Archive for July 20th, 2011

A post on The Guardian’s website by Paul Lester reports that Virginia Woolf’s great granddaughter, Dominique Woolf of Wolfette, is a rocker. Trouble is, Virginia and Leonard Woolf didn’t have any children, so they don’t have any grandchildren or great grandchildren either.

When readers pointed out Lester’s error, he posted a response that showed his unconcern with the concept of fact checking — and the importance of facts in general.

Here’s what he wrote:

I was told she was the great-granddaughter by her “people”, and the fact has been repeated in all of the articles thus far about her, so I did the same. Baa. If it’s not true, it doesn’t change my assessment of her or her music. But it is interesting that her team are pushing the idea that she is the progeny of the famous writer. I think it’s interesting, anyway.

“Interesting”? I think “reprehensible lie” is a more apt descriptions. Or maybe “lawsuit waiting to happen” is a better fit.

In addition to the huge inaccuracy already noted, Lester’s post is full of inanities such as these:

  • “Dominique Woolf’s toothless rebel-girl rock would make her great-grandmother Virginia howl, and possibly us too”
  • “Whether we did or not, here they are, led by the great-granddaughter of tormented early-20th century intellectual and author, Virginia Woolf, which explains Wolfette’s stage name, although anyone expecting revolutionary discourses on the nature of love and marriage  may be disappointed.”
  • “She’ll be howling at the moon when she reads this.”

So will we all.

Editor’s Note: As of July 21, Lester had not published a formal correction. You can write The Guardian at reader@guardian.co.uk to ask for one. Be sure to include the link to the story in your email.

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