Say it ain't so. Tell me I'm dreaming.
After editors of several Lonely Planet guidebooks, said to be plagiarized or fabricated outright by writer Thomas Kohnstamm, now say he didn't lie as badly as he'd claimed, I'm not sure how to feel. The books are still valuable to travelers, or not? They're really savvy businesspeople, or they're not? In other words -- huh? Might want to address this issue going forward, folks.
Has publishing, once thought to be the bastion of taste, sunk this low?
Has the Paris Hilton Effect, a loose form of Borderline Personality Disorder, taken over every single aspect of our cultural lives?
Kohnstamm's clearly no dummy. He's just published a new book, courtesy of Three Rivers Press, detailing his victimhood as an underpaid (and apparently unmotivated) writer. Heck, maybe it's even good.
Under other circumstances, I might pick it up and laugh along, in the spirit of missing Hunter S. Thompson. But even he, it seems, would have had a problem with something this shamelessly ... icky.
After all, why did the "news" of this plagiarism break weeks before the book was to come out, not when it was originally discovered?
I think Anthony Bourdain is funny, too (so many in the media are comparing the two these days). But are the only stories worth publishing those of liars, cheaters and fabulists of all stripes?
I mean, what's really different between this and, say, Donald Rumsfeld's upcoming memoir, sure to be filled with convenient and self-serving recollections?