This will probably get me into a LOT of trouble. A LOT. I'll probably regret it. But everyone in the industry is talking about it, along with many, many blog travelers. This thing has grown so huge, it made national news, and even roofers are asking me about it. Huh. Some of my friends and readers are confused about what's going on and the story is too long for me to keep repeating, and directing them onto the net only invites more confusion, and they come back to ask me even more questions.
Finally, I don't want to end up with some kind of off-handed one-note reply due to overtaxation of repetitive telling. This is what I call brain plaque.
What's brain plaque? Well. If someone in your family has a major knee surgery and has to be on crutches and wearing a knee brace for six weeks, you'll understand. Brain plaque is when you hear the same story of "what happened to your knee?" being told to friends and strangers over and over and over while you politely stand there holding the teacup, the bag, whatever that you're helping the poor invalid to carry to his truck WHILE YOU ARE RUNNING LATE AND NEEDING TO GET SOMEWHERE and you're too damn nice to cut into the middle of the sympathy-fest.
But I digress. I was going to plunge onto the sword, get myself into trouble, make lots of fangrrrls burn effigies of me. Or draw cartoons of me making fun of the name my non-English speaking mom gave me and even the country I'm from. Oh, I've seen those cartoons; I know they're out there.
Sheesh. I must be a coward. I'm going off topic again.
Okay, this is for those of you who have been asking me, "What's going on with the Cassie Edwards plagiarism thing in the papers and news? I'm confused. Is Nora Roberts suing Cassie Edwards for plagiarism? I didn't know Nora Roberts write historicals!"
Yes, news get thwarted and blogs spread wrong information and just a little tweak can lead to lots of misunderstanding about the facts.
Okay, events are as followed, based upon my faulty memory (WARNING: much use of the !!!!!! to denote urgency/loudness/agitation/fervent adulation of characters and state of minds):
Place: Romancelandia, a magick kingdom on the Internetz, a virtual world where minds communicate
Time: A week ago
Cast of characters:
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, a romance review site
Chorus (Usually a bunch of voices on stage singing the role of the Fates)
Google (the Oracle of Romancelandia, invoked to give information, some of which are a bit weird. Like Goatzse, for example, which is NOT part of this story)
Bloggers and their grandmas
Jenny Crusie, a Big Author, with followers called Cherries
Diana Gabaldon, a Big Author, with followers called the Ladies of Lallybroch
Nora Roberts, known as La Nora, a Big Author. Her followers chant WWND (What would Nora do?) La Nora is also known as the Voice of Romance.
RWA, Romance Writers of America, a powerful guild of 9000
Mrs. Giggles, ancient romance reviewer who has journeyed to and earned a seat in the Westlands of Powerful Voices
Black-footed ferret, one of the noted research subjects taken from the text, here symbolizing...something profound, like a B Sci-fi horror movie.
(Blue skies. Distant thunder rumbled.)
(If you are reading aloud, you have to start soft and get to the top of your voice later....)
(A large stage. Very large. Only a few people on it right now. You have to imagine more and more people filling this stage as events rush to a climax.)
1) Smart Bitches explained that they sent examples of good and bad romances to a non-romance reading friend. One of CE's books was in the "bad" romance pile. "Dude, read these and be one of us!"
2. Friend started reading. The language and style of those odd Edwards passages that sound like an encyclopaedia-in-weird-noblesavage-talk seemed odd to her. "Dude, lemme Google some of these passages."
3. Chorus : "Oh Nos! Passages were direct transcription of out-of-print and out-of-copyright research books on Indian and wildlife cultures!"
(Rumbling of thunder more distinctive)
4. Smart Bitches called upon Google for the truth about other passages from other books.
Chorus: "Oh Nos!! More direct transcriptions from other important research books, some still in copyright!"
Smart Bitches: "Ding, ding, ding! Plagiarism, everyone!"
(A clap of thunder) (Sounds of feet thumping backstage)
5. 1,001 bloggers and their grandmas expressed horror!! Links to the SB blog brought major SB enemies and haters into the fold. Hate ensued!
Chorus (mezzo-loud): "Hate plagiarism! Hate SBs! Hate mean girls! Hate, hate, hate!"
6. Jenny Crusie posted on SB board: "Did Cassie Edwards run over your dog?"
7. Chorus (louder): "Oh Noes!!! 1,000,001 posters and their grandmas dissected Jenny Crusie's comment." Hate ensued. "Hate plagiarism! Hate JC!! Hate mean girls! Hate, hate, hate!!"
(People on stage running around, holding their heads) (thunder rumbling away merrily) (drizzling)
8. Meanwhile, SB sent their finds to CE's publisher, Signet. Signet sent back snotty letter: "Yo, iz cool. Romance books aren't like academia, you know. We stand by our author, CE."
(Lightning struck. Some of those on stage fall down, clutching their blackened heads)
9. Chorus (screaming): "Oh Noesssssss!!!" 5,000,0001 posters (yes, and their grandmas!) rose up from the darkness in horror, their voices bursting against the seam of bandwidth: "Dissing us????! Did they say romance readers are stupid????! Don't they know what plagiarism is????" Hate! Hate Signet! Let's boycott Signet!!!!
(Rrrrroooooooaaaar of apppproval!!!!!) (Stamping of feet!!!!!!!)
(A lone Signet author chimed in: Umm...who are you punishing again?)
10. Diana Gabaldon posted somewhere that it was okay to lift words from out-of-copyright public domain works and not cite.
Chorus (Screeching): "Oh noooooooes!!!!!!! De Diana Gabaldon?!!!!!!!" Many ///headdesking ensued. Very Loud Sad Elevator Music Booms in the background. More people on stage holding heads, tearing hair. Screams of agony.
