Thursday, January 20, 2005

Answering Several Points

"Plagiarism is a form of fraud." -Hamilton College.

I invite people to read the examples listed below, from the Feshbach book and from Harper's, and tell me if they just really happened to come, by coincidence, purely from a common source. Quite a lot of coincidences! (For anyone who really believes that, I have some beachfront property on Detroit's Zug Island I'd like to sell you.) Why obfuscate? Why the rationalizations and sophistry? Why are the examples so similar? Did they come from a common source? What was that source, then? (Maybe Feshbach plagiarized also!) Did they just happen to hear the same jokes? (Must've stood on the same Moscow streetcorner.) Yep, Bissell heard jokes-- which happen to be just the same ones given in the Feshbach book. Nothing unusual about this at all!

Can't we look at the examples, and their similarities (which would be considered plagiarism by almost every American university) and accept the simple truth that Bissell had the Feshbach book in front of him as he was writing his essay? Why is this so hard to acknowledge for some people?

(Look carefully at the first example also, and decide what we do about that.)

Two points:

1.) We're talking about the original Harper's article, in which Bissell did not cite the Feshbach source. (I'll check to see if he did for the hardcover edition. I believe not. That he DID for the paperback version, after this matter was introduced a year ago, seems to indicate that Bissell knows he goofed.)

Harper's is at question here, from an apparent pattern of literary misdeeds, which I've been discussing on this blog. An a pattern of failing to correct or acknowledge them. To add to this, we now have the question of another example of plagiarism (alleged) from the David DeKok book, Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire. Mr. DeKok tells me that one passage was lifted in its entirety, a dozen or so others lightly rewritten, for the Feb 2004 Harper's article by Jeff Tietz. The ULA will be looking into this matter. (Someone has to! I really don't think Maud will.)

2.) Yes, Tom Bissell wrote an essay about the Underground Literary Alliance for The Believer magazine-- and did a very sloppy job, as we pointed out on our site. Alarm bells went up then for us about the guy. Bissell did no interviews and hardly any research, other than a cursory look at our fansite, and e-mailing a list of superficial questions by e-mail to one of our members-- the answers which he scantly referred to. No follow-up questions; no clarifications asked for. No facts checked. As a result, he got very much wrong. Yet this is the guy every one is referring to as "a fine journalist" (Mark Sarvas). Tom Bissell is anything but, and we've well documented that fact.

Finally, do I think Maud Newton is an apologist for the status quo lit-world? Absolutely. To come to that conclusion, all one has to do is read her site.

More later.


King said...

For those who are interested, my remarks about Bissell's Believer article are still up at the fan site, on the Essays page. I hope that all apologists for Mr. Bissell and his handlers will check it out.
p.s. Does the ULA have an agenda? Of course. And we don't hide from acknowledging it, on this blog and all over our fan site. Our opponents, on the other hand, have trouble acknowledging THEIR agendas. (They could put a little note next to their blogs, "The First Place to Find the Latest Apologies for the Literary Establishment." I look forward to that kind of truth-in-advertising.)
Face it: These people represent the corrupt past-- why the state of literature has so declined in the culture; why it reaches a dwindling (but increasingly precious) number of people.
We want to clean out the house and start anew.

King said...

Anyone who doesn't think the mob of "demi-puppets" doesn't have the power to get members of that sheepherd to conform, should look at Galley Cat's before-and-after remarks about this matter. First she gives her honest, direct opinion that what Bissell did-- in all the examples-- is wrong. The next day, suddenly she's been "corrected" into the proper attitude to have. What gives? Her original remarks are crossed out! (Who's behaving like the Soviets now?)
I invite Galley Cat to read my remarks about Bissell's essay, on the ULA site, since today she said I should have addressed this issue. I did, Galley Cat; I did!
Re: Soviet behavior. It should be pointed out that the ULA is a group of writers and others who are completely without power in this society. Most of us are flat broke. ALL WE HAVE is our voices-- and yes, sometimes we have to raise them to be heard-- or, after having this matter ignored for a long time, point out those who had their heads in the sand about it, all because Mr. Bissell is such a wonderful person (albeit a disaster as a journalist).
Who are the real apparatchiks, and who the rebels? Who are part of the current bureaucratized system? Isn't it Bissell and his friends Eggers, Moody, Birkerts, Liam Rector, and Company? It's certainly not us!
Democracy-- yes, that's what we're about. Those who inhabit the current system, or want to, don't seem to know the meaning of that word.

King said...

p.s. You can get to Galley Cat's before-and-after remarks at Maud's site, if you scroll down far enough. By tomorrow they may have been crossed out or rewritten yet again, depending upon the changing lit-blog political climate.

