Tuesday, May 02, 2006



Just 2 1/2 more days until I turn 29 and start the countdown of the end of my 20s.

You know what? To me, it's no big deal. Sure, I'd love to be print published by the time I'm 30, but that just ain't gonna happen. I'll be e-pubbed by then and maybe, just maybe, I'll have sold my novel.

But I'm not as traumatized by this milestone as people seem to usually be. Maybe it's because I'm married, whereas most of my friends who've turned 30 or 29 and who were freaked out about it are not (or weren't as of the time). I know that turning 30 next year will only increase the outside pressure from certain aprties who seem to think they have a say in my reproductive schedule, but that's fine. I know I won't be hearing that from my mom, at least. She had me (her first child) when she was 34, and that was in 1977, when it wasn't so common, so I figure I have at least until then before she gets to say anything.

Anyway, I do wish I could sell a novel by 30. Or maybe I should go back in time to when I was 17, because it seems if you're an attractive teenager Random House is willing to shell out half a million, regardless of whether you actually wrote the book yourself or whether you might have plagiarized.

This whole Viswanathan case really pisses me off. Writers can slave away for years trying to write something, producing their best work, and never get discovered while others can simply crib passages from best-sellers and pass it off as their own.

OK, OK, I know. We don't know the full story. Viswanathan has admitted having read McCarthy's novel and being a "big fan." Lots of apologists have come out and said that it was probably unintentional.

Unintentional, my ass.

Even if it was (which is really difficult to believe, given the extent and length of the passages and how closely they track, and now the recent developments suggesting that she may have ripped off Sophie Kinsella and Salman Rushdie--although I think the Rushdie-like passages were more of an obvious homage than plagiarism) it's still inexcusable.

It just seems to be part of a larger culture of dishonesty and unethical behavior plaguing society today, particularly kids in her generation. (Wow, do I sound like an old fogie, or what?) It's a generation that thinks that it's OK to download copyrighted music for free because it's on the Internet and it's not hurting anyone. It's a generation that thinks it's OK to cheat on a test if it helps them get into Harvard, or Yale, or Duke. A generation that thinks that anything on the Ineternet is public domain. A generation that thinks that changing a few words here or there constitutes "research."

I'll be going to a reception later tonight for my former boss' office manager. It's her retirement party. It's being thrown by a bunch of entertainment industry lobbyists. It ought to be interesting to hear their take on this matter...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 2:37 PM :: 5 comments

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