The Claire Chazal Experiment

Claire Chazal
Claire Chazal was a well-known newswoman who presented the evening news on France's TF1 network. Like many French celebrities, she had decided to write a novel. She titled it L'Institutrice (The Primary School Teacher). It was published in 1997 by Plon and became a bestseller.

In 2000, the editors of Voici magazine, a weekly tabloid, decided to use her novel to prove that the success of novels by celebrities has little to do with the literary merit of the novels themselves and everything to do with the fame of their authors.

They changed the title of her novel to Maitresse d'Ecole, altered the names of some of the characters, and changed the two opening sentences. They then submitted the manuscript to numerous publishing houses, claiming it was a work by an unknown author. Every publisher rejected it, including Chazal's own publisher, Plon. To add insult to injury, Plon not only didn't recognize the book, but also suggested that the author should send a self-addressed/stamped envelope if she wanted the manuscript back.

Jacques Colin, editor of Voici, commented: "publishers open their doors wide to novels by celebrity authors ... which would never have been published if they had been signed by an obscure writer."

Chazal did not comment on the hoax.


It happen everyday with articles published by scientific journals. See the Sokal affair.
Posted by Anonymous  in  Nowhere  on  Sun May 06, 2012  at  11:53 PM
The same is true for food. I heard one study tricked people into thinking dog food was gourmet, and they fell for it (though the dog food bit might be an urban legend.)
Posted by Ann  on  Tue May 29, 2012  at  01:38 PM
"It happen everyday with articles published by scientific journals. See the Sokal affair."

That is about as a gross a mischaracterisation of Sokal's little prank as is possible. He submitted a nonsense article to a non-peer-reviewed sociology publication, exactly in order to demonstrate that their lack of a proper peer-review submission system and focus on vacant postmodernist pseudo-intellectualism was a severe flaw.

Any publication which is actually a scientific journal, with all the qualities such a moniker implies, would have thrown his article out in an instant, and indeed the appearance of fraudulent papers in genuine scientific publications is bloody low considering the volume involved. Not only that, but they're generally pretty sophisticated frauds at that, which go to great lengths to disguise the fact.

Using the actions of a man who took those actions explicitly to demonstrate the superiority of a particular standpoint in order to cast aspersions against that standpoint is pretty low.
Posted by SeeYouJimmy  in  Scotland  on  Sun Oct 07, 2012  at  05:22 AM