S--t Bob Dylan Didn't Say: Writer Admits Faking Quotes, Resigns
Jonah Lehrer, the author of "Imagine: How Creativity Works," who was recently caught recycling his own work for various publications, resigned from his staff writer position at the New Yorker after admitting to making up Bob Dylan quotes for his popular book.
A report published early Monday in Tablet Magazine outlined how its author, Michael Moynihan, contacted Lehrer to ask about quotes in "Imagine" that were attributed to Dylan. By Monday afternoon, Lehrer released a statement admitting quotes in his book did "not exist."
"I told Mr. Moynihan that they (the quotes in question) 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," Lehrer wrote in his statement. "The lies are over now."
One of the quotes in question is derived from the infamous berating that Dylan gave a Time Magazine reporter during a tour in 1965, as documented in the film "Don't Look Back." When asked about the inspiration of his songs, Dylan grows visibly irritated.
In "Imagine," the quote is: "I just write them. There's no great message. Stop asking me to explain."
In widely available footage of the exchange, the third sentence does not exist. From the documentary: "I just write them. I don't write them for any reason. There's no great message. If you wanna tell other people that, go ahead and tell them. But I'm not gonna have to answer to it."
The Tablet report also found invented quotes of Dylan talking about writing "Like a Rolling Stone" and it detailed "contextually problematic" quotes from the book that are actually accurate.
Last month, Lehrer acknowledged self-plagiarizing lines he had written for previous publications.
Lehrer's publisher, Houghton Mifflin has halted e-book sales of "Imagine" and now says it is "exploring all options available" on addressing the issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.