Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Harper's Stonewalling

Interested readers of this blog have been sending me examples of policies regarding plagiarism that publications like the Seattle Times have been laying down. But that won't solve the plagiarism problems at Harper's until they establish some kind of policy. Given that Harper's is a closed world run by dictatorial fiat, this isn't likely to happen.

Lewis Lapham became Dictator-for-Life 28 years ago (before many ULAers were born, and when Bissell and Eggers were in diapers). He seems more insulated from a real world this blue-blood never knew much about to start with. Now he hides in his office immune from criticism, papers brought in to sign by designated successor Roger D. Hodge, Andropov to his Brezhnev. These are smug bureaucratized individuals unlikely to change.

It's been argued on these threads that staffers at Harper's are paid stooges with no stake in their jobs or the publication-- not even a moral stake-- and that their sweat equity counts for nothing. Obviously, they keep their mouths shut and wait for the next directive from the Boss and his henchman. (For all we know Lapham has already passed on, and Hodge plays the old "talking through a half-open doorway at someone who's not there" ploy.)

Regardless, the way the magazine is run is a stark contrast with the ULA, where we want everyone who joins to have a stake in the organization. Indeed, the ULA belongs to all free writers-- they just don't all know it yet.

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