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Archive for March, 2011

Perhaps when The New York Times makes the rare boxing-story assignment, it should select a journalist who knows something about the sport, or at least doesn’t display ignorance of it as a badge of honor.

In “The Suburbanization of Mike Tyson,” a Sunday magazine article posted online on March 15, Daphne Merkin writes, “I have never been particularly drawn to boxing, but there was something about the younger Mike Tyson….”

Knowing a bit more of boxing than only the former heavyweight champion’s ability to attract attention would have almost certainly kept Merkin from claiming Tyson showed her “photographs from the glory days in which he is posing with other boxers (Ali, Rocky Marciano, Jake LaMotta)…” I’d never submitted a comment to the Times website before, but I did remark (somewhat sarcastically) that since Marciano died when Tyson was three years old, it was unlikely that the two ever posed together. The paper subsequently posted the following correction: “An earlier version of this article misidentified a boxer with whom Mike Tyson posed for photographs; it was Rocky Graziano, not Rocky Marciano.” The paper fixed the online text accordingly.

Granted, the two fighters had similar nicknames and a journalist on deadline could have made a simple slip up. Still, a Times editor (like the one whose name is tacked onto Merkin’s article), fact-checker, proofreader – someone! – should have noticed this before I did.

If only the newspaper saw fit to report on the sport on a regular basis…

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This spring will see a two-fisted literary festival combo for Fighters & Writers.

On April 1, I’ll read at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, as part of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival.

The following weekend, on Saturday, April 9, I’ll join Bob Reising for “The Sports Book” panel at the Arkansas Literary Festival in Little Rock. Reising is a former college baseball coach and co-author of Chasing Moonlight, a look at the life and curious baseball career of Doc Graham. I’ll also be participating in the festival’s Writers in the Schools program on the Friday before my reading.

For details, see the festivals’ respective websites:

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival: http://www.ecok.edu/scissortail/Creative_Writing_Festival.asp

Arkansas Literary Festival: http://www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org/

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