Suddenly, a gong sounded.
11. Galley Cat picked up the story!!!! Associated Press picked up the story!!!!!!! Explosionzzz!!!!!!!
12. Cassie Edwards answered the phone, said she did nothing wrong, and handed the phone to her husband!!!!!!!
13. Chorus (hysterical): "Oh noessss! She handed the phone to her husband!!!!!!!!"
(background screams. Lightning)
14. Yahoo News picked up the story! CNN picked up the story! Another 1,000,0001 posters and their grandmas linked to the SB post. Much hate followed as newbies in different colored clothing rushed onto the stage from the audience, the aisle, the stage sides....
Chorus (so loud you have to cover your ears): "Why are you attacking a 71 year old woman? Why are you always picking on her books? If they are so bad, why is she world famous and you aren't? Why do you have an agenda? What is the meaning of snarkiness and meanness?"
(Stage darkened. Sudden quiet. Lone spotlight comes on a woman of power.)
15. At which, Jennifer Crusie goes into deep philosophic shock (posted on her Arrrgh Inc blog): "I wuz a Snark Girl but bad things happened to me. I voweth to snark and be mean no mo! Look at those mean girls, with the blog I shall not name, and see how they are being called mean. Don't hate them for their meanness. Forgive them like you forgive me, because I used to snark so but I shall henceforth snark no more. Because look at the blog that I shall not name, looooooook! Bad things happen. And uh, plagiarism is bad, of course." (
breaks the stone tablets...oops, wrong movie)
Spotlight jumps from one to other individuals on stage, wearing top hats, each yelling:
"Plagiarism is bad!"
"Did you hear? Plagiarism is bad!"
"I don't believe it, plagiarism is bad!'
"Plagiarism is bad?"
16. Yet another 1,000,0001 Cherries and their grandmas linked to the SB to check out the blog and told Her Crusieness that she was indeed right. "Plagiarism is bad. Mean girls are bad. Mean blogs are bad, bad, bad. Let's talk about the mean girls and not plagiarism because plagiarism is already bad."
17. At which, all the SB haters linked to Crusie's blog and declared, "Crusie is da Goddess! Crusie smacks down the SBs!!" Lots of Crusie love.
18. Fox News picked up the story!!!!!!!!!! OMG Publishers Weekly. OMG NYT! This is hugggggge news! Explosionzzzzzz!!!!!!!!
(All the lightbulbs on stage explode and glass shards fall down. Everyone runs around on stage, hands still on heads, bumping into each other)
19. RWA put out a grand public statement: "Umm. Ahem. Mumble. Wha..?"
20. La Nora Roberts, also Signet author, lifted her voice. "Silence! This is plagiarism!"
21. Cheers rose from one side. La Nora has spoken! Chorus chanting: "WWND? WWND? WWND?" Confetti.
22. SB haters sneers ensued. "We have Crusie on our side! And we have Mrs. Giggles!"
23. Mrs. Giggles: "Urm. I'm not siding with anyone. Sick of y'all. Leave me alone!"
24. Signet backpedalled with a Public Statement. "Okay, okay! Something needs to be done, okay?"
25. RWA sent out alert to members. "Okay, okay! We fucked up, okay? We'll not mumble any more." More folks are invoking The Oracle of Google (happy, happy Google) and more plagiarized passages are found in other CE books.
26. On stage: 1,000,000,0001 posters and their grandmas alternately cheered, wept, clapped their hands, screeched, shrugged, and scolded. Cassie Edwards fans trolled the different boards, mostly telling off a bunch of people about their need for a job and to go read something else. Academics are pulled in, wandering and wondering (who's Cassie Edwards again? Will she fund our future research?). Lawyers circled around the stage. Experts torpedoed onto the stage.
27. Authors and would-be writers on other boards are horrified at the SB's blog name. "Our image! They done destroy our image!!!! They should have kept all this undercovers, like a Sekret Trial!!!!!!! Wahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!"
(((Edited to add:
Chorus: Oh NOoOOoOOes!!!!! She plagiarized a Pulitzer Prize novel!!!! WTFBBQ?
The Ghost of Sinatra appears in corner of stage, stage-whispersinging: And now, the end is near....)))
Clap of thunder. It's raining heavily. Wind. Rain. Woooooooooshhhhhh. Manuscript pages flying in tornado like pattern. Spotlight follows a lone black-footed ferret slinking by.
28. End result so far:
Plagiarism is bad.
We are all individuals.
Cassie Edwards is a 71 year-old woman.
Mean girls have no reason to invoke the Oracle of Google unless it's to be mean.
Someone ran over someone's dog.
Jenny Crusie taught me a lot.
Diana Gabaldon not so much.
The fear of making fun of CE books is on me. No more making fun of CE books, except with some kind of asterisk ***.
I hope I clarified the matter a little for you, dear readers. ;-)
And oh. Just in case. I was only funning. Plagiarism IS bad. Making fun of a 71 year-old woman is bad. Unless, of course, she looks like Joan Rivers.
From the ending of Stoppard's Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead:
We see Ophelia under water, drowned; and Laertes wounding Hamlet; and Hamlet wounding Laertes; and Gertrude collapsing, the posioned goblet falling from her hand; and Hamlet, dying, killing Claudius with his sword.
Player: Deaths of kings and princes...and nobodies!
(He gestures towards Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.)
Rosencrantz: That's it then, is it? (Pause) We've done nothing wrong. We didn't harm anyone, did we?
Guildenstern: I can't remember.
Rosencrantz: All right, then, I don't care. I've had enough. To tell you the truth, I'm relieved.
Sigh. I'm in deep do-do, aren't I? Blame it on a rainy Sunday. I OD-ed on blogs.
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