Schjeldahl writes: "In the second-one of Homer's last works-two foreground ducks taking off from turbulent waters are hit by a distant hunter's double-barrelled buckshot; one has flipped upside down, and the other is transfixed with neck straining and wings spread, startled by death."
Anybody who's ever hunted ducks knows that you would never, ever, ever use the word BUCKSHOT. Buckshot (like the name pretty much says) is intended for big game; birdshot (like the name pretty much says) is intended for birds. If you hit a duck with buckshot--that's a huge if, by the way, since putting a single slug on a flying mallard at normal range would
challenge even a fantastic shooter--the thing would evaporate. You might as well shove a stick of dynamite up its ass. More to the point, a bird hit with buckshot wouldn't look like the birds in Homer's "Left and Right." It would look like a puff, and a few floating feathers.
There it is. We probably won't see a mistake in the New Yorker again until March 2007.