Michael C. Moynihan, writing in Tablet:1
Last month, [Jonah] Lehrer was accused of a curious journalistic offense: the act of “self-plagiarism.” Lehrer, a staff writer at the New Yorker and celebrated author of three books, cannibalized his own work, posting often word-for-word excerpts from Imagine on the New Yorker’s blog without noting that it had been published elsewhere. To some, it was a tenuous charge—as one journalist commented to me, this was like “being accused of stealing food from your own refrigerator.” Others highlighted the pressures brought to bear on young writers to produce more and more content.
That’s just background. The real meat of the article is Moynihan tearing apart the chapter of Lehrer’s new book * Imagine: How Creativity Works* that discusses Bob Dylan’s creative process:
I’m something of the Dylan obsessive—piles of live bootlegs, outtakes, books—and I read the first chapter of Imagine with keen interest. But when I looked for sources to a handful of Dylan quotations offered by Lehrer—the chapter is sparsely and erratically footnoted—I came up empty, and in one case found two fragments of quotes, from different years and on different topics, welded together to create something that happily complimented Lehrer’s argument. Other quotes I couldn’t locate at all. […]
Over the next three weeks, Lehrer stonewalled, mislead and, eventually, outright lied to me. Yesterday, Lehrer finally confessed that he has never met or corresponded with Jeff Rosen, Dylan’s manager; he has never seen an unexpurgated version of Dylan’s interview for No Direction Home, something he offered up to stymie my search; that a missing quote he claimed could be found in an episode of Dylan’s “Theme Time Radio Hour” cannot , in fact, be found there; and that a 1995 radio interview, supposedly available in a printed collection of Dylan interviews called The Fiddler Now Upspoke, also didn’t exist. When, three weeks after our first contact, I asked Lehrer to explain his deceptions, he responded, for the first time in our communication, forthrightly: “I couldn’t find the original sources,” he said. “I panicked. And I’m deeply sorry for lying.”
Holy fuckballs. Moynihan continues, in detail. Definitely click through for this one.
Not technology related — its tag line is “A new read on Jewish life”. And, incidentally, it has a wonderful wordmark. ↩