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Fabulous notoriety: the Stephen Glass syndrome

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In the classic vein of American snark, some citizens might consider themselves lucky to have Glass' problems. Serial fabrication may be a compulsion, but any observer of fraudulent behavior knows that hard work goes into elaborate deceit, and con artists need to make a living too you know, especially with over a hundred thousand dollars worth of therapy bills! How many of us get hired at prestigious opinion journals and wind up with a movie and a roman a clef out of the experience?

Now the headlines ignite because the California State Supreme Court bars Stephen from obtaining a law license, despite the fact that his work as a paralegal is said to be exemplary. Does this really consign him to a life of poverty, forced to wait in line for food stamps or Medicaid, or even denied these safety net entitlements if he attempts to prove he is the former journalist? How would the hapless income maintenance worker know, after all, as many of the thousands who case manage welfare benefits are as nearly stressed out as the indigent families and persons they monitor.

David Plotz, the editor of Slate Magazine, clearly exercising the need to ventilate his sense of betrayal, calls the court's decision cruel, stressing the fact that Glass would be a virtual law library of integrity simply by virtue of his infamous reputation. Compare this to Luis Rodriguez's statement citing vindication, and you might not be ridiculed for thinking pundits and jurists should split a healthy dose of lithium at their Georgetown University reunion.

If Glass really needs money, there is always the "how to" informericial. Throw in Jayson Blair, add a dash of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi-wizardy, and no doubt, there will be sure-fire ticket sales. Don't we all love sleazy schemes to beat the system?


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