Poor Naomi

I can’t say I’m a fan, having never read her work, but judging just from the titles I’m pretty confident I’m not among her target audience.

But any aspiring author has to cringe in sympathy at her humiliation as her latest book was debunked in a live radio interview.  On BBC radio, which would have been at least tolerable before Titter and Farcebook acquired the ability to broadcast her embarrassment worldwide in near real time. As one commenter said, it’s like that dream you used to have about showing up at high school naked. It’s every historian’s nightmare.

What makes it worse is I can see how it happened and I can see it happening to me. It’s all too easy to seize on and embellish those pieces of history that fit our narrative and ignore or underplay those that fail to fit into the puzzle we’re putting together. So Naomi found what she wanted to find, stuffed it into her game bag and hurried on in search of more birds.

What makes it worse is that she’s not some self-publishing, tinfoil-hatted crank but a best selling author publishing through a major, respected imprint. Granted, this book was first published in England by some minor-league feminist house, but H-M has a well-known brand to protect, especially in the lucrative textbook market. One would hope they staffed editors, copy editors, fact checkers tasked with catching this sort of error.

 

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