Jonah Lehrer, the New Yorker columnist I wrote about here in relation to the issue of “self-plagiarism” in writing, has resigned from his position at The New Yorker. According to this story, he was accused of, and has admitted to, fabricating quotes from Bob Dylan – ironically (or maybe not) in Imagine, his book on creativity. Here’s the story with the details of the fabricated quotes.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out, and whether this discovery is just the tip of the iceberg as to what else might be unreliable in Lehrer’s work. As I discussed in my previous post, I have more of a problem with his inaccurate reporting than with his self-plagiarism. But there’s no question that making stuff up is wrong – and with Lehrer’s high profile and prodigious output, his past work will now be much more closely and critically scrutinized. It looks like Imagine has already been pulled from some sales outlets. I have a feeling that the story isn’t going to end here.