Justifying Plagiarism. Good God, What’s Next?
It made me sick.
Here’s the thumbnail. Many creative endeavors are done in a collaborative way (screenplays, agency work etc.). But writing remains largely a solitary craft. We expect the creation that we consume to be the author’s and his or her alone.
When it’s not…we call it plagiarism.
Which is a fancy way of saying: hey slimebag, you just cheated.
(Note the James Frey fiasco and even our beloved historian David McCullough, both taken behind the proverbial shed.)
But in this article, the New York Times explores the idea that recent author Helene Hegemann–now caught for stealing big chunks of text from a blogger for her new novel–is merely restructuring media for a new creative pursuit.
“A child of a media-saturated generation, she presented herself as a writer whose birthright is the remix; that use of anything at hand she feels suits her purposes, and idea of communal creativity that certainly wasn’t share by those from whom she borrowed.”
The Times even tries to put forth–only for argument’s sake– that Andy Warhol did something similar with his Campbell soup can.
Are they serious? I’m having trouble making the connection.
Hegemann is taking something original and passing it off as her own in the exact same context. How hysterical the idea of Warhol selling chicken noodle to unsuspecting consumers. In a can. With a red and white label.
No doubt, the game of ripping off content is easier than ever before. Surely social networking, blogging, twitter updates and the incredible free flow of content is blurring the lines of authorship and ownership, commentary and creation.
But is that a good reason to throw in the towel?
It seems like a very, very slippery slope we’re on.
Okay, I admit it. I’m judgmental.
I look at the photo, I read the story, and I think:
Isn’t this just the epitome of entitlement? Yet another example where people want the payoff without the persistence that goes with it?
Helene: you. got. caught.
I give you credit for a very, very, very, clever defense.
But you’re guilty.
(Or, folks, please tell me: am I missing something?????)