The Age’s gossip columnist Suzanne Carbone has made much of her false assertion recently that a Labor upper house MP Nazih Elasmar had ‘plagiarised’ the speeches of some his colleagues.
Elsmar has great authority, stature and affection within all parts of his party and is unlikely to return fire with fire. He’s one of nature’s gentlemen, Labor insiders say. But even he might be tempted to anger over the misleading and hypocritical nature of her claims.
The parliamentarian referencing similar or same material was certainly not plagiarism of any kind, because it had been authorised by its originator. Even if it hadn’t, the communal use of talking points, shared briefings and other documents frequently leads to very similar arguments being made and expressions used, the most odious of which in Spring Street is an assertion about Victoria being the best place to live, work and raise a low-doc mortgage or something like that.
Plagiarism is a delicate subject for politicians, when current Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s staff ripped off – without authorisation – a Neil Kinnock speech for his run as President in the 80’s it was enough to derail him. He bounced back well enough though, already measuring Dick Cheney’s office for the decorators.
However, while the MP did the right thing, it appears the journalist Suzanne Carbone does not observe the same scrupulously high standards in these matters as does Nazih Elasmar.
VEXNEWS can reveal that Carbone is guilty of concept plagiarism inasmuch as she – without express authorisation from the original author or attribution of her work – stole the premise of a best-selling book as the basis of an entry on her online blog.
Compare her rather patronising entry from August this year:
Every girl needs one. A gay man in her life.
with this book review in the UK Guardian from at least a year prior with this headline:
Why every girl needs a gay best friend
based on this book:
Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys: True Tales of Love, Lust, and Friendship Between Straight Women and Gay Men
Is this plagiarism? You bet your life it is.
The source of so much of the world’s plagiarised content, Wikipedia, defines plagiarism:
Plagiarism is the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
We have asked Ms Carbone whether she sought the authorisation of the author of the book or even the review of the book although she was not immediately available for comment.
PATRONISING HOMOPHOBIC PREJUDICE CONDEMNED
Embarrassingly for Carbone, her column made a series of what some regarded as obnoxious and patronising generalisations about gay men:
Maybe it’s just me but I am surrounded by gay men…Single girls, especially, need a handsome handbag to clasp in times of need and I have several at my disposal
Sadly Carbone uses her plagiarism piece to confess she has no straight male friends unless there’s sex involved. She does work at The Age, so this is perhaps understandable.
Invariably, heterosexual men cosy up to women because they want some Greco-Roman wrestling under the sheets, whereas gay men only want theatre tickets.
Carbone receives free theatre tickets as part of her job. And then – it seems – patronisingly dishes them out to those who oblige her with gifts or agree to be her date.
Back to the pathetic patronising generalisations which border on the comic if they weren’t so ugly:
I am generalising here but it’s my blog and I’ll generalise if I want to. They are not afraid to show their feelings. They wear their heart on their tailored sleeve. They pout and posture. They bitch about men and women…
A woman in my position (!) doesn’t dress to impress would-be suitors or other women, she dresses for her gay friends. They know their labels. They notice if you wear different shades of black. They query if your scarf is Missoni. No, I knitted it, but now I see the resemblance. Thank you for pointing it out. And a really kind gay pal will donate his sperm if you’ve made one of those pacts about arriving at a certain age and being a bachelorette.
She concludes that because “all good-looking men (are) gay” that “it’s a tragic waste for all the single girls out there”.
Carbone – we admit rather sportingly in the circumstances – withstood a barrage of criticism about her stupid generalisation, with this response speaking for many she’d offended:
Without wishing to rain on anyone’s parade (Barbra Streisand reference), do you think there could be a little stereotyping going on here?
Perhaps it’s the type of gay men you know who are as you describe them. There are also gauche gay men with no interest in fashion or musicals, who lack tact and style. And there are straight men who behave exactly like the gay ones you mention.
Reminds me of a colleague who told me that gay men were always good at detailed work, and all were good at interior design — this, from a lady with 2 degrees and fresh from a course at work on non-discrimination!
It’s incredibly annoying (and pathetic) when some women think gay men exist solely to be human accessories. We are not here to spice up your life and provide you with a witty quip when you’re in between boyfriends–even if thats what the media portrays.
Try thinking of your gay friends as friends first–would you characterize your straight friends this way. Or would you think of them as individuals?
Some even attacked her for plagiarism:
You’re lazy and you’ve written something yawn-inducing on a topic that was ‘zeitgeist’ many, many years ago.
Write something original. And topical. If you know how.
Her pathetic defence – no doubt she had hated colleague Lawrence Money in mind – was:
You are absolutely right, Arthur. I will tell that to all the journalists who have written about recurring themes for about a decade.
Eventually though, she caved and offered:
As Kevin Rudd championed: “Sorry.”
Click here to read the whole article and the barrage of criticism it provoked.