Saturday, April 17, 2010

On Plagiarism and Wankery

Jeez, the YA book blogging world isn't itself without some kind of drama, huh? In this issue we have a little bit on blogging plagiarism and blogging superiority. First, on plagiarism . . .

Hey, you uncreative shit. Just don't do it, okay? If you can't think up an original thought and feel the need to take from someone else verbatim and post it as your own, perhaps you shouldn't have a blog. As if people wouldn't find out. As if we're not a well-connected network of people that looks out of each other. Such is the problem with people like this; they underestimate. Big mistake.

And I'm not one to believe ignorance in this matter is okay due to age. I mean, what could possibly be the thought process of copying and pasting someone's post and re-posting it on your own blog as your own and see it as okay? If you're a teenager, you don't have an excuse because the notion of plagiarism of banged into your head in school. You can fail classes for plagiarizing. In college, you run the risk of being kicked out of school. So really, where's the excuse for this? There isn't one.

Plagiarism on a bigger scale, when money starts getting involved, can have very serious legal repercussions. On our scale, copying and pasting reviews from free sites written by amateur reviewers won't put you in front of a judge, but you will be called out and ostracized from the community, absolutely destroying any chances of publishers and publicists contacting you for reviews should you do it and be a shit about it. As one, our voice as the power to change book covers. As if we can't crucify an asshole blogger.

Personally, should I find out anyone ever plagiarizes my blog, I'm not going to take you to court. Really, I don't think it should go that far as we're just not in a position to lose like a professional reviewer or author would, plus it's amazingly costly and you could rightly get fined or wasting the court's time. Not something that I want to deal with, but that's just me. But you can guarantee I will make your life a living hell. Not only am I a blogger but I am a writer and I take plagiarism very seriously. So fuck with me. I dare you.

Copyright law with the written word dictates that the second the words are written down, they are copyrighted to the author. This blog post? Copyrighted. And while you can't copyright ideas (that has been ruled over and over again, it's about the execution of the idea, not the idea itself that can be copyrighted), starting a meme titled "What the Mailman Brought Me" is going to make you look like an asshole for taking an already long-standing idea, changing the title and calling it yours. Just because you change a few minor things doesn't mean you can call it your own. That's not how originality works.

We live in a derivative word and we are subconsciously influenced by so many things and it's impossible to keep track of it all. But be aware of what you're writing. As other bloggers have said, don't read reviews of books you're reading until after you've already posted your review, for instance. Keeping your exposure down on something is very beneficial and it'll keep you from ending up with egg on your face. Accidental egg on your face isn't so bad. It can be cleaned off. But throwing egg in your own face? That'll stain.

As for wankery and blogger superiority, I read on a blog (for the life of me I can't remember the name) a rebuttal for a post on yet another blog (whose name escapes me) that basically trashed American book bloggers for their unintelligent content and elevated UK bloggers for being of such a higher level.

Um, fuck you.

This self-aggrandizing blogger chastised US book bloggers for reviewing books she'd never heard of, not seeking out UK books to review, for the amount of memes we may or may not use and for how loud and obnoxious we are in how we advertise our blogs; apparently, according to this blogger, UK book bloggers are all about content, not comments or followers or any of that.

Again, fuck you.

I'm American and I have lived in the UK for an extended period of time and this kind of hypocrisy really chapped my ass, even now. We are accused of being narrow-minded, unintelligent and sheltered from the rest of the world. Funny, because everyone I heard making such accusations were just as sheltered, ignorant and uninformed about how Americans really are. When I was over there (mind this was in 2006, height of Bush World so American sentiments were in the shitter) I was looked at as representing everything that was wrong with America, as if I had something to do with it, while at the same time being chastised for not knowing more about the greater world around me. Isn't that a bit contradictory?

For this particular UK book blogger, she mentioned she'd never heard of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn until very recently. So can I call her an uneducated moron for not knowing about one of our classics? Or would that just make me a brutish oaf and there the American goes again, expecting everyone to know everything about them while they know nothing about everyone else? Why does she get to sit there and accuse us of of being so closed off while she's exhibiting the same exact signs of being sheltered?

I follow a lot of book bloggers. Some of my favorites are from the UK and I've never noticed any stark differences in how anything is portrayed on their blogs. I don't even know a blog is outside of the US until they start having contests and I realize they're in Australia or England or Pakistan. I also didn't realize we're writing theses on books here either. Should everyone have a college degree before deigning to write a book blog? A lot of these blogs are maintained by teenagers and it's insulting to insinuate that they, nor anyone else, has unintelligent content because they do a few memes or their reviews don't live up to particular unwritten standards.

Any lobotomized chimp can tell you that the center of the publishing world, the WORLD, is New York City. Not London. Not Bologna. Not Stuttgart. New York City. USA. America. I'm sure that brings major chagrin to that particular UK blogger but it's true. Also, what does sell in England might not sell in America. Different tastes. US publishers also aren't willing to ship internationally when promoting ARCs. At least most of them don't. I haven't seen any that do. It doesn't make them assholes; it just makes them cost effective. Plus why would they try to promote a book across the pond when it's not even being released there? And vise versa? I've never been contacted by and UK publishers to review ARCs. Why would they? The market's completely different. Why am I going to help promote a book that the majority of my readers can't even get? Duh?

