Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fareed Zakaria, Liberal Plagiarist

What is it with these liberal intellectuals? Are they all just pompous frauds?

First, Jonah Lehrer. Now, Fareed Zakaria.

We know that liberal intellectuals are suffering from terminal groupthink, to the point where they are incapable of the least deviation from the party line, but… plagiarism.

They did not have to self-deconstruct just to prove my point-- that they cannot think for themselves and that they -have a serious problem with integrity.

You recall that Lehrer was a boy wonder, a young pseudo-expert in neuroscience who had parlayed his charm and good looks into writing gigs at Wired, The Wall Street Journal and finally The New Yorker. Yes, The New Yorker.

No sooner did Lehrer start to blog on The New Yorker site than people discovered that he was recycling his old pieces. Self-plagiarism they called it.

Some pooh-poohed it, because he was plagiarizing himself, and self-plagiarism is a victimless crime. Yet, expecting to be paid twice for the same work smacks of dishonesty and sloth.

Then, an enterprising Bob Dylan fan discovered that Lehrer had made up a Dylan quote in his bestselling book, Imagine. It was not the sole infelicity, exaggeration or lie in the book, and before you knew it, Jonah Lehrer was intellectual history.

It takes a special kind of hubris for a thirtyish intellectual with limited talent to think that he can get away with such dereliction.

And now, we have the case of Fareed Zakaria, a more serious and well-established liberal intellectual, a highly respected and highly overrated deep thinker, about whom, like Lehrer, I have had occasion to express my opinions. Link here.

Yesterday we all discovered that the great Zakaria had plagiarized a column from, of all places. The New Yorker. Did he imagine that no one reads The New Yorker, and that if he lifted whole paragraphs from it no one would notice? Was he trying to tell us that people who respected his highly limited talents did not know how to read or to think?

Clearly, Zakaria is nowhere near as bright as everyone but I thought he was. Being far less capable than the cognoscenti took him to be, Zakaria was returning the favor by showering his  dimwitted readers with contempt.

Anyway, Zakaria has now apologized. His employers, CNN and Time Magazine have suspended him for a month, at the least.

I doubt very much whether Zakaria will be back in a month. If he were it would be an even greater scandal.

One strains to imagine the degree of arrogance that would allow someone of his standing to commit such an egregious intellectual fraud, but maybe he, like Lehrer wanted to tell us that the great minds of the liberal intelligentsia are all sloth and no integrity. 


Sam L. said...

"What is it with these liberal intellectuals? Are they all just pompous frauds?" Certainly not "just". Not even the beginning. Self-righteous know-it-alls who must tell the washed they are thinking right and the unwashed that they are boobs.

Anonymous said...

"...a special kind of hubris..", indeed.

James Michener once told of an author who lifted not just paragraphs but entire pages, word for word, out of one of his works. And got away with it.

After his publisher contacted the other publisher they received a most clever reply letter, which Michener said needed to be in some sort of letter 'hall of fame', for posterity.

Michener published the letter he received back in his memoir. I'm unable to locate it for an exact quote, but to paraphrase/summarize: They stated that the author had never read any Michener books and, in fact, had never even heard of a James Michener. They couldn't deny the carbon copy though, so they could only conclude that both authors had 'borrowed' from a third source that they were unable to identify.

Clever people, them writers.

Mark said...

Biden is a notorious plagiarist. Fraud is a way of life for many liberals. God knows what an astringent bio of Obama would throw up.