Name withheld, meet Jonah Lehrer: Maybe he got some bad ideas at a meritocratic high school!
We have our latest Julien Sorel! In this instance, the climber in question is the grasping Jonah Lehrer (no relation).
Julie Bosman tells the ancient story in today’s New York Times. You should read it:
BOSMAN (7/31/12): A publishing industry that is notoriously ill-equipped to root out fraud. A magazine whose famed fact-checking department is geared toward print, not the Web. And a lucrative lecture circuit that rewards snappy, semi-scientific pronouncements, smoothly delivered to a corporate audience.The rewards are vast—and the gullible are all around. In this setting, Lehrer became the latest child who sold the elites a con.
All contributed to the rise of Jonah Lehrer, the 31-year-old author, speaker and staff writer for The New Yorker, who then executed one of the most bewildering recent journalistic frauds, one that on Monday cost him his prestigious post at the magazine and his status as one of the most promising, visible and well-paid writers in the business.
An article in Tablet magazine revealed that in his best-selling book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” Mr. Lehrer had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan, one of the most closely studied musicians alive. Only last month, Mr. Lehrer had publicly apologized for taking some of his previous work from The Wall Street Journal, Wired and other publications and recycling it in blog posts for The New Yorker, acts of recycling that his editor called “a mistake.”
By Monday, when the Tablet article was published online, both The New Yorker and Mr. Lehrer’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, made it clear that they had lost patience with him.
Lehrer invented quotes by Bob Dylan—in a book called “Imagine," no less! We’ll tip our hat to Isaac Chotiner for noticing something before this news broke—for noting the fact that Lehrer's book was just plain dumb on the merits.
Click here, then ponder the dumbness all around—the dumbness of our pseudo-elites, which is taking the nation down.
Are you sure you want to believe everything Rachel tells you? We thought she was a little bit slick in her first segment last night.
Daisey comes battling back: In yesterday’s New York Times, we learned that another fabulist is back, snarking about the shit he made up, with a highly regarded theater company using his scam as a way of selling his show.
(Sorry—the link to the Times doesn’t seem to be working. We refer to Charles Isherwood’s review of Mike Daisey’s show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.)
The rewards are great; the gullibility is vast. Our youngsters just keep making shit up. Their elders are eager to buy it.