After the crummy year I’ve had so far I’d rather be anyone but me. Anyone except Jonah Lehrer, that is.
Lehrer is the dude who wrote Imagine: How Creativity Works, a book that spent a fair amount of time on the New York Times’ nonfiction bestseller list. He’s written two other books, as well, and a science blog for the New Yorker. Pretty good gigs for a writer who’s only thirty-one, eh?
Did you notice the use of past tense there? Yeah, well, that’s because Imagine is no longer a bestseller, it’s not even on the shelves. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin, pulled it out of stores last week and yanked the e-book off the market. Turns out Imagine wasn’t nonfiction, after all: Lehrer made up some of the Dylan quotes used in his book. Plus, he’d recycyled some of the material on his blog.
heh heh, whoops
Now, no matter how incredibly stoopid and lame that was (and it was, most assuredly, both those things), you’ve got to feel for the guy. He’ll spend the rest of his days kicking himself in the ass, hard; lamenting his once bright and brilliant and glorious future; grieving the loss of those big, fat checks.
Worst of all? He’ll find no one to blame but himself. He’ll look, of course, but his downfall was entirely self-inflicted and that’ll be a burr under his saddle forever. The poor schmuck fell victim to too much demand, not enough supply. So he started making stuff up, simple as that. Understandable, yes, but really dumb.
I wouldn’t give his troubles to a monkey on a rock, as Letterman says, and I wouldn’t be him for all the money in the world. Who would I be, though, if I could be anyone — living or dead, past or present? Well, hmm, give me a minute.
I could go the noble route, I suppose, and choose somebody like Jonas Salk or Clara Barton, maybe. Or adventurous and go with Christopher Columbus, Neil Armstrong? What about Einstein? Grace Kelly? Mary Cassatt? Lisa Simpson? Dorothy Parker? Meryl Streep? Great choices, all. But, no, none of the above.If I could be anyone in the world, I’d be (drum roll,please) Grace Slick. She’s talented, outspoken, unpredictable, hysterically funny, artistic, unusual, and she’s totally cool with getting old. Besides, I dig Jefferson Airplane.
How about you? Who would you want to be? Why?
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