Odd Words February 24, 2010Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Dan Baum, Helene Hegemann's, Jackie Collins, Jimmy Ross, plagiarism
Note: I’m posting this week’s Odd Words a day early so I can get out a link to Dan Baum’s book signing at Octavia Books Wednesday night. I can’t make it. Let me know if we wears the pink hat. Update: Added Jimmy Ross as the featured reader at thsi week’s Maple Leaf Poetry Reading.
An interesting story on the coming generation (X? Y? What’s next: Z?) and it’s view of copyright. Frankly, this is plagiarism but I suspect there are people in the “information wants to be free” world who would disagree.
The publication last month of [17-year old Helene Hegemann's] novel about a 16-year-old exploring Berlin’s drug and club scene after the death of her mother, called “Axolotl Roadkill,” was heralded far and wide in German newspapers and magazines as a tremendous debut, particularly for such a young author. The book shot to No. 5 this week on the magazine Spiegel’s hardcover best-seller list.
For the obviously gifted Ms. Hegemann, who already had a play (written and staged) and a movie (written, directed and released in theaters) to her credit, it was an early ascension to the ranks of artistic stardom. That is, until a blogger last week uncovered material in the novel taken from the less-well-known novel “Strobo,” by an author writing under the nom de plume Airen. In one case, an entire page was lifted with few changes.
As other unattributed sources came to light, outsize praise quickly turned to a torrent of outrage, reminiscent of the uproar in 2006 over a Harvard sophomore, Kaavya Viswanathan, who was caught plagiarizing numerous passages in her much praised debut novel. But Ms. Hegemann’s story took a very different turn.
The author plagiarist claims ““There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” You want authenticity? Try using your own words.
§ Former New Yorker writer Dan Baum returns to Octavia Books (513 Octavia St.) to promote the paperback release of his book Nines Lives, which is described as a multi-voiced biography of a dazzling, surreal, and imperiled city, told through the lives of nine unforgettable characters and bracketed by two epic storms: Hurricane Betsy and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Baum has written some silly things about New Orleans, but I think if I can manage one more Katrina book without finally coming to Katrina literary fatigue this is probably the one. (No, that’s not right. I haven’t gotten to Dave Eggers Zeitoun yet. Two more, and one more crack at David Brinkley’s enormously horrible hack job Deluge, then I’m probably done.) Anyway, I won’t make this event but be sure to let me know if he’s wearing the pink lid.
§ There’s a new trailer up for the forthcoming Walker Percy: A Documentary Film. (Hat tip to Maud Newton for the trailer link). The trailer will be screened at the opening of Loyola University’s new Walker Percy Center March 10. You can follow the film on Facebook if you’re into that sort of thing. (I am).
§ After a couple of delays (a canceled featured reader, the galloping Crescent City crud and Carnival, 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series returns at the Gold Mine Saloon following a holiday break with featured poet SANDRA BEASLEY, author of Theories of Falling (New Issues Poetry & Prose 2008) and I Was the Jukebox (W. W. Norton & Company 2010), followed by Open Mic hosted by Jimmy Ross. Admission is free and open to the public.
§ I have an abiding interest in architecture (my father was one), so I have to admit this looks interesting although I’ll likely be at 17 Poets: Author Roulhac Toledano discusses and signs A Pattern Book of New Orleans Architecture. 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Garden District Book Shop, The Rink, 2727 Prytania St., (Uptown), 895-2266.
§ OK, you almost certainly won’t find me here, but it was too funny not to post: Jackie Collins will be signing Poor Little Bitch Girl. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Harrah’s Casino (Masquerade), 8 Canal St. I’m not dissing Jackie Collins (OK, I am. I just prefer my trashy novels to have lots of hot inter-species zero gravity sex and tentacled aliens). It is one of my life goals to never set foot in Harrah’s and now I have another reason not to go.
§ Local poet, fiction- and play-write and Jimmy Ross will be the featured reader at this week’s Maple Leaf Reading Series, The South’s oldest continuous poetry reading series. Free admission. 3 p.m. Sunday. Maple Leaf Bar, 8316 Oak St. Update: I figured out who the featured reader was because Jimmy told me last night. He is the MC for the open mike at the weekly 17 Poets event, and is a long-standing fixture at local literary venues. I think I definitely need to make this one to present for Jimmy, who says such kind things when he introduces me. And because he is one of the most interesting characters and voices on the local circuit.
§ I also recommend Dinky Tao Poetry a weekly free poetry reading (drinks extra) with open mic. 9 p.m. Tuesday, in the back bar at Molly’s at the Market, 1107 Decatur St. New Orleans. The most relaxed event I’ve ever been to and cheap PBR to boot.
§ I still haven’t been to this one, but I promise to check it out soon: Loren Murrell hosts a weekly poetry and spoken-word night with free food. Free admission. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Yellow Moon Bar, 800 France St., (Bywater), http://www.yellowmoonbar.com. And I have it on good authority that there is in fact free food.