Confusion at the Times

Today’s New York Times Corrections section contains this seemingly innocuous item:
“A front-page article on Wednesday about the Pentagon’s decision to bar French, German and Russian companies from competing for reconstruction contracts in Iraq referred incorrectly to Germany’s role on the United Nations Security Council. It is a temporary member, not a permanent one.”
The error is not innocuous, however. If the Times doesn’t understand that the permanent members of the Security Council are the countries that defeated Germany (with France charitably included) in World War II, then it can’t understand why the structure of that organization is fundamentally and irretrievably obsolete. Just another example of how everything that happened before 1998 is, to the Times, ancient history.
On the other hand, confusion is sometimes entirely understandable. This second item from todays Corrections needs no comment:
“An article on Monday about the awarding of the Turner Prize, Britain’s most prestigious award for contemporary art, misstated the titles of two works by Jake and Dinos Chapman, who were nominated. The set of 83 Goya etchings they doctored is ‘Insult to Injury,’ not ‘Death.’ Their bronze version of plastic blowup dolls engaged in oral sex is ‘Death.’ (‘Sex’ is the title of their three-dimensional representation of one of the Goyas.)”
The Chapmans didn’t win the prize, thankfully; first place was taken by a transvestite potter.

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