paper trail

Aug 22, 2012 @ 12:11:00 am

If you own a Mac, you might be pleased to learn that David Foster Wallace and Zadie Smith live inside your thesaurus. This is because Macs utilize (“a puff-word” says DFW) the Oxford American Writers’ Thesaurus, which features notes by writers about words and their usage. For a full list of who contributed notes to certain words, check out Dave Madden’s blog.

What’s the matter with Newsweek? That’s the question on, well, everybody’s mind after Tina Brown’s magazine ran a very problematic cover story by economic historian Niall Ferguson, author of titles such as The Ascent of Money, which made a case against re-electing Obama. The story was problematic not because of the politics—which were conservative—but because of the facts, which were largely wrong. At the Atlantic, economics editor Matthew O’Brien does a full fact-check of all the problems in Ferguson’s piece, many of which which Paul Krugman noted yesterday: “There are multiple errors and misrepresentations in Niall Ferguson’s cover story... I guess they don’t do fact-checking.” As a matter of fact, they don’t, a Newsweek rep told Politico’s Dylan Byers. (Craig Silverman adds that even though Newsweek invented magazine fact-checking in 1923, they abandoned the practice in 1996). In what may be the first-ever charge against bloggers for being too factually attentive, Ferguson responded to widespread criticism by blaming the "liberal blogosphere" of "nit-picking." Newsweek has gone on record calling the article an opinion piece, but has refused to weigh in on its factual inaccuracies.

Ian McEwan answers questions about his new novel, Sweet Tooth.

HTMLGiant lays out the four primary aims of book reviewing, and explains why William Girardi’s takedown of Alix Ohlin in last week’s New York Times Book Review not only fails on these counts, but is “indefensible” as a review.

These are the books New York Magazine book critic Kathryn Schulz really wants to read this fall.