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Tuesday News: Jonah Lehrer caught fabricating quotes in new book; Stephen...


Reader Cat not impressed  by author shenanigans

The world is filled with terrible people and awful news. I’m sorry.

Lehrer was caught self plagiarizing his own work earlier this year and since this all was revealed, he resigned from the New Yorker.

You can read more here. Leather is now threatening lawsuits against Jeremy Duns for … truth telling? I’m not sure. In the US, defamation is defensible by truth. Nothing Dun has said appears to be false. Not sure what the standard is in the UK.  One of Jeremy Duns’ followers pointed him to a law in the UK that prohibits the faking of customer reviews.

Some proprietors may not be aware that astroturfing is illegal, but it is. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations say that pretending to be a consumer and giving yourself a positive review is ‘an unfair commercial practice’. This is a criminal offence and proprietors are potentially liable for an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of two years.

Really wonderful people have died already in 2012. Nora Ephron passed away in last month.  Sally Kristen Ride, Ph.D died a week ago.  She was the first woman in space.  Even more sad, her partner of over twenty years is not entitled to any benefits because of the lack of recognition for same sex partners.  And yesterday news of Maeve Binchy’s death at the age of 72 was delivered.

Finally, let me briefly address the Chick Fil A debacle.  As many of you may know, the CEO came out and said that he supports only the biblical definition of families:

Chick-fil-A is “very much supportive of the family,” according to Dan Cathy, president of the popular fast food chain. That is, “the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said.

And that doesn’t include Adam and Steve, suggests Cathy, whose father S. Truett Cathy founded the Atlanta-based company.

Jim Henson’s Muppets subsequently severed ties with Chick-fil-A.  There is supposed to be a national GLBT kiss in this Wednesday. And finally, the Berenstein Bears posted a note on its site that said “A message from HarperCollins:  We have a long history of diversity and inclusiveness, and are very disappointed to hear recent statements made by Chick-Fil-A.  After much consideration, we have decided to honor our previous arrangement, [sic] with the chain. We have no plans to work with them in the future.”

If you’ve made it this far, have a gander at Buzzfeeds list of cats and dogs getting ready for the Dark Knight Rises.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

27 Comments

  1. Becky Black
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 04:25:51

    Leather is a total nutter. I used to hang out on the UK Kindle boards on Amazon a while back and he rampaged around there acting in an incredibly obnoxious and unprofessional manner. He’s the very best example to me of an author whose books I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, purely because of his stupid behaviour.

    Oh and not to take anything away from the amazing Sally Ride, a heroine of mine, but she was only the first American woman in space. Valentina Tereshkova was the first, in 1963. The situation with her partner not getting the same benefits an opposite sex partner would have is shameful.

  2. connie333
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 05:17:10

    So sad about Maeve Binchy’s passing – “Circle Of Friends” was the first romance novel I read and I still re-read it.
    It’ll be interesting to see if Chick-Fil-A’s homophobia has any impact on it’s sales… And guess which failed politician posted a picture of her and her husband grinning and holding bags of Chick-Fil-A’s sandwiches in their restaurant on facebook after they made their statement? Yup, Sarah Palin. You stay classy Sarah.

  3. Ren
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 05:46:54

    Because protesting those who use religion to validate their “rustic” social views so often results in a change of heart…

    Frankly, I’m surprised anyone is surprised about the Chick-Fil-A business. Apparently no one has ever listened to an employee’s or job applicant’s experience with their HR practices before.

    @connie333: Any lost sales from customers who didn’t realize Chick-Fil-A has leanings they disagree with will be made up by new customers who didn’t realize Chick-Fil-A has leanings they agree with, so I say they break even.

  4. Patricia Eimer
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 07:10:15

    Sometimes the stupidity of people just amazes me. Common sense dictates: You will get caught if you plagarize, if you’re an asshole and get caught you can’t then sue to cover up the fact you’re an asshole– by being more of one, and discriminating against people just ticks people (and muppets) off and hurts your business.

    Jeez, no wonder the world’s such a mess– some of these people can’t get past the basics of human behavior.

  5. library addict
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:21:18

    I think many of those dogs and cats in the Buzzfeed’s link were not happy campers.

    Didn’t I read somewhere that Chick-Fil-A responded by saying the Jim Henson Company’s toys were being recalled for safety issues? As if.

  6. Darlene Marshall
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 09:05:21

    Sadly, I do believe you’ll be using that cat again in the future. Every time this happens we scratch our heads and say, “What were they thinking?” And yet, the stories keep coming.

    As deeply saddened as I was by Sally Ride’s death, and the knowledge that she had to hide her relationships because of prejudice, I hope if it accomplishes anything positive it will be to help society continue to recognize that heroes come in all shapes, sizes, genders and sexual orientations. Acceptance of same-sex partnerships and marriage will only continue to grow, just not quickly enough.

  7. sula
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 09:12:10

    I think it’s important to note that the objection to Chick-Fil-A is not so much that the CEO is a bigoted homophobe but that they donated millions to hate groups working to fund campaigns to explicitly curtail, block and limit the human rights of GLBTQ citizens.

