Howl, howl, oh Howell!

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

hysterical faking

dragging the gray lady through the negro—not that it mattered that he was negro—streets

at dawn

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!


  1. Anonymous · ·


  2. I’m starting to obsess over the Beat Generation. I just bought On The Road and there is this exibit at the NYPL about Jack Kerouac. Jack went to Columbia by the way.

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