Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On Lying about Dylan . . .

David Kenny, in a New York Times column, "Freewheelin': Bob Dylan, Jonah Lehrer and the Truth" (August 2, 2012), notes the irony of Jonah Lehrer making up quotes he attributed to Bob Dylan:
He earned a place among journalism’s shamed stars by playing it fast and loose in a story, coincidentally enough, about a cultural icon known for liking his facts slippery.
Lehrer, who ought to have been teaching us to imagine how creativity works, instead taught us a moral lesson by way of a bad example, lying about a creative artist known for being a man with a penchant toward 'telling stories' about himself:
In 2004, when Bob Dylan published his memoir, "Chronicles: Volume One," it was hailed for its striking candor. In it, he tells the story of arriving in New York and hitting it big in the 1960s, and about losing his way and rediscovering himself in the 1980s. The critics cheered. Finally, the Sphinx was telling it like it was.

Dylan obsessives knew better than to take him at his word. This was the master fabulist, a man of many masks, king of the tricksters, and memoir is the least dependable of genres.
Everyone knows Dylan 'lies', but he's a creative artist writing a memoir, so he gets a free pass, whereas Lehrer . . .
. . . was working in nonfiction rather than memoir, where scenes and dialogue are understood to be reconstructed from memory rather than from rigorous reporting.
In short, Lehrer was 'creative', but no artist, so bye-bye Bro-Jo.

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At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Jonah was just trying to land a "whale" sized story?


At 4:30 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Good one, Jay!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:45 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Lying is very fashionable and sophisticated these days. The practice is eponymously called "postmodernism."

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That's why we need Daniel Webster!

Jeffery Hodges

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