    A bit more detail on what kinds of things your money is going towards when you spend it at Chick-Fil-A (I would add a link but this seems to get stuck in the spam-filter). From a front-page article on dailykos.com: “Chick-Fil-A funds groups that fight LGBT-affirming initiatives in whatever form they take: non-discrimination protection in housing and employment; repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; any form of equitable partner benefit compensation in public or private employment; forming gay/straight alliance student clubs in schools; the rights of gays and lesbians to adopt or even have custody of their own kids; many of these groups openly extoll the virtues of professionally repudiated, dangerous “gay reparative” therapy. It isn’t as simple as Chick-Fil-A “just has a different opinion” on marriage.”

    Speaking for myself, there is no way I will support such bigotry even indirectly by spending money at a business who may then turn around and use my dollars to fund hate.

  8. LeeF
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 10:23:16

    I loved Maeve Binchy’s voice in her writing. It was interesting, soothing, relaxing yet had a quality of real life tension that kept me reading.

  9. Jess
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 11:06:38

    @sula:
    Wow, I had no idea what groups Chick-Fil-A’s money went to. I knew the company was ultra-Christian (if for no other reason than they play blatantly religious music) and supported so-called traditional values and that always bothered me, but I had no idea the money went to organizations actively working to discriminate/harm people. I did like their food, especially their ranch dressing (that was really the only reason I ate their chicken) and their cookies and cream milkshake, but after realizing just how disgusting the company and its CEO are, I don’t feel so bad about not being able to eat chicken anymore.

  10. Ros
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 11:09:38

    I’m sad to think there’ll never be another new Maeve Binchy novel. I didn’t love all her books but the ones I did, I really, really loved.

  11. DS
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 13:06:25

    I can’t boycott Chick-Fil-A because the only time I ever think of them is on Sunday and they are closed on Sunday. I really hate not being able to participate.

    As for Stephen Leather, I liked one of his books (first in the Jack Nightingale series) and bought a second in the series although I stalled while listening to the first chapter. I had heard rumors of his crazy but its clearly worse than the rumors had suggested.

  12. Lada
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 15:17:36

    Nice to see that Twitter has apologized to Guy Adams and reinstated him. They include a full explanation in their blog: .

  13. reader
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 16:31:54

    From now on, whenever I have the desire to eat at Chick-Fil-A, I’m going to take the dollars that I would’ve spent there and instead donate them to GLBTQ support organizations.

    That seems like a good, individual way to right this particular wrong.

  14. Ann Somerville
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 19:08:46

    Darlene Marshall said: “I hope if it accomplishes anything positive it will be to help society continue to recognize that heroes come in all shapes, sizes, genders and sexual orientations.”

    Yes, I hope so too. And yet, you have women in the 21st century who can pen things like this, and you realise how far we have to go even convincing our own gender we are worthy of accolades for achievements:
    http://manboobz.com/2012/07/29/the-thinking-housewife-tries-to-tarnish-the-legacy-of-sally-ride-with-a-surreally-homophobic-eulogy/

    Business Week has an interesting article comparing the approach of the devout Morman owner of the Marriot Hotels, and Chick-Fil-A’s fundy boss:
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-26/god-and-gay-marriage-what-chick-fil-a-could-learn-from-marriott

    Strangely, you can be deeply religious and still manage not to ruin your business’s public rep or come off looking like a rabid dickhead.

  15. GrowlyCub
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 21:05:59

    @Ann Somerville:

    Didn’t read the article about the Marriott person, but can tell from last weekend’s experience at a Marriott where I was greeted by an incredibly offensive religious laminated statement that he’s doing it wrong, too! I complained to the front desk and I plan on sending a letter to headquarters and I’ll avoid Marriotts wherever I can in the future.

    I do *not* appreciate some asshole shoving his religious beliefs down my throat in a place where I expect to be free of such harassment. If I had been in a church I may have to expect sermonizing and preaching, in a 5-star hotel? HELL no.

  16. miz_geek
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 21:24:34

    Chick-fil-a is also going after this guy (http://eatmorekale.com/donate.html) in Vermont who makes handprinted t-shirts that say Eat More Kale. Eat More Kale sounds too much like Eat Mor Chikin, and they claim they’re worried that people might buy t-shirts when really they wanted chicken sandwiches.

  17. Ann Somerville
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 22:03:26

    @GrowlyCub:

    I’m sorry you had that experience. It goes directly against what the Marriot guy says in the article so he’s either lying or deluded. The reporter obviously didn’t dig too deeply.

  18. Paula
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 07:57:08

    My pastor wrote a blog post about Chik-Fil-A which already says everything that I think needs to be said… In short, it’s sad that people are getting left with the idea that Christians are about anti-homosexuality. Cathy can believe what he likes. He is even allowed to say what he believes. He is even allowed to spend his company’s profits in any manner he sees fit. Everyone else in America is also allowed to believe what they like, say what they believe, and spend their own money. This is how it should be. (If it’s okay to post a link: http://www.perrynoble.com/2012/08/01/ben-jerrys-chic-fil-a-political-correctness/ )

  19. DS
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 10:24:24

    @reader: Thank you for the idea. I think I’m going to do that.