Anonymous said...

TMFTML speaks for many:

“Finally, do I think Maud Newton is an apologist for the status quo lit-world? Absolutely. To come to that conclusion, all one has to do is read her site.”

We've been tempted to ignore the recent insane ramblings of King Wenclas concerning what he refers to as "Bissellgate" (and the rest of the world refers to as “Huh?”) for the same reason that when we see a lunatic screaming on the sidewalk and waving his arms in a threatening manner, we cross the street. Unfortunately, even a paranoid schizophrenic is occasionally correct, and with the above-quoted statement, he has hit that particular nail on it's tiny Miamian head. But there's more, and in the interests of fairness, we feel obliged to point it out here:

• In addition to being an apologist for the status quo lit-world, Maud Newton is an apologist for the Holocaust, Slobodan Milosevic, and the 1998 Robin Williams vehicle Patch Adams.

• Although she is not herself Jewish, Maud Newton enjoys drinking the blood of Christian babies.

• Maud Newton indirectly funds terrorists through the massive amount of cocaine she consumes to stay awake until 3 A.M. blogging. She also funds terrorists directly, donating 10% of her annual salary to Al-Qaeda and holding bake sales for the I.R.A. The cookies she sells at these bake sales actually come from the store.

• On more than one occasion, authors asking Maud to mention their readings on her site have been forced to “Polish The Newton” for linkage.

• Maud Newton is actually 6'4”. She pretends to be short “because it's more evil.”

• Maud Newton once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, then shot another one because she didn't think the first one “gave a compelling performance.”

• In 1982, Maud Newton overhauled the Alternative Minimum Tax, calculating the new AMT at a 20-percent rate less an exemption based on the taxpayer's filing status. Similar to current law, AMT was due only to the extent that it exceeded an individual's regular tax. Maud ensured that the AMT was not indexed to inflation, thus setting into motion her plan to tax every man, woman, and child into penury.

• When a friend displeases her, Maud forces that friend to sit through her karaoke rendition of Wham's “Everything She Wants.”

• Maud Newton created the Hardee's Monster Thickburger™. She frequently roams the streets with a bag full of them, which she uses to taunt diabetics and the homeless.

• Maud Newton claims that the Fox News Channel “really is fair and balanced.”

• Maud Newton caused the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia.

• Maud Newton hates babies, puppies, and The Pope.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We'd tell you more, but we've got to go attend a karaoke performance. Pray for us.


Noah Cicero said...

I've just read all the blogs that have bitched about the ULA showing concrete evidence of Tom Bissell plagiarizing another person's work. Their only rebuttel is that Tom Bissell wrote a botched article about The ULA in The Believer which has nothing to do with the point of the argument. The point of this arguement is that Tom Bissel is a bad writer, has no talent, writes botched articles, and is lazy when gathering information.
In the article against The ULA he didn't gather remotely enough information he needed to write the article, he contradicted himself constantly, he called Jack London a bad writer which is just fucking botched and elitist. Tom Bissell is getting attacked again by The ULA because he is a repeat offender, his crimes against literature are adding up and this is direct evidence of it. You remind of a bunch of creationists holding dinosaur bones saying, "You are just mad because we won't let gays marry." That is how nonsensical it is.(Important: I am not calling you creationists, it is a metaphor for your behavior shown through a different medium of human behavior, you seem to have problems understanding that. I am not calling you racist, but just saying that your behaviors resemble their behavior aimed at a different social section of society. That the demi-puppets are reactionary in nature.)
One of the puppets attacked The ULA for not being a democracy, this blog allowes visitor some of them don't. Wenclas is giving all you a chance to contradict The ULA, he is allowing you to show The ULA members themselves how wrong they are, but all you have come up with is the "stylized comment."
You people remind me of Bill OReilly how you call go around the point and call names so much you hope to confuse and tire the audience so they will give up and stop listening. And psychologically you are terrified of the point, because you are the point, and if you accepted the point of this argument you would have to admit to yourself how botched you are yourselves.
You keep applying your own love of division and segregation to the ULA, the ULA has zinesters, novelists, eziners, press owners, zen and existential writers, the age gap from the oldest to youngest member is like forty years, punks and people who like classic rock, hippies, professors and the uneducated, men and women, black and white. What is the Demi-Puppet democracy: fifteen rich white men in their thirties that have all graduated from the same four universities.

Anonymous said...

'Finally, do I think Maud Newton is an apologist for the status quo lit-world? Absolutely.'

Oh and you're not maintaining the status quo. Another bunch of revolutionary minded, white males, fighting for truth, justice, and *yawn*. I hope you grow up someday.

