"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, April 28, 2006

Identity Cries "Sis!"

So apparently the novel by the Indian American chick, Hiawatha or something, got pulled because she was plagiarising another genius named McNugget or some such thing. The premise of McSmeup's book was that an Irish girl was a little confused and fell in love whilst the startling and bold new envelope-pushing premise of Sacagawea's book was that an Indian girl was a little confused and fell in love.

Isn't it a shame that two artists could not pursue their separate literary visions in the refreshingly original way that would reflect their unique personalities and perspectives? Sometimes life disappoints.

8 comments:

James Elliott said...

Aside from the whole "scam concocted to get into Harvard" aspect, I believe the plagiarism is related to whole passages cut-and-pasted, not merely idea-stealing. And I know the whole American Indian thing is supposed to be funny, but it's really just offensive.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Let's take a poll, see who else is offended. Puhleez.

James Elliott said...

Well, considering that you can't tell the difference between Sacagawea (an American Indian) and Kaavya (an East Indian), I'd have to say you're kind of in the wrong here, even if you're just trying to be clever.

To put it offensively, you didn't ask the right question before you wrote: "Casino Indian or 7-Eleven Indian?" Offensive, but it illustrates the point. You didn't just miss the point, you missed an entire culture of a billion-plus people.

I know you were trying to be clever, but really, it was just dumb. You really don't see how "Oh, an Indian! How droll! I'll make a play on the two different cultural meanings and have a bit of a larf at both cultures' expense!" is a bit offensive?

Kathy Hutchins said...

Due respect, James, but I think you're the one missing Jay's point. Perhaps that's because you're male and you have no teenaged daughters. This entire genre of literature is so repetitive, unimaginative, formulaic and just plain pond-bottom dumb that the idea of one author stealing anything from another is devoid of meaning. He's mimicking the idiot style of these estrogen moron-bombs. I thought it was sidesplitting.

James Elliott said...

No, Kathy, with respect, I got that, which is why I pointed out that the plagiarism is, in fact, a case of 29 pages directly lifted from the book in question. I, for one, don't care about plot infringement. Like you said, much of modern writing and visual media is so formulaic it's a far greater feat to have failed to "lift" something from another work. Trying to be clever isn't license to be completely wrong.

My problem with the post is that his play on "Indian" was offensive. Not "PC" offensive - I couldn't give two tugs of a dead dog's tail about PC - but rather offensive because it was ignorant. So ignorant it rises to the level of stupid. That kind of stupidity is like a virus, and is easily communicable, making all who read it all the dumber for it. That kind of ignorant stupidity needs to be cauterized and excised from common parlance for the good of mankind.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Thanks, Kathy, for expressing my point exactly right. Remind me when I sell a book to make sure you get a slot reviewing it somewhere.

As for James' point that someone might think that I didn't know the difference between an American Indian and an Indian American, I would think that my years of tenure as a columnist with humorous tendencies would have earned me the benefit of my readers' doubt.

And as Tom would say if you asked him, that's kind of the point of this blog which houses a group of regularly published authors. This is a place where people can come knowing that a thing like that will be humor and not ignorance.

Devang said...

As an Indian reading, it would've been funny if is was an Indian actress's name (i.e Aishwarya Rai, or just Aiswarya) instead of Sacagawea. Actresses copy from each other all the time...

I had to read that 4 times before I got it, because I tend to delibrately skip names while I read. First time that's hampered by abilities.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Indeed, Jay. There's a certain malevolence of the doubt about the internet that's disconcerting.