Self-Plagiarism and Self-Pleasure

After the flap over Jonah Lehrer’s humiliation and firing from the New Yorker for making up Bob Dylan quotes and lying about it, I worry that one really foolish idea will take hold and perhaps even give trial lawyers the scent of money.

Since critics started digging into Lehrer’s work after charges of self-plagiarism surfaced, and since he did eventually get dragged down to disgrace, people may assume that there’s merit to the idea of self-plagiarism.

There isn’t. It’s a ridiculously stupid concept whose relationship to logic and grammar makes exactly as much sense as describing marital sex as self-pleasure.

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