Can you leave a comment here? 

Or not?

It's testing, testing, testing time, here at the ol' Improv. So test.

Justice is Served? 

The thief in the last post is gone. The only thing I can still seem to Google is the stolen Three-Toed Sloth post in a Google cache, and I kind of wonder whether my initially linking it is what preserved it at all. I'm not sure how somebody's weblog—even their fraudulent weblog—can be so utterly demolished in such a short time. Perhaps it was taken down by the poster? By Blogger? But what got it out of Google's reach? And why is it not in the Wayback Machine? I thought I would archive the cached pages for posterity but was too late somehow, I guess.

I don't know whether there's some moral being pointed here.


Plagiarism's Rules, or, Plagiarism Doesn't Rule 

When I was in my early twenties my little sister, then in her late teens, decided to swipe an untidy pile of digital copies of my journals, fiction, notes, letters, and suchlike late-twenties ephemera, and to appropriate said ephemera as if it were her own. She sort of aped my representation of my life. There was some measure of respect in her theft, I supposed then and suppose now, but the effrontery of the act and its bizarre existential dimensions . . . I was livid. The episode galvanized a sense in me of who I am and what about who I am must remain mine.

A few days ago I read Malcolm Gladwell's recent New Yorker piece about the way a profile he wrote for the magazine was transmogrified by a playwright into her play. The subject of the profile had also undergone somewhat wholesale incorporation into the play, and the subject was . . . livid, I guess isn't too strong a word. She felt her life had been stolen and changed and violated.

I probably wouldn't be writing about this now if I hadn't just seen this post at Three-Toed Sloth linking to Gladwell's essay, and commenting that another blogger had bodily stolen a post from Three-Toed Sloth and posted it as original.

Even that theft wouldn't have prompted me to say anything, probably, if I hadn't gone ahead to the front page of the malefactor's weblog and read:

"This site has never purported to be a journal or a diary, or really anything more than a public place where I chose to share some bits of my life with people who are interested in reading them. But it's all been very controlled, and I've been very aware of my audience -- from grandparents to potential bosses to strangers -- since its inception. And so most of what I think and I do goes unsaid on this site, which for the most part is OK, except that when I look back on prior entries, sometimes I wish I had a better sense of what was really happening between the lines."

This recent megnut post hit close to home: reading through my older archives, I'm struck by how different my weblog was a few years ago. I didn't really worry about whether or not everyone I'd ever met might be reading it (mostly because few people I knew actually did), and I felt pretty comfortable just yammering on about all the little things that went on in a given day or posting some miscellaneous piece of information I found interesting or useful. It was probably boring as anytthing for people who were reading it back then, but for me it's nice because I can really remember now what my life was like during any given month of it.

Reading through my archives for the past couple of years, though. . .

the substance of which, well, no, the whole of which is lifted directly from Emma Story's weblog.

Whoever this blogger called "Tristan Story" is, after a tour of the posts it's pretty clear the substance of the site is stolen. The first post—"All reset. Return."—may not be stolen, but Googling gives a fanfic post first, which is suspicious, as it turns out, since a later post dealing with fan fiction doesn't turn up on Google at all. I'm not sure where it's cribbed from. Post number two is a Henry Miller collage from Tropic of Cancer, unattributed; in fact, claimed as original ("a brief account of my life"). The Grand Theftendo post is ripped off from The Null Device, as are the election-night musings. (I think the thing about the cat sneezing is from Emma, too, although since her site's recent archives are wonky I'm not finding it: I feel I've read it before, though.) My Golden Years is ripped off from The Sneeze. The Polar Express review is stolen from Michael Schaub at Bookslut. And then we're back to Three-Toed Sloth, then Johnny Truant, apparently a character from the novel House of Leaves, but the quoted text is from a song that writer cowrote.

And we're at the current front page, stolen from Emma. "Tristan" may even have stolen Emma's name, for Chrissake!

A couple of days ago I wrote a poem that spun off from Louis Menand's line, "You cannot taste a work of prose." It opens an essay he wrote about writers' voices, and it rang true to me, and gave me a line to follow it, and I followed them and finished a brief poem. (Oh, what the hell.)

You cannot taste a work of prose.
You cannot taste a poem.
You cannot smell a question mark.
Line up your points
But do not expect answers to the questions
Except in passing
And do not let order fool you.

(Also, it's sort of funny and sort of pedantic and sort of indicative of my cast of mind, that I recognized Menand's essay's origins in an earlier review he wrote of Lynn Truss's book Eats, Shoots & Leaves for The New Yorker, then called "Bad Comma," later adapted to introduce The Best American Essays 2004.)

I do not feel at all bad about having used Louis Menand's line in a poem, but I feel affronted on behalf of everybody "Tristan Story" has gouged by way of the weblog echoing them unacknowledged. This is Google-ready stuff to let 'em know somebody cares, I guess.

I'm not sure what else it is, except pissed.


Obscure pleasures 

I get a weird sense of pleasure from having had somebody in my regular attention whom few other people seem to know, then seeing many other people discover them for whatever reason. The present example is Three-Toed Sloth, whose work has come to widespread public attention in the form of those awesome cartograms seen all over the net lately. Maybe this is how indie rock people feel about their out-of-the-way bands.


A notion I didn't write down last night, which I was thinking I'd call «"Bleeding Media,"» in which I would note examples such as the appearance of R. Stevens' Diesel Sweeties "I Am Ten Ninjas" t-shirt in the pages of a recent G.I. Joe comic.


Like Hello World, kinda. 

This is an ecto-driven post. I'm trying to see how it works. It's like "Hello world," kinda.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?