Here's one for the Fool's Progress file -- Jayson Blair, the infamously mendacious former NYTimes reporter, is publishing a book next month on the whole fiasco, entitled...wait for it..."Burning Down My Master's House: My Life at the New York Times." Somewhere Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright are clenching their fists in rage and waiting for their chance to throttle this punk in the afterlife...in the meantime, can we at least point out that this is the latest example of our culture's complete perversion of the "cheaters never prosper" adage? How is it that a man who admits to shirking his obligations at a prestigious job, misleading the public, and spending his work hours loafing in bars and making up extravagant lies achieves celebrity? Is it the race factor alone? In my view, if he were a white, well-connected young man screwing up repeatedly, he might just as easily have been given all those second chances -- look at our Commander in Chief for a prime example of that phenomenon.
UPDATE: Here's a gem of an item from the Washington Post on Mr. Blair, would-be philanthropist:
The Jayson Blair Journalism Scholarship: What a concept.
Michael Viner, who published Blair's new book, "Burning Down My Master's House," told Editor & Publisher that the lying plagiarist -- booted from the New York Times last year -- would give a portion of his advance to charity, maybe setting up a scholarship at the University of Maryland, which he attended.
"It will be up to him what the amount will be," Viner said. "But it will be enough for more than one scholarship. He did not want to promote that and make it a promotional device, he just wanted to do it."
No thanks, says Tom Kunkel, dean of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
"Obviously we'd never take such ill-gotten money; no journalism school would ever be interested in profiting from such crimes against journalism. We didn't appreciate the suggestion, and we've made that position very clear to the publisher."