Dan Kennedy makes an excellent point about the Viswanathan scandal.

Indeed, if you take a look at the Crimson’s side-by-side comparisons, you’ll find it hard to rule out the possibility — the likelihood? — that Viswanathan propped McCafferty’s “Sloppy Firsts” open in her lap and started typing, making just a few changes in an inept attempt to cover her tracks.

It’s hard to muster much sympathy for Viswanathan, who got a $500,000 contract to put her imprimatur on a novel that others “conceptualized” for her, and that she then couldn’t apparently bother to write entirely on her own.

But I’ll give her this much. In a more sane world, she never would have gotten the contract and the publicity that put her in the public spotlight in the first place. She would have plagiarized at Harvard, flunked a class, maybe even been forced to transfer to another college. And she would have learned an important lesson — quietly. Instead, she’s dealt herself a devastating blow from which it will be hard to recover.

I will refrain from comment about the young woman’s intelligence. And…again…what does this tell you about the publishing industry? Too depressing for words.