On Podhoretz and Mailer, the Times Corrects

Scott wrote here about Norman Podhoretz’s autobiographical work Making It. Scorned at the time by critics, is is becoming recognized 50 years later as a classic.

The New York Times has a big cover article this weekend on Podhoretz and Making It, but the piece had to be corrected by the time it appeared in print. This really is a classic of the Times correction genre:

A cover article this weekend about the life of the editor and writer Norman Podhoretz misstates the context for a quotation by Norman Mailer regarding the publication of Mr. Podhoretz’s book “Making It.” When Mailer described it as “brutal — coarse, intimate, snide, grasping, groping, slavering, slippery of reference, crude and naturally tasteless,” he was characterizing the critical reception to Mr. Podhoretz’s book, not critiquing it himself. And because of an editing error, the article refers incorrectly to Susan Sontag’s work as an editorial assistant at Commentary magazine. She did not work for Mr. Podhoretz. (He had already left the magazine.)

Nothing like quoting an author for the precise opposite of what he wrote! Somehow I suspect that the author of the piece liked the Mailer quote better in its original, incorrect context.


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