The Times Book Review Puts Daphne Merkin Across Its Knee

A correction to remember.

That’s quite a correction in the Aug. 4 New York Times Book Review. According to the Times, the “Close Reader” column of July 14 contained eight errors. The article in question, a literary travelogue of Israel, was only seven paragraphs long (1,034 words), so that averages out to more than one error per paragraph. When a piece contains this many mistakes, you want to know who wrote it. But the Book Review correction gallantly refrains from naming the perpetrator (the column’s usual author, Chatterbox’s former Slate colleague Judith Shulevitz, has been out for several months on maternity leave). It was Daphne Merkin, a staff writer at The New Yorker best known for publishing a confessional essay about the raptures of being spanked. For Merkin, reading this correction must have been deeply gratifying.