Sunday, March 26, 2006


In light of what's happened to Smirkin Ben, I'd just like to rush out this caveat.

Everything I've ever said here has been said before and better by, or is at least in some part derivative of, Gore Vidal, pre-9/11 Christopher Hitchens, AJP Taylor, 1970s era MAD Magazine, The Simpsons, The Onion, Chomsky, Sidney Blumenthal, Hobsbawm, Domhoff, The Adamses, Mark Twain, H.R. Shapiro... and that's just a short list.

Was it Cicero who said there's nothing new under the sun? Whoever said it, it's true. But then as Vidal said in so many words (I don't have the direct quote here -- SORRY) words (specifically arranged; i.e. "style") are the property of writers but ideas are the property of all. In other words, you can't really plagiarise an idea or a concept.

There was an excellent defense of plagiarism written by Hitchens before he joined the dark side. I'd copy it out now (with thorough attribution!) if I had access to the book. If you can find it, read it.

Again, it's a shame that that's what it took to get rid of the awful Ben.