It was news

If you haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's "Something Borrowed yet, go ahead and read it. I'll wait. I'ts more than 6500 words, but it's considered required reading for visitors to the Anil Dash weblog.

The core, then, of Gladwell's exploration of inspiration and attribution is that he forgave the writer who used his words to create a work about forgiveness. All the legal handwringing and creativity of the commons aside, those who accused Lavery of plagiarism did so on the assumption that Malcolm Gladwell's feelings would be hurt by the final product using his words without permission.

Bryony Lavery didn't think to analyze the feelings Gladwell had behind his writing because, in the end, his words appear in a magazine, not a book. The words that appear in a magazine, especially a news magazine are supposed to be objective, right? And in some sense, we believe objectivity requires the absence of emotion. And what writer, no matter how good, could get emotional about someone using their emotionless words? The format itself communicated to Lavery that this was merely information, not narrative.

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