Archive for July 14th, 2009

Plagiarism Symposium Part I: Whose Own Words?

A scandal has broken out over at I should stress that this scandal is entirely personal—everyone else has known about this for years.

Last December, I read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest for the first time, and it instantly became one of my favorite novels of all-time, if not my outright favorite.

When I read it, however, I was not aware of something Kevin Guilfoile points out at the Infinite Summer website. At one point early in the novel (actually, it’s page 139,but that’s early when the book is over 1,000 pages long) Wallace includes a transcript of an insurance claim made by a bricklayer after an unfortunate accident. The story is quite humorously told. Apparently, though, not only is the story not original to the book, but it’s practically folklore. Continue reading

The Sports Revolution: Fixing the All-Star Game

Let me set the scene for you: It’s an All-Star Game, and nobody cares.

Let me reset the scene for you: It’s an All-Star Game, and everybody cares.

My esteemed colleague wrote a vapid, nonsensical, and generally tedious post on why the Major League Baseball All-Star Game isn’t that bad. But John S, let’s be honest with ourselves and call a spade a spade. What fan of baseball is actually going to subject themselves to the abject torture that is the All-Star Game? I challenge you, John S, to sit there through the interminable player introductions, ceremonial first pitches, shots of Bud Selig, and not least in inducing woe, the actual four-hour game, and come out on the other side of it thinking yourself somehow enhanced by the experience.

A confession: I have not watched an All-Star Game in its entirety; this is because I have a sense of propriety. I did monitor bits and pieces of last year’s, which proved mildly interesting. But suffice it to say that, each year, Major League Baseball errs more in its All-Star shenanigans than Daniel Uggla.

Continue reading

Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day. Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 by the French. It is not one of the Top 173 Things in History, largely because it just falls under the umbrella of something much larger that is.

But, in the wake of discussing the Defenestration of Prague, let us pause to recognize the people who got it right. The people who knew, “This is how you start a revolution.”

Bastille Day is like the Defenestration of Prague plus logic.

Continue reading