Steve Sachs Duke


Thursday, August 26, 2004


Lapham's Clairvoyance, Part II: (See original post above.) Harper's Magazine has decided to take Eugene Volokh's advice and post a correction to its website:

Lewis Lapham responds:

As Mr. Ostrowski properly notes, the rhetorical invention was silly. The mistake, however, is a serious one, and if I'd had my wits about me as an editor, I wouldn't have let the author mix up his tenses in manuscript or allowed him in page proof to lapse into poetic license. Both of us regret the injury done to the magazine and apologize, wholeheartedly, to its readers.

Apology accepted -- but am I the only one who finds the causal explanation for this error a little thin? The issue is the poetic license, not the verb tenses, and it speaks to a certain willingness to let political preconceptions stand in for facts. (And couldn't Lapham have done without the conceit of treating the "author" and "editor" as separate persons, given that he was both?)




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