When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg met Zuckerman: A New Jersey story

September 24, 2010

Give a guy $100 million, and the least he could do is get your name right.

But such decorum was not to be for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who saw his $100 million donation to Newark New Jersey’s public school system repaid by Mayor Cory Booker clumsily referring to him as “Zuckerman.”

SUNVALLEY/The gaffe occurred during a conference call with the media on Friday to trumpet the 26-year-old Facebook CEO’s largesse (ahead of  a not-quite-so-flattering depiction of Zuckerberg in the new Sorkin/Fincher movie The Social Network). Booker tried to make a joke about the conference call’s participants speaking in reverse alphabetical order so that “Zuckerman” could go first…before quickly correcting himself.

It’s possible that the good Mayor had Zuckerberg confused with another famous figure of Newark lore.

Nathan Zuckerman, of course, is the protagonist in several Philip Roth novels, including “Zuckerman Unbound” and the Pulitzer Prize winning “American Pastoral.”

The latter is set in Newark, with Zuckerman recounting and revisiting his youth at Newark’s Weequahic High School, in a novel that The New York Times Book review said begins in New Jersey and ends in hell.

So perhaps Mayor Booker wasn’t so delusional in mixing up the two Zucks, given that both now have a connection to Newark schools. And at least Zuckerberg can be grateful that Booker didn’t confuse him with Alexander Portnoy, another Roth character, famous for decidedly less scholarly pursuits.

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