Uncle Rudi, Is That You?


Who are the freaks and nerds who call out picayune corrections in newspaper articles? Me, for one.

On a New York Times piece I did once, I changed an entire line during the copyediting process. The piece was much, much better for it, I think, but I got chewed out afterward because, apparently, it required several people staying late to re-layout a whole page, which delayed the closing of the section.

As penance, I've been pretty fastidious ever since about quickly slipping the Times' web editors little corrections--usually of peoples' names, ex the kind of things that might cause unnecessary embarrassment--for Arts stories. [Oy, in one pseudo-liveblog post from Miami Art Basel, the correspondent misspelled basically every name she dropped. And no, it was not Linda Yablonsky; she is an exquisite name dropper.]

Anyway, last weekend, the Financial Times mentioned the new Gerhard Richter biography in Jackie Wullschlager's survey of books on German painting. Their whole point was about how loaded Richter's blurred portraits of his family were, such as Uncle Rudi.

The FT transposed the captions with the Richter and a portrait by Otto Dix. When I tried to do my typical one-click correction, I was surprised to find that the FT doesn't appear to even publish an address for corrections. Or for reaching the editors.

Setting aside the whole implication that the very idea of being corrected didn't cross their minds, the whole FT website contact interface turns out to be oriented to subscribers/users and the support of the paid consumption experience.

As such, it has taken a week for me to receive an automated reply, and now my comment had been forwarded to the appropriate department. As the fresh screenshots show, the error remains.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: February 19, 2010.

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