The New York Times is reporting that Jonah Lehrer just resigned from his position as a staff writer at the New Yorker... because he got caught fabricating Bob Dylan quotes in his recent book Imagine: How Creativity Works:
Mr. Lehrer faced new questions about his work on Monday in an article in the online magazine Tablet that reported that he had admitted to fabricating quotes from Bob Dylan in “Imagine,” a nonfiction book published in March by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book ‘Imagine,’ ” Mr. Lehrer said in a statement. “The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes. But I told Mr. Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr. Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said.”
“The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers. I also owe a sincere apology to Mr. Moynihan. I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed. I have resigned my position as staff writer at The New Yorker.”
I currently have Imagine on my to-read shelf, after a handful of artist/writer-type friends enthusiastically recommended it. (We reviewed it here.) But this really compounds Lehrer's recent self-plagiarism issues, and I'm not sure I'll be picking it up anytime soon. According to the Times piece, the book's publisher is halting shipment of physical copies of Imagine, and taking the e-book off the market.