Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 22:21:48 -0400
From: Gregory {Greg} Downing
Subject: Re: The Grey Lady comes clean

At 08:35 PM 6/6/98 -0400, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>From today's New York Times (p. 2, Corrections column):
>A report in the Metropolitan Diary column on May 25 about ta nun who bought
>a package of cookies at an airport was published in error. The
>incident--in which the nun thought that a man was helping himself to her
>cookies when in fact she was helping herself to his [elegantly phrased,
>eh?]--did not occur recently at Kennedy International Airport [well, I
>suppose it COULD have...]. It is a current myth and has been recounted by
>a folklorist, Jan Harold Brunvand, in a variety of renditions in two books,
>"The Choking Doberman" and "The Mexican Pet."
>Well, I take back my previous slur . At least I'm quite certain Penthouse
>Forum has never published a retraction acknowledging that a letter they had
>published turned out to have related events that on careful investigation
>did not occur.

Many urban myths are pretty obviously unlikely, prima facie, as we saw this
week in re the editorial elevator. Why does this particular NYT reprint of a
transparent and well-known urban myth rate a nostra culpa from The Newspaper
Formerly Known as Grey? Because some wiseguy wrote in and called them on it
for once? Out, out, damn'd spot!

But it'll take more than a drop of bleach to degrey that Frau.... It's not
only her hairdresser who knows for sure.... I can see it now: pretty soon
they'll be printing up the one about the pink-haired matron, the poodle, and
the microwave.... A friend of mine actually lives in her building and heard
about that one right from the "super"....


Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or gd2[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]