Jonah Lehrer who was caught plagiarizing last year was recently paid the sum of $20,000 by the Knight Foundation to speak on some of the bad decisions he’s made, and also on the topic of failure.
Reaction has been uniformly negative, with pointed posts in the New York Times, Forbes and Los Angeles Magazine. But while I don’t necessarily disagree with such commentary, I also think it misses the point.
I have also seen these negative reactions everywhere, not just in the mainstream media. The article to which I’m linking provides an excellent commentary. And something I think holds true with respect to all forms of public scandal. Bill Clinton did some of the most notorious things a man can do in his personal life and he’s been forgiven…and yet not completely forgiven. I could list more, but you get where I’m going with this.
And that’s the point. We live in a culture defined by sanctimony, in which we react to people’s flaws, their failings, not with compassion but disdain. What did we expect from Lehrer? And why did we expect anything at all? Like every one of us, he is a conflicted human, his own worst enemy, but you’d hardly know that from the pile-on provoked by his talk.
In a rather twisted turn of events, the Knight Foundation made a statement on Wednesday saying they were sorry they’d paid Lehrer any fee at all. But that’s all after the fact.
In an interesting non-related story about journalism fail, Sarah Palin was recently written about in the Washington Post, however the reporter didn’t know that she’d been getting her information from a satirical publication and made a huge mistake.
The Post’s Suzi Park reported on the “She The People” blog that Palin, who recently left Fox News as a contributor, had joined Al Jazeera America. She based the report on a story by The Daily Currant without realizing that it is a satirical news website. The Washington Post has since corrected the piece.
Now that’s rich. I’m no Palin fan or supporter, however, I have been slammed for writing gay parody and satire on hetero romance films, by people who either don’t understand satire and parody, or don’t take the time to realize that it is satire or parody.
We’re living in interesting times, because there are a lot of idiots writing things we just can’t trust anymore.
Tim Tebow Goes Anti-Gay?
Well, not exactly, at least not openly…as far as I know…you can’t be too sure anymore with professional athletes. He’s now giving a speech at a notoriously anti-gay church. So if we’re supposed to base our conclusions on information given to us, I would doubt Tim Tebow is going to join the fight for equality and same sex marriage any time soon.
First Baptist Dallas is an approximately 11,000-member church led by senior pastor Robert Jeffress, an evangelical Christian who has built up quite a reputation for himself in circles among the religious right.
This is what Jeffress said about gay men:
There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that, and the reason is very clear: homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person’s mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God’s law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well.
I’ve never been a left or right wing radical. I think radicals and zealots of any kind are dangerous people…loons. And frankly, I think Tebow should be worrying more about football than religion. But it won’t be the first time a pretty boy did something like this for attention or a quick buck, and it won’t be the last. You can read more here.
For some reason Valentine’s Day seems to be a time for a lot of new book releases this year, and I don’t think I’ve seen more obnoxious self-promotion than I have in the past month. I will be the first to admit that it’s not easy to self-promote. I have never found an easy tasteful way to do it and sometimes we all have to do things we don’t like in order to get information out to readers. But there are lines. Seriously. Especially when the self-promotion winds up turning more people off than turning them on. And I don’t think some authors get this. While fifty unsuspecting people might be clicking “like” on Facebook to obnoxious self-promotion, one hundred more might be sitting there gaping at how obnoxious you are and figuring out a way to hide you from their news feed.
Sometimes I think people might not know they’re this obnoxious?
Here’s an article that talks about obnoxious self-promotion that I think gets right to the point. It’s not specifically geared to authors and publishing, but it can be applied well.
There are those who jump all in and self-congratulate to the fullest (“Did you hear? I just won Employee of the Year! I mean it’s not like I’m shocked, I did close some huge deals last month.”),.
That’s just ICK!
Bookish Instead of Goodreads?
There’s a new web site up for books and all things reading related that looks to be another social media playground. At least that’s been my take so far. I’m not exactly sure where they are going with this site, but I think it might be an alternative to Goodreads if you’re not fond of some of the things you’ve seen and read at Goodreads.
I never spent much time at Goodreads, so I’m not anti-Goodreads by any means. I can’t say I love them or hate them because I don’t know much about them. I’ve even posted apologies here because I’ve been remiss in accepting friend requests I didn’t even know I had. But that’s because I’ve always thought of GR as a place for readers to interact with each other about books, and as an author I’ve always kept my distance for this reason.
In any event, here’s a link to Bookish. I’ll be following it to see where it goes…if it goes anywhere. As I said, I think it might be an alternative to Goodreads if they do it right. By that I mean I’d like to see a web site for readers, where members are not allowed infinite multiple identities and fake names, and where corrupt members can’t sit down in one afternoon and rate over one thousand books with five stars in just one sitting. Wouldn’t that be a novelty?