McSweeney’s editor Eli Horowitz didn’t seem to mind the overlap.
“We have no beef with US Airways. We have no beef with anyone,” he told The Observer. “We’re vegetarians.”
But Mr. Elko, the in-flight editor, did.
He told The Observer that he confronted Mr. Rentilly as soon as he learned of the convergence.
“I was upset,” he said.
Mr. Rentilly, in a series of e-mails to Mr. Elko and another US Airways editor, explained that he had made an inadvertent editing mistake while looking over his Mr. Vonnegut transcripts side by side on a computer.
That seemed to calm Mr. Elko down.
“It’s slightly tainted that way,” Mr. Elko concluded, “but not substantively.”
Mr. Rentilly, for his part, has been quite apologetic about the mix-up: “I regret this error deeply,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Observer, “and assure you, no harm, malice, or duplicity was intended to anyone, not least of all a public hungry for what turned out to be, sadly, Mr. Vonnegut’s final words.”
Unfortunately for that hungry public, it seems The Last Vonnegut Interview Ever does not properly exist—nor will it ever, as according to Mr. Elko, US Airways does not generally run corrections because the average reader only sees 2.7 issues of the magazine per year.
Luckily, Mr. Vonnegut himself planned ahead in his last book, a collection of his essays titled A Man Without a Country: “My last words?” he wrote, ‘Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse.’”