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In One Ear: Uplifting correction

Jim Stoffer sets The New Yorker straight
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on March 2, 2018 12:01AM

Laurie Caplan sent an email noting that Astorian Jim Stoffer had a letter published in the Feb. 26 issue of The New Yorker, a wowser of an accomplishment that is up there in the lofty reaches unattainable for most of us.

“I know it is extraordinarily difficult to get any mention in the magazine whatsoever, and getting my letter published was not even a consideration,” he wrote. “But when I opened the magazine to the article on paper jams, I only glanced at the maze of text and one word popped out, ‘Bernoulli.’

“So I read that paragraph, then disbelievingly reread the paragraph. Asking myself if The New Yorker could ever be wrong. Then asking myself if I could be wrong about Bernoulli, carefully double-checking my understanding.

“Turns out the author had Bernoulli upside down, because if the author was correct, none of us would be flying. So I quickly wrote a letter; it was not anything other than a correction of the fundamental principal of the theory of lift …”

You can read the letter online at

“Anyway, getting the letter published was fun,” he added, “and maybe a few people will get interested in what makes an airplane fly, or a sailboat able to tack into the wind. Try to get a piece of fiction published in The New Yorker and you might spend years, unless your last name is O’Hara, or Updike, or Lipore.”

Getting a letter published there is probably just as difficult, so bravo to you, Jim Stoffer!


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