Cut and Paste

Over at The Millions J. Greg Phelan explores why Paul Elie is irked.

Let’s review: David Shields extracts Paul Elie’s quote from a larger narrative, changes the words, and purges any reference to the ideas’ original source: Walker Percy. Then Gideon Lewis-Kraus quotes Shields’s misquote of Elie, contradicts his misquote, and characterizes what he wrongly alleges Elie having written as a “shoddy lament.” But no citations; this is art.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Good catch, The Pot.

    Now I’m irked, too.

  2. Matthew Lickona says

    Yeah, well, I’m irked that Elie got to write a book on Bach, and that it came out the same day as SwM…
    But yeah. Misquoting is lame.

  3. Jonathan Potter says

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets irked.

  4. Shields’ imagined glee at getting things swirling in controversy is akin to the imagined glee of Satan in Eden immediately after he hears that first hard pop of incisors against apple skin: “Oh, look what I’ve done! Look what I’ve done!”


  5. Another very bad sign. Lots and lots of bad signs everywhere; HHS mandates, student loans, cheating at West Point, Muslim cultural center at ground zero, $16,000,000,000,000 national debt etcetera, etcetera.

    There is a difference between telling a lie to cover your embarassment (I never had sex with that woman, et al)and something like this. Something like this your repentence needs to be more famous than your sin.

    Sorry to ramble.

    Enemies all around.

  6. Sorry for bad grammar.

  7. Wait, is FSG shutting down??

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Like so many publishers these days, FSG is indeed shutting down, SR — on the hopes and dreams of one Matthew Lickona.

  8. Yikes. I read both Elie’s The Life You Save May Be Your Own and Lewis-Kraus’s A Sense of Direction within the space of a few months, and didn’t spot the discrepancy.

    Some reader I am.

    I’m happy to have seen Phelan’s article.

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