The Wages of Sin: Pretty Good, Actually

I’ve refrained from commenting on the whole Jonah Lehrer thing. I had limited interaction with him when I was at ScienceBlogs, so I don’t have any definite impressions of Lehrer. Nonetheless, we note, by way of Alexandra Witze, this 2010 housing purchase:

The Hollywood Hills residence and studio of the late iconic photographer Julius Shulman has sold for $2.25 million.

The Midcentury Modern steel-frame house, built in 1950 and designed by Raphael S. Soriano, is a Los Angeles historic landmark. The 3,382-square-foot house sits on a wooded, flag-shaped lot of nearly an acre. It has original fixtures, cork-paneled entryway and hall, wood-paneled walls and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the living room. Pedestal beds, china cabinets and a bench in the kitchen are among the built-ins. The studio includes a fireplace, bedroom and bathroom for a total of four bedrooms and three bathrooms on the property. There are canyon, mountain and city views.

Actually, the house is arguably one of the iconic American Modern houses, and has even been featured in a documentary film.

Now meet the new owner:

The buyer is bestselling author and lecturer Jonah Lehrer. His book “How We Decide” has been translated into a dozen languages.

The writer has an affinity for classic design. He plans to live in the house and keep it as it was during Shulman’s tenure. Representatives for Lehrer said he will use the studio to write and will leave the darkroom intact.

Samuel Heller, Shulman’s nephew and the listing agent from Re/Max Valencia, gave the new owner the photographer’s desk.

Pretty good for a fiction writer.

Mind you, I made peace a long time ago with the idea that I wasn’t going to become wealthy by being a scientist, but I follow or know personally many science writers, and they play it straight and honest. Doing so usually hasn’t led to $2.5 million houses.

That’s what has pissed me off about the whole affair.

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5 Responses to The Wages of Sin: Pretty Good, Actually

  1. AndrewD says:

    But Mike I presume that you can look at youself in the mirror without feeling disgust

  2. I’ve been holding off on commenting online on the Lehrer affair, but here goes. . . .

    I mostly lurk instead of comment, but I followed you and PZ over to Sb when it was founded, and I was previously familiar with Orac and Ed Brayton as well. So, it seemed like a good plan, and I was pleased to see talented writers like Brian Switek and Ed Yong get their just due.

    I remember when Lehrer was posting a lot on Sb about music cognition, and I got into a bit with him in the comments about the way he was defining music (I have a musicology degree, FWIW), and I realized that he was totally uninterested in adhering to clear definitions and setting boundaries on knowledge. Long before he became an Old Media darling, he was already absolutely committed to safe, facile writing about generalities. He had already hitched his wagon to a star, and that star turned out to be bloated, red giant about to go nova.

    I remember thinking, why am I reading a blogger who doesn’t offer me anything I couldn’t get from Time or Psychology Today? So I stopped. I don’t think I paid a lick of attention to him since them until the whole plagiarism thing emerged. How in the hell did someone whose thoughts are so boring and safe rise to such prominence? (Rhetorical question; it answers itself.)

  3. Oh, if only I could edit a posted comment for style. ;)

  4. Chemjobber says:

    While I don’t doubt that Jonah Lehrer has ill-gotten gains from his falsehoods, I’m unconvinced that this is what you think it is. For all we know, he’s now on the hook for ~2 million bucks, and his peak earning days are behind him.

  5. Pingback: Harvard: Training Tomorrow’s Corrupt Leaders Today! | Mike the Mad Biologist

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