a real correction from the New York Times, published today, January 4, 2002:
"A biographical sketch on Monday about Linda Sheehan, a World Trade Center victim who was a vice president at Sandler O'Neill and partners, misspelled the name of one of the two cats that lived with her. It is Spanky, not Sparky."
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5
Cheryl D. Sandler
11 Kaateskill Pl
Scarsdale, NY 10583-1217
I read with interest your letter to the New York Times about the death of Bill Clinton's dog, Buddy ("Buddy's Fate", Jan. 5, p. A10). I was so fascinated by it that I just had to look you up in the phone directories and write to you.
I was impressed by your lengthy explanation of the invisible fence, the wireless electrical shock system that might have saved Buddy's life, had it been installed around the Clinton's Chappaqua property. I was particularly touched by the ending of the letter, where you write that "the few early shocks that a dog may receive during the training process are a small price to pay for a lifetime of security."
My question to you is this: is this the first letter to the editor you've ever written? Is the accidental death of Bill Clinton's dog the first thing you've come across in the Times that got you upset enough to actually take the time out to give someone a piece of your civic mind?
I would appreciate your response very much. It would contribute to the research for my upcoming academic work, What Those People Think About.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 6
It is not often that a news article makes me want to run screaming into traffic, consequences be damned. But it happened this morning when I settled in to the Market Diner on 43rd and 11th with the Times Sunday edition. I was in the middle of choosing the juice to go with my hash and eggs when I spotted the following headline, belonging to the lead story in the "Week in Review" section:
SEEING IS BELIEVING America as Reflected in Its Leader Since Sept. 11, something has happened to voters' perception of Bush. They now see the president they want him to be
This piece, written by one Elisabeth Bumiller, turned out to be just what it appeared to be: a cum-gurgling piece of revisionist monarch-worshipping. Reading it, I was reminded of those famous group photos of the young Bolsheviks that featured messy gray blotches where Lev Trotsky's face had been. For this article argues quite seriously that George Bush Jr. not only has grown into his job since 9/11, but that he was never all that stupid to begin with.