Newly appointed New Yorker staff writer and published author Jonah Lehrer has been revealed as inventing Bob Dylan quotes for his new book, titled Imagine: How Creativity Works. The book, which attempts to explain creative genius via neuroscience and looks to investigate the mind of Bob Dylan, contains numerous misquotations that were first noticed by fellow journalist Michael Moyniha, who writes for Tablet Magazine.
As noted in Moyniha’s article, Moyiha being an avid Dylan fan, needed only to read the first chapter of the book to find various acts of fraudulence, including misquotes, quotes from separate interviews fused together and apparently fictionalised quotes.
When Moyniha contacted Lehrer for explanation, he was at first met with misleading information and outright lies. Lehrer claimed, amongst other things, to be privy to unedited footage from Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home. Eventually, however, Lehrer conceded he had misrepresented and created quotes in order to fit in with the themes of this book.
As reported by The Guardian, with the deception now public, Imagine: How Creativity Works, which debuted at the number one spot on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list, publisher Houghton Mifflin is discontinuing the book while online stores such as Amazon have stopped sales.
“Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book Imagine. The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes.”
“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 apologise to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers.”
Lehrer should count himself lucky that Dylan didn’t catch him personally. As noted by The Music Network, the clip below proves that Dylan is quite adept at telling journalists what he thinks…
Watch: Bob Dylan Interview with Time Magazine