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A Cornucopia of New Yorker Corrections

The Awl has published a list of New Yorker Magazine retractions and corrections. The long-running literary magazine is famously infamous for its rigorous, meticulous and prestigious fact-checking department, but since it is run by humans, the very occasional error does make it through.

I especially enjoyed the corrective correspondence from Groucho Marx in February, 1929. The New Yorker had reported that Al Smith, the (then) governor of New York had visited four Broadway shows, and named said shows. Marx wrote in, insisting that Smith had actually seen five, and the unnamed play was the Marx Bros.’ own musical, Animal Crackers. Marx alleges that Smith was so moved by the hilarious performance that he visited them backstage afterwards, still crying with laughter. His letter included: “I’ll give you just twenty-four hours to retract that statement before I call on you and horse-whip you within four or five inches of your life,” as well as “If you’re a man, you’ll eat your words and print this retraction on the cover of your magazine with illustrations by Peter Arno and life studies of the Marx Brothers in their dressing rooms or at home, curled up before a hot fire with an engrossing book, or vice versa.

Yours for more haste and less speed,

See all the retractions and corrections at The Awl.

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