News Quiz

No. 43: “Not About Me”

No. 43: “Not About Me”

By Randy Cohen

An ad this morning in many newspapers declared, “This isn’t about Warren Burger, Barbra Streisand, the Founding Fathers or me.” What is it about? And who is “me”?

by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Thursday’s question (No. 42)–“Future News Corrections”:

“A picture caption on Sunday with an article about efforts to eradicate opium in Myanmar misidentified an armed man in a poppy field. He was a Burmese soldier sent to guard the field after it was discovered, not a militiaman from the Wa hill people.”

Above, an actual item from the New York Times corrections column. You are invited to submit a correction likely to run over the next few weeks.

“An article in the ‘Religion’ column Saturday stated that the Episcopalians eat their young. It is the sea turtle that eats its young.”–Patty Marx

“Because of an editing error, new wonder drug Viagra was not mentioned in any part of the Friday edition. The Times regrets the error.”–Beth Sherman

“In a Tuesday article, Kenneth Starr was quoted as saying, ‘I intend to subpoena everyone who has ever voted for the president.’ A clarification from Mr. Starr’s office indicates that he meant only that voters should be ready to make themselves available.”–Rick Mueller

“A headline yesterday misstated that Clinique’s new rouge had caused untold death and destruction to tens of millions. It was the Khmer Rouge.”–Patty Marx

“In an October 1996 editorial, we endorsed the re-election of President Clinton. We should have said, ‘Vote for Bob Dole.’ “–Dennis Levandoski

“In a recent ‘Theater’ column, Jon Robin Baitz’s off-Broadway play was misidentified. It is called Mizlansky/Zilinsky or ‘Schmucks, not Lewinsky/Kaczynski or ‘Schmucks. Our apologies to Mr. Baitz as well as to the former intern and to the former college professor.”–Meg Wolitzer

“Due to late clarification from the producers of the Jerry Springer Show, the ‘Television’ section contained an inaccurate listing. In Wednesday’s ‘Younger Man, Older Woman,’ Chip is indeed 16 and Aida is 85. However they are not lovers; they are grandson and grandmother.”–John Solomon

“Friday’s paper stated that it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness. It was, in fact, May 1, 1998.”–Patty Marx

Click for more responses.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

So much Times and so little time. The “Corrections” column (into which some of you slipped the stiletto and onto which others brought down the blunt object–and aren’t they both fun to wield?) had it coming. But some crimes can’t be effaced by amending a few facts. Consider, for instance, how the paper’s proliferating sections–“Circuits,” “Dining In,” “Dining Out,” “Dining Down,” “Dining … Well, You Know”–constitute an abandonment of public transportation.

When the paper was at its most urban and lead paragraphs gave you the essentials of a story, the “News Summary” ran below the fold on the front of the second section. You just flipped up the first section to read a concise account of the events of the day. This could be managed even on a rush-hour subway.

Then the Times became a fun magazine filled with color and zip and furniture photographs, and the “News Summary” scurried away to Page 2 of the first section. To get at it now, you must juggle the eight or 10 separate sections that currently comprise the daily paper (each with a big, lovely back page, ideal for a full page ad) and fold it over, an act that cannot be done on any form of mass transit without elbowing your neighbors beyond the bounds of simple decency.

The New York Times is now designed to be carried in a car by a commuter driving in from the suburbs. It is no longer a subway rider’s paper. It is no longer a city newspaper.

Correct that.


“Their attitude was ‘Keep a low profile and stay celibate.’ “–the Rev. David Garrick, former theater professor, Notre Dame University

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