[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
out like a lamb
many of you are aware of the recent interweb saga of one bryan lamb and his plagiarism of my writing.
the whole dang-blasted internet seemed to be outraged not merely by mr. lamb's theft, but moreso by his defiance in the face of being caught. his indignation when others called on him to do the right thing and apologize. and, so, the incident took on a life of its own, as anyone who has recently googled "bryan lamb" must know.
from the beginning, i was very clear. i wanted only three things:
1. for mr. lamb to admit to what he had done.
2. for mr. lamb to apologize for what he had done.
3. for mr. lamb to remove the plagiarized work from his site.
then, last night, i received this:
From : Bryan Lamb
Sent : Tuesday, January 27, 2004 5:06 PM
To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Just thought you should know
I don't know much about you, and I figure you know even less about me. But that doesn't excuse the bonds of common decency that should be shared between two human beings. Forgetting that is understandable, breaking it consciously is not. For doing so, I apologize.
and, so now i have read bryan's post. and, while i appreciate his post, when i read this:
"For the inspiration I took from you that I didn't deserve, that I didn't have any claim to, that didn't belong to me, I apologize."
i had to smile just a little.
i'm sure it is embarrassing to simply say: "i was wrong. i stole the original work of someone else and claimed that i wrote it myself. and then i acted as though she was lying about it. even going to so much trouble as to make edits to the stolen material in an effort to disguise what i did instead of just doing the right thing by owning up to my mistake and removing it."
but that is exactly what happened. he did not take "inspiration" from me. he stole my words. period. no dressing it up. no draping it in terms meant to imply that i should be flattered by his plagiarism. he was not inspired. he copied and pasted.
but, even so, make no mistake: i keep my word. i asked for a public admission, and i got one. i asked for a public apology, and i got one. and, true to my word, i accept both, and am posting here for everyone to see.
one of my favorite movie lines is this one from vanilla sky: "every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around." and, while i'm sure bryan is a good guy with lots of great attributes, i was stunned that, given opportunity after opportunity, he chose not to turn this thing around. he chose, again and again, to drag this ridiculous spectacle out, incurring the wrath of the online community, flame emails and some rather-amusing-even-if-probably-untrue speculation about his genitals. it's not so much a curiousity about bryan as it is about human nature that makes me wonder what made him finally decide to do the right thing after choosing so many times to do just the opposite. first, to choose to steal. then, to choose to deny that you stole. then to choose to be rude, arrogant and unbelievably self-righteous when accused of wrongdoing. what changes in a person that makes them look at the situation and say, "okay. enough."
for the record, i've told bryan that i accept his apology, but that we still have unfinished business.
those of you who followed the saga know that nothing about the incident enraged me more than bryan's choice to steal a post that i wrote about my cousin who is hiv positive and then claim to have written it himself. then, to throw gasoline on that fire, bryan removed the post, putting up in its place a note that said that his ex-girlfriend about whom he had written the story had asked him to remove it, and he did so out of respect for her.
to my mind, at no point during this three-ring circus did the behavior get any lower than that. while that story is certainly not some prize-winning piece of work, it was important to me.
my cousin lives a life i would not wish on my worst enemy. it is a life of fear. of isolation. of pain. of pills and drug trials. she has never known what it was like to be a child because, just as aids will take her life, the disease took the innocence of childhood from her when she was diagnosed. there isn't anything i can do to make things easier for her. or anything i can do to change the lousy hand she was dealt. but the one thing i'm not-so-bad at in this whole world is writing. and, so, as tribute to her, i wrote. it was for her.
and so, while i do accept his apology, i have reminded bryan that my offer was a three-part deal: admit to what he did, apologize for what he did, and remove the plagiarized material.
and, i am willing to say we're good on counts one and two. but, that leaves us with the third part of the deal. i will speak with my attorney and ask him to bring a halt to our discussions with blogger/google if, and only if, the following conditions are met:
1. he removes the following posts as they are currently written, or extensively rewrite them so they are no longer derivative works:
100 things about me
File Under Conversations I Thought I'd Never Have
2. he removes, in its entirety, the following post:
A Few Words About HIV
these are non-negotiable. and i hope this will be the end of this entire saga.
i wonder if maybe all of this was dragged out because it was fun in some bizarre way for bryan. maybe he got some strange pleasure out of this entire ordeal -- the attention, the site visits, the emails, the internet infamy. i don't know. can't pretend to understand. maybe this was all just some illustrative life lesson about the choices we make, and how every choice is a chance for us to turn it all around. to learn something about ourselves that maybe we don't necessarily want to know. about how we can be defined by our choices, for better or for worse, in the eyes of others. to learn that doing the right thing isn't always easy, but, in the end, doing the right thing with honor and integrity is always, without fail, better than not.
or maybe it was a just a big joke to him. truth is, i'll never know.
but, whatever the case, i accept and appreciate the apology, and i sincerely wish him all the best.
note: i visited bryan's site today, and it appears that he has now removed the plagiarized material. i thank bryan, and am glad that we can now call it a day.
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