leads to the following exchange:
Are you aware that in your new book you erroneously describe Princeton, N.J., as “the first capital of the United States”?
Oh. I was thinking that it was the first capital because that’s what I thought when I got to Princeton on the first day. I was awed by it.
It was the second capital under the Articles of Confederation. I wonder why your editors failed to catch that.
I wrote it, so I don’t want to blame them.
Don't get me wrong: Solomon is right on the facts. But the accident makes no material difference to the memoir, does it? It's an aside in the book, as best I can tell, but Solomon elevates it to a matter of importance ... why exactly? So she can not look like a pushover?
I can't decide if that's better or worse than this exchange:
You’re very discreet and clearly not following the Billy Carter model of wacky presidential relatives. Do you drink beer?
I actually don’t mind beer, but I just don’t drink it to excess.
Why is this in the New York Times? You can't just say it's a puff piece, because even puff pieces in the New York Times have coherence and identifiable logic about them. The best I can determine is that Deborah Solomon interviews -- if they're not just a hoity-toity version of The Chris Farley Show -- are performance art pieces, designed to elicit discomfort in interviewees and readers to no good purpose at all. I wish the Times would get somebody else to do this job.