Jonah Lehrer resigned from the New Yorker Monday after Tablet Magazine revealed that he fabricated Bob Dylan quotes in his book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works.”
The seemingly prodigious young writer drew criticism last month when he admittedly recycled his own writing in blog posts for the New Yorker, including lines taken almost verbatim from previously published Wall Street Journal essays.
Now, Michael C. Moynihan, a writer for the Jewish magazine Tablet, revealed that Lehrer concocted Bob Dylan quotes and later lied to Moynihan because he “panicked.”
“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,” Moynihan wrote, “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.”
At first, Lehrer apparently ignored Moynihan’s requests for clarification when he located a quote in the book that appeared to be sewn together from two separate interviews with the folk singer.
Then, when Moynihan reached Lehrer, the newly minted New Yorker writer said the quotes were available in a more complete version of the interview he originally cited, but that it was not made public. He also apparently lied about the context in which the non-existent quotes were given.
Over the next three weeks, Moynihan said Lehrer “stonewalled, misled and, eventually, outright lied to me.”
Lehrer confessed to Moynihan on Sunday that he lied.
“I couldn’t find the original sources,” Lehrer told Moynihan. “I panicked. And I’m deeply sorry for lying.”
Late Monday morning, Tablet’s website was down and the magazine tweeted that it was suffering a DDoS — denial of service — attack, the details of which remain unclear.
(content courtesy of TheWrap/Kaufman; image courtesy of b2bmemes.com)