It's this nonsensical masturbatory logic that gets to me. Don't accuse us of basically being showboating idiots when you haven't even thought your argument through. Don't be so quick to judge us and pat yourself on the back as if it makes you look good. You look like a sack of shit. While I may be the boorish American that's slinging insults and swears around, I'm not as dumb as you may think I am, and neither is anyone else. My IQ's 12-fucking-6, bitch. So don't think you can insult me, or my counterparts, and get away with it. We don't judge each other over here based on country of origin. No one's any better than anyone else and we all support each other. We don't shit on each other because we think someone's somehow lesser.

I'll say it one more time: FUCK YOU.

ETA - Thanks to an anonymous comment (that has been removed due to other information posted), the link for the offending superiority blogger is here. And just an FYI, if you happen to know which blogger caused this plagiarism debacle, please don't post the name or any identifying markers. Your comment will be deleted if you do. It's just not necessary to point fingers.


Yan said...

Wow that was a pretty amazing post. I applaud you Donna :)

iluvhersheys_andbooks said...

Awesomeness!!!!!!!!! What a great post, very well said!!!!

WilowRaven said...

First off - wankery? Awesome word! Secondly - great post Donna! I read the offending post and had to stop short of commenting 'this stupid American blogger thinks you suck!' because that's all the literary skill I posses. Thank you for saying it much much better!
I'm all for friendship and oneness in the blogging community but I'm right with you on the 'fuck you' on this one.

Kari (Flamingo1325) said...

You, my dear, are the epitome of awesomeness right about now. I read that post- I was offended and ticked for the same reasons as you. Why is it up to the US bloggers to go out of their way to try to look for books we cant even get here? We aren't even taught teh same things in school as the UK bloggers- its a different culture. That doesnt set one up above the others... and if it is so hard to find UK bloggers, why were some of the first I found when I got into blogging back in Sept from the UK?

I like how direct you were with this too- no pussyfooting around. Fan. Freaking. Tastic.

Lori said...

LMAO...I swear you almost seem like Kindred to me.You sure as hell talk like me, although granted you are probably smarter than me with your 12-fucking-6 IQ. Then again, I have never been tested. But, I promise if the test was a bit pervy...I would be much higher...although you are very fond of the word Fuck. Hmm.. Great post... I don't agree with "her" post. She needs to find a quite room and read a nice american paranormal erotica novel and release some of that snobbery. That's my thought on the matter.

Life After Jane said...

Can I tell you I love you and I plan on stalking your blog without it sounding creepy and making your skin crawl? Is there a way to do that?

Amazing post. Nothing brings a tear to my eye quite like someone telling someone else to fuck off- with so much venom and perfect sentence structure.

I just wish they'd tell us who the stupid child was that was STEALING so we could show it, er love and guidance. That's it.

Lenore said...


Taschima Cullen said...

I believe me and Life After Jane are going to create T shirts and this is what is going to be in them:

"It's this nonsensical masturbatory logic that gets to me."


"Any lobotomized chimp can tell you that the center of the publishing world, the WORLD, is New York City. "

Hahaha great post, my fav by far, very honest. Thanks for supporting America girl!!!!!!!!!!!!

~Jennifer~ said...

I LOVE this post. You said everything that needed to be said and said it with intelligent venom. I'm a little in love with you right now.

barbrafl said...

Thanks for posting this :) I just had some girl message me on my goodreads account telling me that she had been caught by her teacher for copy/pasting my review of a novel. She then proceeded to tell me that she told her teacher I had told her it was okay. Luckily, the teacher asked for proof of an email and the girl actually asked me to forge an email to her telling her it was alright to copy my review. Then she thought I would feel bad for her because she said she would be expelled. Told her I hoped she would be :D

Donna said...

Thanks, everyone!

WilowRaven, wankery is actually a British colloquialism, kind of meaning asshattery. See, I'm edumacated in teh UK.

Haha, Lori! I just read one of your posts and I think we are! Maybe we should get together and ship her a box o' smut!

Life After Jane, I think you pretty much succeeded. I don't feel creeped out at all! Although I do feel eyes on the back of my head . . .

Taschima, go right ahead, so long as I get a couple freebies. :)

Jennifer, I think you and Life After Jane, and possible Taschima, should get together and start plotting.

barbrafl, what an ass! Nothing says personal responsibility like knowing you did something wrong and asking other people to help you cover it up. I hope she gets what she deserves!

Arya said...

Loved this post. I laughed my ass off and you are totally right! =)

Lauren said...

Brilliant post, Donna!

I saw that post from that blogger a couple of days ago after seeing a link to it and I have to say that I was outraged by what she had to say about American bloggers. I mean it's one thing if you think that but it's totally other thing if you than proceed to post about it. It's just outright rude and uncalled for.

Anyway, you've said pretty much what I've been thinking for the past few days, so again great post!

James said...


Having read William's post about this, this post, and your post having a massive go at William, I just wanted to ask...

How is your post any different to his?

Donna said...

Wow. I'm oh so glad I shut off commenting on the other post in order to put the issue to bed and yet here you are, ripping up the sheets.

I replied to your comment notification by email only to realize you didn't leave an email. If you want an answer email me. Otherwise, this discussion is over.

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