On Friday, Buzzfeed fired its editor and writer Benny Johnson for plagiarism, after learning from Twitter users that Johnson had been lifting passages from other stories, sometimes word for word, without attribution in his own work. Upon reviewing Johnson’s work, Buzzfeed found 41 cases of plagiarism in 500 of Johnson’s posts. Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith has issued an apology to the site’s readers.
Dazed and Confused magazine has assembled an extensive series of articles in a package called “States of Independence: A Celebration of American Radicalism, Youth, and Pop Culture.” Weighing in on the state of American writing—and advising young writers on the best ways to succeed (or, in the language of Dazed, “take over”) now—are an impressive group of writers and editors including Sarah Mangusso, David Shields, Giancarolo Ditrapano, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Gabby Bess. A refreshing look away from the endless Amazon conversation, the articles offer up apothegms such as: “Straightforward Sci-Fi Won’t Cut it Anymore,” “Bow Down to Beckett,” “Girls Should Read Other Girls,” and “Novels Shouldn’t Protect Us from Ourselves.”
“I Eat Truisms and Exude Cliches”: Jedediah Purdy, the legal scholar and author of Tolerable Anarchy, comes up with headlines for the seven most “truthy” New York Times columnists.
Politico points to a passage in a recent New York Times article to remind us of the lasting popularity of ultraconservative writer and commentator Dinesh D’Souza. The article, by Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning author Jonathan Mahler, points out that D’Souza’s new book, America: Imagine a World Without Her, is a bestseller, and that his anti-Obama film 2016 is the second-highest grossing political documentary of all time, after Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
“After an impressively long power nap, I am working on my novel again. Looks like it’s taking shape!” Cory Arcangel’s latest art project is a book titled Working on My Novel, which reprints Tweets in which authors, author manques, and author impostors share despairing, unintentionally humorous, and sometimes gratingly self-aggrandizing news about their works in progress. The book is due out this week.
WMFT Radio and the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History are collaborating to collaborating to create a comprehensive online Studs Terkel Radio Archive. It will include 9,000 hours of interviews, with more than 5,000 interviewees. Terkel, the author of oral-history classics such as Hard Times and Working, hosted a daily hour-long radio show in Chicago from 1952 until 1997, in which he spoke with “jazz, blues, folk, classical and world musicians; novelists; scientists; historians; visual artists; actors; political theorists and activists; poets; dancers; film-makers; sociologists and anthropologists; architects and urban planners; civil rights leaders; philosophers; folklorists and, of course, many fascinating, non-famous working people.”