Monday, April 24, 2006

Harvard Brat is a Plagiarist

If you weren't aware of it already, I have, shall we say, pronounced concerns about the role of class in modern society. A large portion of what liberalism does reside in me is a result of concerns about class issues. Most everything I see about the world around me reinforces my notions that the American Dream is a lie, that the American meritocracy is anemic at best, and that most of those who are in power are there because their families were. I see folks around me working their fingers to the bone just to survive, when the elites live in relative to absurd luxury. That does not sit well with me. In light of the recent neo-con actions over the past few decades, I believe, essentially, that the super-rich have executed a coup, and are bleeding the middle class dry and running everyone else into the ground for the purpose of inflating their own, already bloated, profits. I have issues with class issues, and I have a bone to pick with the upper class.

In light of that, I am much delighted to see that Harvard brat
Kaavya Viswanathan has been revealed to be a plagiarist. In her recent "chick-flick" novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, Viswanathan "tweaked" passages from Megan F. McCafferty's novels.
McCafferty writes on page 6 of her first novel: “Sabrina was the brainy Angel. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: Pretty or smart. Guess which one I got. You’ll see where it’s gotten me.”
Viswanathan writes on page 39 of her novel: “Moneypenny was the brainy female character. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: smart or pretty. I had long resigned myself to category one, and as long as it got me to Harvard, I was happy. Except, it hadn’t gotten me to Harvard. Clearly, it was time to switch to category two.”
That's plagiarism on the level enacted by my freshmen advisory students; cut and paste that paragraph, reverse a phrase here, swap in a synonym there, call it good. And that's just one of many examples. And it makes my blood boil.

You see, if there's anything that pisses me off more than someone from the elite class, it's a young brat from the elite class - I had to deal with enough of those at this past weekend's
CHSSA State Tournament... But back to the matter at hand. Viswanathan, a current Harvard sophomore, wrote the novel in question as part of "a two-book, $500,000 contract [received] while she was in high school." The book has been selling well to boot. Being, from what I can gather, an utterly vapid piece of tripe, the book is also the product of plagiarism. That fact helps to justify my notion that the elite enjoy what status they do have undeservedly. When I have a friend struggling for years to get published, yet the same brat that walks into elite-class headquarters Harvard and gets a cushy $500K two-book deal while still a high school student, I can't help but see the world as unjust, and I can't help but think that the elite are just propping each other up. But when I see such brats expose themselves as unworthy, I smile a very evil smile, and my heart swells with righteousness.


At 1:46 AM, Blogger brenda said...

Ok, class issues aside, I have to say her defense is the only one that ever pulls at my hearstrings when it comes to plagiary. Specifically, that she was influenced more than she realized by these other novels.

Now I'm not saying that such influence could even believably lead to such exact similarities, but I've had experiences where a line or sentence rings too true and I realize that I'm paraphrasing/quoting some book.

Anyways... did you notice that she was discovered through a college entrance preparatory service that cost between $10,000 and $20,000? I think it's insanely unfair for a college essay with the best editors money can buy to be measured against one that was really written by some high school student (and Mom probably read it to help out).

At 1:47 AM, Blogger brenda said...

yeah, plagiary not a word. plagiarism.

At 2:16 AM, Blogger jinnifer said...

She was so influenced by the other writer's work that she remembered the exact number of specialty shoppes mentioned in the original book and subconsciously used it in her own? Yeah, right.

I was prepared to defend her to some extent until I read that particular copied passage.

To the original poster, right on. I had a novel written at seventeen. By "written," I mean that I wrote them--without Mommy and without copying other books. I also had a straight A average and near-perfect SAT scores.

What I didn't have was $20k to drop on a "getting into the ivy league schools" programme that had a publishing industry contact as an adviser.

I can't help but sneer at this idiot, but I also lament the opportunity wasted on her. I know dozens of talented young writers who actually deserve the chance Viswanathan got. None of us got into Harvard and we're struggling to procure agents in an industry where you need to know people to break in.

Shame on this deceptive, wasteful, undeserving young lady for not taking full responsibility for what she has done, returning the $500,000 and asking her agent to represent someone with actual talent.


Post a Comment

<< Home