Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is St. Paul the Same as the Plagiarizing Travel Writer?

With so many examples of people lying in their books these days, sometimes purposefully for later book deals and all of the lying about everything: Do Morals Matter?

James Frey “A Million Little Pieces” wasn’t as addicted to drugs as he claimed. Thomas Kohnstamm “Lonely Planet: Colombia” never actually went to Colombia. Margaret B. Jones “Love and Consequences” was never a Native American gang member. Kaavya Viswanathan “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life” never got kissed, never got wild and never got a life. At least not in her own words. And Jayson Blair of the “New York Times” plagiarized and outright made things up.

A lying journalist, of course, is far worse than a lying novelist. You’re not getting your news from a novel but it is oh so very similar. Is the one lie of the department in which the novel should sit, as bad as the lies covering 600 newspaper articles? Certainly plagiarizing for one’s own profit we know is wrong but is an incorrect category a big deal? Just as big of a deal as “reality” TV. That’s a nice lie that we are all aware of. It took us less time to realize this than it did for us to figure out the prior to the fact choreography of professional wrestling, the lip syncing of Milli Vanilli and the Karl Roving of George Bush.

At least we can all pad our resumes with an “unauthorized” sex tape. Do we still believe the words “unauthorized”? It’s part of the craigslist job description of requirements for getting your own reality show.


No experience preferred.

Must have a famous relative.

An unauthorized sex tape is not absolutely necessary but it is helpful.

Please include a photo along with links to your most recent tabloid appearances.

Anyone with an actual reason for being famous need not apply.

And no one has a problem with it… outside of Rob Lowe who can’t catch a break for some reason. He did the underage sex tape before anyone else, causing him to take a few years to recover his career. And now he’s in trouble for sexual advances towards the nanny. If you’d just marry her or impregnate her you wouldn’t be in this situation. She’d have received her money through one of those two means and you’d be done with it.

Maybe it’s the lack of morals that matters. I don’t mean Puritanical religious “morals,” like you’ll go to heaven if you wear long sleeves and a bouffant hairstyle. But just the idea of: why not just say that a book is fiction? I know, there’s more cache to “based on a true story” but now this will be the way to sell books. Tell them that it’s non-fiction then tell them that it’s fiction. So really, people are mad for being lied to about the section within which a book should be housed. We’re angry that the book is less than based on a true story. What percentage of “based on” is okay?

So is St. Paul the same as the Plagiarizing Travel Writer?

                TRAVEL WRITER                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

“They didn’t pay me enough [to go to
Colombia. So] I got the information
from a chick I was
dating -- an intern
in the Colombian Consulate.”

                ST. PAUL

(to Oprah)
Well, I wasn’t actually born by the
time Christ was crucified. This chick
I was dating knew a dude
whose Uncle
was there. So I just wrote down what

he said.

Seems more like a time honored tradition than a modern ailment. So not having morals is really the most admirable or at least most entertaining way to live your life. The Bible is an all time best seller. Therefore, I say that St. Paul is the same as the Plagiarizing Travel Writer but on a much larger scale.

Were past writers who wrote down ancient tales like: "Well, when you go to press if you're gonna put down an author, then you may as well put my name since I did put the quill to paper."

No, morals don't matter. They get in the way of the pursuit of happiness. Have a Merry Girls Gone Wild Day. Did you get me anything?

My sacrilegious stop animation can be seen here:

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