Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plagiarist's Palaver Pays Plenty

Jonah Lehrer - Pop!Tech 2009 - Camden, ME
(Photo credit: poptech)
Confession is good for the soul, but sometimes, it's also good for the bank account, Jonah Lehrer learned.

The New York Times reported that Lehrer was paid a $20,000 honorarium by the Knight Foundation, which sponsored a community journalism conference in Miami yesterday at which Lehrer delivered a speech about his plagiarism-derailed career that was streamed live online.

The New Yorker fired Lehrer last summer and the publisher of his book, Imagine: How Creativity Works (2012) pulled the book off shelves after it was revealed that Lehrer had made up quotes attributed to legendary folk singer Bob Dylan (see "TUOL" post 7/31/12).

According to the Times article,  Lehrer told the attendees: "I am the author of a book on creativity that contains several fabricated Bob Dylan quotes," and "I committed plagiarism on my blog, taking without credit or citation an entire paragraph from the blog of Christian Jarrett." Lehrer's introductory elevator speech needs a little work.

Apparently using his own words, Lehrer pledged to the audience that if were ever to write professionally again, he would tape and transcribe his interviews and make the transcripts available to interview subjects who requested them. Writing, however, is hard work, whereas there is easy money to be made on the mea culpa lecture circuit.
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