Tuesday, January 08, 2008

ZOMG! Glee!! (Uh, I mean, outrage.)

Holy guacamole and hallowed salsa, I am riveted by the discussion that currently bursts like an algal bloom over at the Smart Bitches Who Read Trashy Books website (a great place, by the way; I may not read romance novels, but I read the Smart Bitches daily.)

Passages in five books by Cassie Edwards (who has published over a hundred novels) were found to have "eerie similarities" to passages from a variety of reference books. You can read the comparisons for yourself here, here, here, here and here. The Bitches are not overtly calling it plagiarism, but in my opinion, it very obviously is. It's certainly as bad as the plagiarism Kaayva Viswanathan was caught at.

The comments are getting repetitive now ("ZOMG! Outrage!!") but the first three posts in particular had some juicy discussion, partly thanks to two famous authors jumping in to voice their opinions. In offensively simplified terms, the debate went as follows:

The Bitchery: ZOMG! Shock! Horror! Outrage! And glee! Lots and lots of smug glee! All hail the Smart Bitches, and let's hear some more cowbell from that jug band.
Jennifer Crusie: Geez, Smart Bitches, what's with the vendetta against Cassie Edwards? This isn't the first time you've mentioned her, after all.
The Bitchery: *scuffs toe* Um. Yeah. So while it's true the Smart Bitches have a long-standing hatred of Cassie Edwards' terrible writing, not to mention her insulting portrayal of Native Americans as noble savages, all the same: ZOMG! Plagiarism! Outrage! Furtive glee.
Random Fangirl: U r all mean n stupid
The Bitchery: *laughs*
Nora Roberts: Plagiarism = bad. It happened to me, folks.
Jennifer Crusie: Yes, plagiarism = bad, but vendetta = bad also. I'm just sayin'.
The Bitchery: *hides the pitchforks they were carrying* Plagiarism is the issue. How and by whom the plagiarism was discovered is irrelevant. *whistles innocently*

Any comments, o gentle readers? I find it a bit too easy to be morally outraged over the sins of someone I'm jealous of (over a hundred novels published? *wistful sigh*), but theft is theft.

I actually felt sorry for Kaayva Viswanathan, who got hung out to dry for her plagiarism; she seemed like a kid who tried to swallow a whale and unsurprisingly choked on it. However, you just can't make the same argument for someone with a hundred-novel career under her belt. This not a case of a person cracking under the strain; it's a case of one author choosing to plagiarize repeatedly and persistently.

† Ripped off from Dickens, I think. Gotta give credit where it's due or the Bitches will come after you.

Edit: Oddly, as of 11:30 PM, a bunch of the comments appear to have disappeared, including the really snarky Crusie comment. Perhaps it's a glitch of the SB's overloaded server. Perhaps it's a prudent legal move. Or perhaps, it's a conspiracy.

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