Friday, April 28, 2006

Another Wunderkind Goes Splat

Back in January of last year, I did a rundown of some of the bad, bad, little writers out there who disgraced their profession. Y'know, Stephen Glass, Ruth Shalit, Jayson Blair.

Add a couple of new ones to the perp walk.

I was going to analyze Ben Domenech, the little blogger who couldn't, when that story broke a month ago. However, it dropped off the radar awfully quick, and seemed mainly of interest to a) other bloggers and b) the other media types. It was a very incestuous deal, all around.

Domenech was vile, childish, a disgrace to homeschooling. The real mystery was why WaPo online even hired a accident-in-progress like that to begin with, especially when a cursory dumpster-dive through his opere would have uncovered blatant plagiarism-- heck, he ripped of MaryAnn Johanson! The fiend!

But it was all over in a froth of reddish bubbles by week's end. And the weirdest thing about it was that Michelle Malkin turned out to have the tiniest scrap on integrity.

This latest story, though, is a doozy.

Move along, Ruth Shalit. Meet La Plagiarista, V. 2.0

She's a Harvard undergrad. She's only nineteen. She's cute. And the entire affair has an ethnic twist to spice up the lily-white world of plagiary (Blair was an outlier, I tell you).

Away, Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Welcome, to your ranks of the hard-bound and dodgy, the latest Little Miss.

Kaavya Viswanathan, take a bow.

The story is very entertaining, and still somewhat in progress, so I'll be a lazy blogger and link to Slate's extensive coverage of How Kaavya Viswanathan Got a Book Deal, Got Published, and Got in Big Trouble.

She's a nice counterpoint to Domenech-- he's homeschooled, "attended" College of William and Mary but left without papers. She's in Harvard. He's shameless. She claims memory issues. He's a white boy, she's... well, you get the point.

And they're both in big trouble. Dunno what Domenech's done since WaPo canned him, but Viswanathan's book is being yanked from shelves as we speak.

I'm enjoying this one, oh yes.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Grosse Pointe Scam

So, the fine people of Harper Woods-- a small group of them, anyway-- want to petition to change the name of their fair city to "Grosse Pointe Heights."
My initial reaction was something along the lines of "Who are they trying to kid?" The City Formerly Known as East Detroit, for example, has fooled approximately no one by tacking a "pointe" onto their name. A residential appraiser cited in the Freep article admitted that, contrary to the claims of name-change advocates back in '92, East*bleep* property values have not increased, and they spent a bucket of money changing all the signage and letterheads.

That warms my heart.

The fetishization of "Pointe"-y-ness is lame anyway. We have five Grosse Pointes, at least one blatant wannabe, apparently another one pending, plus innumerable strip malls and apartment complexes that slap that extraneous "e" on to add a veneer of class. Or a soupcon of le stupid. And yet, the allure of the "e" remains.

On second thought, though, perhaps Mr. Scott Campbell and his ilk are on the right track. Eastpointe hasn't done nearly enough to debase the concept of The Pointes. So, in addition to the possibly forthcoming Grosse Pointe Heights, I propose the following new communities to join the City, Woods, Park, Shores, and Farms in Pointedom.

Grosse Pointe Slums
Grosse Pointe 'Hood
City of Faux Pointe
No Pointe

I expect St. Clair Shores, Roseville, Fraser and Center Line to get in on the act. If we can work together, we can send everybody's property values spiraling down to a nice baseline, and I can score myself some lakefront property. Go team!