- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stolen words

“In 2004, 17-year-old Kaavya Viswanathan signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown on the basis of a few drafted chapters and an outline for a novel. Most 17-year-olds are not capable of writing a novel, and as it turned out Viswanathan … was no exception. … She plagiarized shamelessly from several sources, including works by Salman Rushdie and bestselling author Megan McCafferty. Her book, ‘How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,’ was published in 2006, but its anticipated big splash came as a belly flop. Some of her plagiarism was exposed by the Harvard Crimson, and soon other media took note. …

“In his ‘Little Book of Plagiarism,’ Richard Posner, a federal judge and prolific author, shows some understanding for the frustration and even the envy that might drive talented writers to such depths. … A discerning reader might detect a note of sarcasm, however, as he continues: ‘Oh, the unfairness, Viswanathan might have thought, of McCafferty’s having picked the low-hanging “chick-lit” fruit rather than leaving some of it for her.’ ”

— Jeremy Lott, writing on “The Problem with Plagiarism,” in the spring issue of the New Atlantis

Politics and war

“As Vietnam dominated American politics for years after the troops came home, it is a pretty good guess that Iraq will do the same. Vietnam, it is easy to forget, was the liberals’ war. John F. Kennedy started it and Lyndon Johnson escalated it beyond Kennedy’s wildest dreams. A Congress run by liberals paid for it, and the liberal press, led by the New York Times and The Washington Post, were its greatest cheerleaders — at least until things started going sour and they jumped ship. It was finally left to Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger to end the war. … Iraq, on the other hand, is the Republicans’ war, a fact that Democrats will remind the voters of for years and years to come.

“Is there still hope in Iraq? Probably not much, at least if the Democrats have their way as they try to make political points at the expense of some sort of honorable settlement.”

— Alfred S. Regnery, writing on “Desert Storms,” in the June issue of the American Spectator

Bye-bye, bully

“Barbara Walters kissed-off Rosie O’Donnell in a lady-like way on ‘The View,’ claiming again how much she adored her and how she would be glad to have her back anytime. …

“Most bullies, when they go too far and are caught out, tend to snivel. Rosie is no different. … Poor, poor victimized Rosie. No mention, of course, of her rudeness, her shouting down any opposition daily on the show, or that obscenity-laced turn at an elegant celebrity luncheon that made headlines. …

“She also said she tried to be a good girlfriend to Elisabeth Hasselbeck. ‘I never tried harder to be friends with someone than I did with her from the get go, but I don’t think we ended up there, anywhere close,’ she complained. Maybe that’s because mild-mannered Elisabeth doesn’t like being called ‘stupid’ by someone who is supposed to be trying to make friends.

“I was away on the day of the final blow-up [between Miss O’Donnell and Mrs. Hasslebeck] and have only watched the video. But it seems to me that in many ways Rosie’s rage wasn’t very different from some of her previous outbursts. What was different was that for once Hasselbeck stood up to her and held her ground. She finally called Rosie on her bullying tactics. At last it was almost a fair fight, and that was what Rosie couldn’t seem to handle.”

— Myrna Blyth, writing on “The Days of Whining Rosie,” Wednesday at National Review.com

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