s skippy the bush kangaroo: who needs original thinking when you're joel stein?

skippy the bush kangaroo

Sunday, November 04, 2007

who needs original thinking when you're joel stein?

patterico's pontifications (who graciously links to us, as we are tangentially involved in this brewing journamalistic scandal) points out that joel stein, big-time latimes op-ed writer, was a little bit sticky-fingered when it came to premises for his column this last week:

here’s joel stein, november 2:

just how easy is it for coulter to offend someone? would any words from her mouth do the trick? to test this theory, i developed the ann coulter mad libs.™
it’s a good thing he used that ™ mark. he wouldn’t want anyone to steal his concept.

oh, look! here’s media bloodhound, october 18 (two weeks earlier):

in honor of ann coulter’s influence on american media and politics, the penguin group (usa), in a joint venture with ms. coulter’s random house publisher, the crown publishing group, is releasing a special edition of mad libs titled ann libs.
readers of this space will remember our linkage to mediabloodhound's original piece in mid-october, which we thought was pretty amusing (the piece, not the middle of october).

and apparently joel stein found it amusing, too. amusing enough to appropriate, and take complete credit for, as his own.

we suppose that this, in and of itself, is not enough to topple stein from his job, a la dommie darko at the washpost. but we would hope that it does at least give stein a black enough of an eye to have to apologize and admit in print that mediabloodhound was the one who "developed" ann coulter mad libs.

why not help out by emailing the latimes editors, their readers' representative, and/or joel stein, and pointing out this obvious bit of literary thievery?

addendum: our buddy morse of the republic of sestakastan, writes a terse email to us:

time for a blogger ethics panel.
we couldn't agree more.

double addendum: as newshoggers points out, the erudite shakesville has been doing conservative madlibs for a year or so, including this post done on the same day as media bloodhound's entry.

shameless self-promoting triple addendum: and while you're at it, why not stop by the 2007 weblog awards and vote for skippy?

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posted by skippy at 9:04 AM |


skippy, this may not be a clear cut case of appropriation. sometimes people just have the same idea.
commented by Anonymous whig, 12:44 AM PDT  
two weeks apart?

nothing that coulter said recently lent itself to madlibs. it took quite an imaginative stretch to apply that old 70's game to her specifically.

and when was the last time you saw a mad libs parody? the 70's?

if it was a matter of two people using britney spears or survivor or american idol to parody coulter, sure, ok. but mad libs is not on the tip of everyone's pop cultural tongues in the 21st century.

as patterico points out that media bloodhound points out, mbh's piece got big play on raw story for a few days.
commented by Blogger skippy, 1:03 AM PDT  
That's the problem when big media gets paid to get a column out compared to those of us who blog for free. The pressure of a deadline temps some to get their next big idea from somewhere other then themselves. I don't know if this is a case of theft or coincidence but the timing is interesting.

I think the "TM" was to protect himself from getting sued by the publishers of Mad Libs (TM), not to prevent copying his material.
commented by Blogger Knight of Pan, 9:42 AM PST  
and when was the last time you saw a mad libs parody? the 70's?

I saw one on a Simpsons rerun recently.

(the one where Bart goes to a shrink while Homer waits in a Chinese restaurant next door)
commented by Blogger The Kenosha Kid, 10:09 AM PST  
point taken, kenosha kid! you are correct!
commented by Blogger skippy, 10:55 AM PST  
Mad magazine has also been doing Mad Libs for years. It's possible Stein came up with this himself, but I do have to wonder.
commented by Blogger Batocchio, 12:10 PM PST  
The same idea. Yeah, that sounds plausable.

Well, not really. Agree with Skippy; I smell something and it ain't sweet.

The smell I mean.
whig said...
skippy, this may not be a clear cut case of appropriation. sometimes people just have the same idea.
12:44 AM PDT

Yeah, I thought of that because I, along with one or two of my unruly blogmates, will often think of an idea within a reasonable period of time - a minute to a day of each other - of each other.

I've thought of something, blogged on something, and the same idea/story line turns up at firedoglake.

The thing I thought odd, the TM™ - why the need for that?
commented by Blogger Wordsmith, 4:11 PM PST  
I was thinking about dropping by the Best Buy store and casting a few votes on the different machines there before hopping over to the Office Depot two doors down. But that would be wrong. So I won't. So, if your vote totals suddenly spike by about 200 it wasn't me, who had nothing better to do today and was within driving distance of 5 Office Depots, 4 Office Maxs, 3 Best Buys, 4 Staples, and 3 Costcos.
commented by Blogger Randy Rogers, 7:43 AM PST  
"hope that it does at least give stein a black enough of an eye"---no way, how can you tell? So Goth. tm
commented by Anonymous mandt, 1:30 PM PST  

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