It’s been a long time since I did a Plagiarism Watch, but this story is an excuse to download the accompanying prurient image. The New York Press, a weekly alternative newspaper that is the lamer rival to the famed Village Voice had to fire it’s latest sex advice columnist. It seems that instead of soliciting letters from hapless folk on the web that seem only too eager to air dirty linen, she stole old letters from Dan Savage’s "Savage Love" column. If you are going to steal, be a little more discrete. This is like submitting a John Updike story to the New Yorker. You are going to get caught. See if you can notice the similarities (and see Jezebel for longer quotes):
|New York Press, 2007|
I'm beginning to be weirded out by her relationship with her brother. They're always touching in each other. Then, one day, I come home and my girlfriend is in her brother's arms on the couch. As soon as I walked in the door, they jumped up, and I saw a clear view of the outline of his boner. They both looked guilty.
|Dan Savage in 2006|
Two weeks ago I came home and found my girlfriend in her brother's arms on the couch. They freaked at my sudden arrival and jumped up, providing me with a clear view of the outline of the boner in his pants. Guilt was on their faces.
She has told us she was unaware that using questions from Savage's column was a breach of journalism ethics. She has offered her resignation, and we've accepted it. We apologize to our readers, and to Dan Savage, for this error in judgment.In his podcast, Savage Lovecast, Dan has said that one of the most common questions he gets is “How do I get your job?” His answer is to not bother. There is only one of him and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Out of context that sounds incredibly arrogant, but the germ of truth is that the alt-weekly sex column niche is pretty narrow and if you are going to compete with the market leader, you need to find a better gimmick than just rewriting letters about siblings that are a little too close and the sterility of urine. Dan has officially stayed classy, but he can afford to. In an e-mail to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he says it doesn't quite rise to the level of plagiarism:
"I don't think she did this on purpose," Savage wrote in an e-mail Thursday. "The borrowing was an accident, not malicious, and doesn't rise to the level of plagiarism, in my opinion. She could've avoided this ... if she'd said, 'I don't have any letters yet, so here are some I swiped from 'Savage Love.'' And I would've given her my permission to use 'em."Now the Press is taking open auditions for their smut advice writer. If I knew it was that easy, I would have gotten into the sex columnist business. Any questions?