It was news
November 15, 2004
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.
Anil Dash's "It was news" pointed me to Malcolm Gladwell's long narrative about plagiarism, intellectual property, and derivatives in The New Yorker. It's quite worth your read, but at 6500+ words, it'll take some time! I was struck by this n... Read More
Is our heritage of culture and knowledge all based on original ideas? There have been countless plays written around scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Kalidasa, Premchand, Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhya and innumerable others. These ... Read More
Anil Dash uses an essay by Malcolm Gladwell to illustrate some of the ambiguity behind what is considered plagiarism. Read More
This entry would be a lot better than it probably will be, if only I had the expertise of Becky and the scathe of Jeff to bring to bear upon it. We'll see if we can't muddle through, though. A few people (most notably Anil Dash) have picked up on Malco... Read More