From kvell to kvetch

In her New York Times column “Dems in distress” — at the top of the RealClearPolitics honor roll this morning — Maureen Dowd originally observed that Democrats were “kvelling” (dammit, don’t spellcheck me, bro) about President Obama. “Kvelling” is Yiddish for “taking pride in”; Dowd meant that Democrats are “kvetching” about Obama.

Dowd’s error went undetected by the Times’s layers of editors and fact checkers. I cut them slack. It’s hard to read the op-ed columns by the Times’s roster of worthies more carefully than they write them.

Dowd’s error was trivial, but embarrassing. She holds herself out as a cosmopolitan columnist with literary pretensions. She has won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. Andrew Ferguson has dubbed her “unofficial spokesman for her generation’s mainstream press.” Attitude is her stock in trade.

The Times has silently corrected Dowd’s error in the online version of her column.


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