Where’s Michael J. Fox When You Need Him?

In an embarrassing moment this week, The New York Times had to fess up that it had been hoaxed by a letter writer pretending to be the mayor of Paris writing to the gray lady to complain about Caroline Kennedy. Since it just came out on DVD in a 20th-anniversary edition, I was immediately reminded of Michael J. Fox’s character, Jamie Conway, in Bright Lights, Big City. He toiled as a fact-checker at a magazine closely modeled on The New Yorker. His claim to fame in the office was his padded résumé, which included the ability to speak fluent French. When the time came, he was forced to call abroad and verify some facts about France. Of course, he muffed it and lost his job. Perhaps in some alternative universe (a la David Thomson’s Suspects), he got hired at the Times.

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