Sackcloth and Ashes for Another Plagiarist

Plagiarism either makes you a bad person, or bad people are plagiarists, or both.  Either way, it’s obviously a moral crime, not an economic one.  This morning brings yet another example of someone made to do penance:

Nick Simmons, the son of the rock star Gene Simmons, sought to make a name for himself in the comic book industry as the writer and artist of “Incarnate,” a manga-style series from Radical Publishing. The attempt may have backfired. Last week the publisher announced plans to halt production of a collected edition of “Incarnate” after Internet message boards filled up with accusations that Mr. Simmons had copied layouts, dialogue and character designs from other manga series, including “Bleach” and “Hellsing.”

Link (the print edition includes black and white images of a source image and the accused; if I have time later, I will add them here.  Do you have a link?)

For no particular reason, the episode reminds me of the current Dr. Pepper ad campaign featuring the Doctor of Love and Gene Simmons, in full KISS makeup, deadpanning, “Trust me.  I’m a doctor.”  Surely that’s an original line.

Amid the brouhaha, it’s refreshing to read about a writer who is “caught” copying from a source and who unapologetically refuses to apologize.  That would be the German teenager Helene Hegemann, who the Times refers to as an author, without a trace of irony.  From the mouth of a teenager, even a witty and talented teenager, the proposition that “I’m remixing” comes off as a pose; I even heard a college student recently refer seriously to “the remix aesthetic” as a subject of her proposed master’s thesis.  But posing is what teenagers do.  Billy Collins, by contrast, is no poser.

For no particular reason, the latter episode reminds me of Eco’s The Name of the Rose, in which the sanctity of the text gives way to reason and interpretation.  Surely we have learned something since then.  No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.