Noah Cicero said...

There is a HUGE difference between fifteen RICH white men and thirty white TRASH people. The difference between the people of the ULA and the demi-puppets. Is that a ULA member can do a kick ass job at mowing the lawn, and the demi-puppet can do a kick ass job at uncorking a bottle of wine.
And still, like a racist or a nationalist you have to make jokes about what you fear instead of facing the fact of your own botched life and worldview.

gwenda said...

Just so you know, King, it looks kind of nutty when you post three comments to your own post before anyone else weighs in. There's this whole edit/update/new post thing you might want to look into.

Just so no one gets the wrong idea.

Anonymous said...

As a publishing fat cat I’d like to weigh in. You’re right, Wenclas. Here in the dark furnaces of establishment literature we spend our days working out the best possible way to keep you lawn-mowing class-warriors in your place. We do this for the simple reason that if your words were to reach the masses they might ignite a fire in every Barnes and Noble across the land. Each day I thank the creator that there’s no better way to distribute ideas across the ether then the vast iron railways of distribution we publishers have held on to since the dawn of capitalism. If the technology existed to put the brilliant work of the ULA where all could find them - - a vast library staffed by telegraph operators? An electo-magnetic stone that projected words onto paper? -- the whole edifice of our DEMI-CLASS Literature culture would come tumbling down. We meet thrice weekly and pore over the news from the continent to make sure such a Universal Publishing Machine is never invented. And also to smoke Macanudos and show off our wine opening technique. Occasionally Maud Newton stops by and we kill few puppies. Nothing serious.

I’ll retreat now back to my office. There’s a coal miner’s neck needs stepping on.

Adam Hardin said...

Here is something from Maud: Brigid Hughes is stepping down from the Paris Review.

A ten person board will makes changes, and is pushing for more non-fiction to bolster the magazine. Why? Because people don't want to read the Iowa MFA workshopped shit that the Paris Reviews almost exclusively publishes, as well as the bad poetry.

4 out of five short-story writers for the current issue are Iowa Grads.

Congrats, Iowa, you're fucking killing off more readers of fiction than I thought was possible. Soon there will be more MFA grads than actual readers.

The market place will change because economics will force it to change. If you want to revive Literary Fiction, you better look everywhere, and not just in some pig-shit cornfield.

On a brighter note, Maud has pretty eyes.

King said...

To Mitch Miller the publishing fatcat:
If you and your writers can't reach us, how will you ever reach the American public?
We ARE that public!

King said...

To the popfactor guy:
Very amusing. I wondered when the Scarlet Pimpernel, defender of the aristocrats, would be heard from. There he is, foppishly waving his silk handkerchief around. Take that! And that!
Ouch! Next he'll attack us with his powderpuff!
So witty! So entertaining at salons and soirees!
"He's here. He's there. He's everywhere. The Scarlet Pimpernel!"
(Maud can play Merle Oberon to the Puff's Leslie Howard.)

Anonymous said...

King. You’re absolutely right. We know very well that the public is out there, faces pressed to the glass like zombies, longing for the great Lawn Mowing Novel. We've run the numbers, King. We know that were we to actually publish the literature you espouse the public would tear themselves away from their lohan nip-slips and ham-burgers, and crowd the streets calling for our heads. This is exactly why we continue to publish Rick Moody and why we let those kids at the Believer play at their progressive politics. The dull torpor our literature creates keeps the people docile and bovine. Oh sure, every now and then a young child sticks his head up briefly and asks, “where’s the literature that speaks to my experience, why must I spend my days playing grand theft auto and masturbating when I could have my face buried in a rich, earthy tome of working man’s fiction?” But then they visit the bookshop and are confronted with Franzen. Of course they never return. Franzen is our two-by-four nailed to the door, Wenclas. Don't you get it? We worked it out to do that.
Fat Cat

Adam Hardin said...

Rick Moody is an utterly mediocre writer. Dave Eggers is even worse. Heidi Julavits, T.C. Boyle, Aimee Bender, Michael Cunningham, David Guterson, Jennifer Haigh, Vendela Vida.... The point is that American Literature is dead because you are boring and dumb. You are not Hemingway and not Faulkner and not Nabokov and not Tolstoy and not Kafka. You write poorly for yourselves. That is the point. And you are losing readers, killing them off, because readers do not want to read your dull and dumb books.

Anonymous said...

" Another bunch of revolutionary minded, white males, fighting for truth, justice, and *yawn*. I hope you grow up someday."

Thank you for sharing, you racist misandrist asshole.

Tim Hall