Steve Sachs Duke


Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Lapham's Clairvoyance: Josh Chafetz asks how Lewis Lapham's invented account of what he heard and thought during the Republican National Convention (which hasn't yet taken place) is different from anything Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass came up with. I agree, but I also wonder how the passage, which is obviously false to any attentive reader, could possibly have gotten through Harper's editorial process. True, Lapham may be the editor of Harper's (and thus harder to fire than Jayson Blair). But surely someone looks at his copy before it prints. Did the copy editors forget that the RNC hasn't happened yet, or did they realize it was false and let it go?

Eugene Volokh was told on the phone that the magazine recognized its error and would be printing an explanation in October. But I'm not quite sure what a reasonable explanation would be. Lapham specifically recounts thoughts he supposedly had during the convention--something that can't just be a grammar mistake. Perhaps the article wasn't actually meant to go to press? Or the readers just weren't meant to catch it?




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