Currently I can’t help but feel sorry for Justin Bieber, who is on the news for all the wrong reasons.
These days people will do anything to become overnight celebrities. Take a look at the existing reality TV shows. Stardom or celebrity status has become so important that even writers lie and plagiarize in order to achieve it.
Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan’s first novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life (2006), secured her a $500,000 advance from Little, Brown. Kaavya’s book borrowed more than 40 passages from books by Megan McCafferty. As a consequence Little, Brown pulled copies of her book from bookstore shelves and withdrew Viswanathan’s publishing deal.
And as Charlie Conrad (publisher of Broadway Books) wrote:
“It didn’t matter that she (Kaavya Viswanathan) couldn’t write- it was all about her as the front person of the novel dealing with her real story. Reality TV’s had a big influence on publishing.”
On 30th of July 2012, the Media Decoder had posted online an article under the heading “Jonah Lehrer Resigns From The New Yorker After Making Up Dylan Quotes for His Book”.
Jonah Lehrer, a staff writer for The New Yorker, was accused of journalistic fraud. According to an article in Tablet magazine, Mr. Lehrer had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan in his best-selling book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works”.
To top it all off Mr. Lehrer had publicly apologized earlier for taking some of his articles from The Wall Street Journal, Wired, and other publications and recycling them in blog posts for The New Yorker. And of course his publisher pulled Imagine from the bookshelves.
Todd Gitlin (professor at Columbia) said:
“Not only had Mr. Lehrer carved out a career in the popular niche of brain science, but he had created a persona that is perfectly suited to a 21st-century media environment.”
Lewis Lapham in a letter to his nephew advising him not to make writing his profession wrote:
“The literary crowd likes to mourn the death of the written word and regret the disappearance of “public intellectuals”. It isn’t that the modern world has abandoned the written word but rather that certain kinds of literary usage or construction have lost their currency and force. A Wall Street investment bank composes a seventeen-page prospectus laying out the plot for the merger of two pharmaceutical companies, and its author’s fee comes up to an amount (maybe $4 million, possibly as much as $10 million) that dwarfs the earnings of all books enrolled on any season’s bestseller list.”
In 1969 Leon Surmelian wrote:
“We are fascinated with facts, but there is in the practical American mind a longing also for the ideal, and this is a romantic nation in more ways than one. There is a widespread impulse to escape from facts into an even more pleasing wonderland, and one would hesitate to resist this tendency, for it would be like going against the national temper and depriving the people of certain satisfactions and certain affirmations they must have. The market has shrunk. Commercial magazines occasionally publish an offbeat plotless story with a fresh new idea in it for prestige, or perhaps even for sound business reasons. The pot of gold is still in the improbable plot with its gimmicks, and many college courses in creative writing and Writers’ conferences have frankly commercial aims. The writing profession is cluttered with people who have nothing new and worthwhile to say and who are not even imaginative and offbeat enough to be good businessmen. But the sincere writer, the mad one, need not despair. His day is coming.”
What’s your take on the matter?