    I haven’t stayed in a Marriott in the past 10 months but usually I spend a few nights twice a year downtown in larger cities, almost always in Marriotts– last one was Chicago– and I have never noticed anything religious oriented. I’m from the Bible Belt though and my mind tends to edit out a lot of religious sentiment so maybe I just didn’t notice.

  20. azteclady
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 10:35:39

    @Ann Somerville: In that vein, you have women in the 21st Century who can write*, and this is a quote, in case you’d rather not follow the vitriol,

    Thousands of more qualified men were passed over so that Sally Ride’s vagina could fly into space.

    And yes, she can say whatever she wants, under her first amendment right to free speech, but it doesn’t make it any less hateful, envious or pathetic.

    *the link is formatted so as not to increase that sorry excuse for a human being’s blog’s visibility on Google and other search engines.

  21. Shelly
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 15:42:09

    Ugh. I bought Lehrer’s How We Decide when it was a kindle daily deal, and am in the first chapter. But, I’m now no longer motivated to read it.

  22. Jane
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 15:43:51

    @Shelly: I bet you could return it.

  23. GrowlyCub
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 10:23:17

    @Ann Somerville:

    Marriott is investigating. It may have been a one off. I hope so.

    DS,
    I have stayed at quite a few Marriotts over the years and I’d never come across anything like it before.

  24. Stephen Leather
    Aug 24, 2012 @ 02:51:06

    I have to say that it’s so unfair that you have repeated allegations as fact without making any effort to check whether they are true or not. Ditto all those who pile in to comment on the allegations. It really is a mob mentality and is unfortunately not uncommon on the internet these days.

    I’ve been ignoring most of what has been going on because it’s impossible to win against a mob.

    But some things you should know. Pretty much all the allegations that Duns is making are untrue. I stand by what I said at Harrogate but he has twisted and lied and stretched the truth in a way that has stunned me.

    At one point he made a defamatory statement about me on Twitter and I tweeted back that he had crossed over into libel. He then began tweeting that I was suing him. That is an absolute lie. I never said that and I have no plans to sue him. If nothing else he has so little in the way of assets that a libel action would be pyrrhic at best.

    He then tweeted that he was afraid that I would send someone from Ireland to hurt him. That is a total fiction. But both these lies have been repeated as if they were fact.

    What I said at Harrogate was then twisted to say that I had opened fake Amazon accounts to criticise the work of other writers. That has been repeated many times and is not true.

    Duns phoned a friend of mine (Steve Roach) and spent almost an hour getting him to try to criticise me. He taped the call but still ended up twisting what was said. I have a full four-page statement from that friend about the way Duns behaved. Steve has also written to me saying that he in now ay considers me a bully.

    Over the past three weeks Duns has posted hundreds of malicious and abusive tweets about me. He has appealed to his friends to join in and several have. Some of his friends have been on to Facebook trying to befriend me and my contacts as a way of getting access to my Facebook account.

    Duns took screenshots of my Facebook page and tweeted them. He tweeted personal details of my address. He has made countless unsubstantiated allegations and offensive comments to the point that I have to avoid Twitter most of the time, a great pity as that was my favoured way of talking to fans.

    Duns claims to be a journalist. I have worked for some of the best papers on Fleet Street and I don’t know any other journalists who would act in this way.

    He also claims to be a writer. According to Neilsen, Duns has sold a grand total of 3,278 books in the UK. That’s over his whole writing “career”. According to Neilsen, his latest book, The Moscow Option, has sold 162 copies. I think you need look no further than that for an explanation of the jealousy that is driving Duns. I sell more copies in one week than he has sold in his life.

    A writer by the name of Steve Mosby is behind many of the attacks on me. He insists on labeling me a bully. Again I would dispute that. I have had strong discussions with readers and writers online but without exception it has been a two-way street. If anyone has been a bully it’s Duns and Mosby. Mosby alone has blogged on me FOUR times and has sent more than a hundred tweets slagging me off. In one tweet he admitted that he hoped he was damaging my sales.

    Well he hasn’t. Not at all. And my book False Friends was Number 4 in the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list at the height of his abuse. Mosby is as unsuccessful an author as Duns. According to Neillsen, he has lifetime sales of fewer than 7,000 books for his titles. With that level of sales neither Duns nor Mosby has a future as a writer. That more than anything is what I think has been driving them over the past three weeks.

    Anyway, that’s my last word on the matter. I have been advised that it’s never a good idea to wrestle with a pig. You end up getting covered in mud and the pig enjoys it. :-) I would be grateful in future if you and the visitors to your blog would refrain from commenting on untrue and unsubstantiated allegations.

  25. Ann Somerville
    Aug 24, 2012 @ 03:13:09

    @Stephen Leather:

    Cool story, bro

  26. ariane
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 12:06:29

    Sally Ride was the first woman in space? Are you sure?

    lol……..

  27. Darlene Marshall
    Sep 22, 2012 @ 07:00:40

    @ariane–Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. The Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space in 1963.

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