My class and I have been discussing Howell Raines, Jayson Blair, and that whole fiasco this week. And since it’s verging on a month since I’ve posted anything to this blog, I thought it appropriate to share this parody I wrote of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.”
By Kevin Lerner, with appropriate apologies
I saw the best writers of a new generation destroy with plagiarism, borrowing
dragging the gray lady through the negro—not that it mattered that he was negro—streets
who passed through the University of Maryland without degree,
who cowered in apartment in Brooklyn, cell phone expense report
West Virginia claimed
who described tobacco fields and interviews never had, cell phone to photographer
lied I’m coming
who racked up corrections, setting A2 records, earning weeks off for mental health,
warnings from Landman
who despite said warnings earns promotion to National, sniper coverage,
Maryland officials exclusive source ghosts
who read avidly the San Antonio Express-News
who told the Observer idiot editors couldn’t catch fabrications and borrowings,
anonymous sources from whole cloth
who refused to fade silently, feeding Pappu Romanesko chatrooms
pundits for weeks
who fueled Jay’s jokes, laugh lines from Letterman, a town hall meeting of those who
strive to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose
who brought down the Raines from heaven and Boyd who stand before you speechless
and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul.
What Sphinx of talent and burnout and too many second chances bashed open our skulls
and brought ignominy to the mighty Ochs and Sulzberger trust, and yet could still
Bragg about his wiles?
Jayson! Jayson whose mind is pure machinery! Whose fingers are ten armies destroying
the Power and the Glory!
Jayson! Jayson! Jayson of Brooklyn, whose mind is running book deals!
Jayson! The low point of 152 years of history!