Malcolm Gladwell said “I am heartbroken” after hearing that Jonah Lehrer resigned from The New Yorker. Lehrer admitted that he had fabricated Bob Dylan quotes in his book, Imagine: How Creativity Works.
While the WWD reporter wasn’t sure if Gladwell had read the Tablet essay that exposed the fabrication, WWD had this quote from Gladwell: “I am heartbroken. Jonah is a friend. He is a decent and sweet and hugely talented guy, and I cannot imagine what he is going through right now,”
In June, Gladwell defended Lehrer against the “absurd allegation” that he had plagiarized a quote from one of Gladwell’s books. Check it out:
In 2006, I quoted a line from William Goldman about how no one knows anything in Hollywood. In Imagine, Jonah Lehrer quotes the same line. This is not surprising, since Goldman’s comment is one of the most famous things ever written about Hollywood and has been quoted, by journalists, probably hundreds of times since it was written. If Lehrer is plagiarizing me, by quoting the same quote I quoted, then I am plagiarizing the person who used that quote before me, and that person is plagiarizing the person who quoted it before them, and so on and so forth, and we have a daisy chain of “plagiarizing” going back forty years and plagiarism, as a ethical concept, has ceased to mean anything at all.