Patterico's Pontifications


In an Amazing Coincidence, Joel Stein’s Column Happens to Exactly Resemble a Concept from a Blog Post Published Two Weeks Earlier

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 2:19 pm

Here’s Joel Stein, November 2:

Just how easy is it for Coulter to offend someone? Would any words from her mouth do the trick? To test this theory, I developed the Ann Coulter Mad Libs.™

It’s a good thing he used that ™ mark. He wouldn’t want anyone to steal his concept.

Oh, look! Here’s Media Bloodhound, October 18 (two weeks earlier):

In honor of Ann Coulter’s influence on American media and politics, the Penguin Group (USA), in a joint venture with Ms. Coulter’s Random House publisher, the Crown Publishing Group, is releasing a special edition of Mad Libs titled Ann Libs.

Here’s a sample passage from Stein’s Ann Coulter Mad Libs™:

Can liberals really be that easily offended? Are their beliefs so fragile, their emotions so unstable, their [body part, plural] EYELASHES so [adjective] PRETTY, that my offhand remarks threaten to destroy their entire belief system?

And here’s a sample passage from Media Bloodhound’s Ann Libs, published two weeks before Stein’s piece:


What an amazing coincidence.

(H/t JG.)

P.S. A Google cache shot of the Media Bloodhound post shows it was up as of at least October 28 — evidence tending to indicate that the October 18 publication date is not fabricated. In an e-mail, the Media Bloodhound blogger tells me his piece was linked on Raw Story for 2-3 days, as well as on some progressive websites (he didn’t say which ones, and I can find only one).

18 Responses to “In an Amazing Coincidence, Joel Stein’s Column Happens to Exactly Resemble a Concept from a Blog Post Published Two Weeks Earlier”

  1. Maybe this is what’s finally needed for the LA Times to put the wretched Joel Stein out of our misery.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  2. Are you kidding, Bradley?

    Not a chance.

    Paul (66339f)

  3. To make a charge of plagiarism stick, you’d first have to prove that Stein can actually read, and there’s scant evidence to support that premise.

    CGHill (3fa08f)

  4. Let me be clear that even if he stole the idea, it wouldn’t be “plagiarism” — just being a weasel by stealing an idea without attribution.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  5. Wouldn’t that make it “weaselism”?

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  6. Yes.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  7. The thing is, knowing Stein, if he did steal it, he’ll just cheerfully admit it and chalk it up to his laziness.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  8. There’s something to be said for a cheerful weasel.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  9. And this would be the same Joel Stein who was going to take journalism to whole new level of…whatever… as L.A. Observed titled their post: Joel Stein Will Do Anything For A Column. The ‘Amazing Coincidence’ shouldn’t be a surprise.

    Dana (24b3d5)

  10. There are only so many ways to say, “Mary had a little lamb,” and have it come out with the same meaning in English.

    The internet creates a whole new problem when it comes to plagiarism: how can you know that the ideas you have expressed were not expressed by someone else, using exactly or almost exactly the same words on some obscure site or in someone’s barely-read thesis? Even if it was printed on the front page of The New York Times, there’s no way to say that a person actually plagiarized, unless it is absolutely word-for-word, for a few paragraphs.

    Even when it comes to concepts, or a pet phrase, you’ve got problems. Heck, at the pace information comes, the honorable Mr Stein could have skimmed the “Ann Libs” comment a couple of weeks ago, not paid much attention to it, and then had it spring from his mind as his own, without realizing that someone else placed that thought there.

    Count on it: there will be honest people (conservatives) who get accused of plagiarism for things they thought were original; it could even happen to our esteemed host.

    Of course, dishonest people (liberals) are always guilty.

    Dana (556f76)

  11. Maybe Rick Ellensburg can advise Media Bloodhound on how to determine if any of their visitors have an LA Times IP address.

    kaf (11eb16)

  12. “…take journalism to whole new level …”

    Well, he got that right.
    I guess falling down a well is going to a whole new level.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  13. Wouldn’t that make it “weaselism”?

    Comment by DRJ — 11/3/2007 @ 2:38 pm

    According to St. Andy’s Rules of Logic anyway.

    But I like this solution for dealing with weasels much bettah:

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  14. That is SO alphie using a proxy server ↑

    He even munged the spelling of “better”. Very cute.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  15. tho the only progressive website you could find that linked to mediabloodhound’s coulter mad libs was mine, remember, mine is the only one that counts.

    but seriously, i can attest that mbh developed coulter mad libs in mid-october. the entire content of his email (names redacted) to me:

    subj: let’s play ann libs! (if you like ann coulter and mad libs…)
    date: 10/19/2007 12:00:39 p.m. pacific daylight time
    sent from the internet (details)

    thought you might have fun with this:

    a reaction to coulter and the msm’s, and, on another level, the alternative media’s (think of media matters extensive focus on coulter, rush, etc.) never-ending game. was going to write an op-ed but got this instead.


    i hope this blows up in stein’s face.

    skippy (56a0a8)

  16. As they say, “Flattery is the sincerest form of copying someone else’s work.”

    Kevin (4890ef)

  17. Joel Stein is an ignorant, arrogant shill. He should be ignored. He belongs on Fox, which is already shunned by those of us who think.

    Leslie (365881)

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