Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The stolen plot thickens

So now it turns out that the novelist/wunderkind from Harvard is part of a "think tank" that writes books. As this entry on Huffington Post by Jesse Kornbluth posits today, is she actually just the "face" for a team of ghostwriters and book packagers? And dig the quote from her writing teacher. It's the writing teacher's assessment of the young author's skills that I trust -- for obvious reasons.

10 Comments:

Blogger Xpatriated Texan said...

Yes, it must be that writing professor's fault for not "encouraging" her or "motivating" her properly. That's why she lied, connived, planned, schemed, and ultimately stole someone else's work.

XT

5:59 PM  
Anonymous mrscake said...

Actually, the former writing instructor/GA who made the MeFi comments on Viswanathan's writing appears to be Nina Strohmeyer, currently at MIT.

http://www.harvardindependent.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleID=9911

From her CV, the class mentioned may have been "The Human Mind."

http://mollylab-1.mit.edu/lab/ninaCV.pdf

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"she lied, connived, planned, schemed, and ultimately stole someone else's work."

Sounds like perfect Harvard material to me.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, it is a very competitive thing, getting into college. This may have just be a desperate attempt at an "edge" that got out of hand. I am sure there have been people that have done more extreme things to get the ivie's attention. I think we are all so shocked because this girl did what we all dream of. Hell, who doesn't dream of writing a New York Times Bestseller and making a pretty penny doing what we all love?

10:14 AM  
Blogger Xpatriated Texan said...

BS. It is simple dishonesty. This crap about hedging on calling something what it is destroys our ability to see clearly. I've had chances in my life - like every time I wrote a paper or article - to steal someone else's material. I didn't do it - not because I was out to impress or not and not because I was living a dream - but because I can't abide liars and thieves and I'll be damned before I turn into one myself.

Integrity: It's what you do when no one is looking.

XT

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think we are all so shocked because this girl did what we all dream of."

BS. We're shocked because she may have blatantly stolen from a hard-working author. Robbing a bank is not something to glorify, considering the people who worked hard and honestly to put the money in the bank in the first place.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous alicia said...

oh, this story makes me so angry. i read about it in sfgate and couldn't contain the verbal rampage that came out of my mouth. yes, i'm a big megan mccaffery fan, but seriously, the plagerism is obvious. i read megan mccaffery too, and my writing doesn't contain exact passages (or even similar ones, since we're different writers) from her. i'd also like to point out that in all the similar passages, ms. maccaffery's writing is Way better than ms. harvard.

also, original plots are hard to find. but original writing is easy. so when it's blatantly unoriginal, and the unoriginality is getting movie deals because she's 19....grrr.

also, check out the wikipedia info on this. nice that wikipedia is so up to date. :)

3:30 PM  
Blogger Yvette said...

The fact that the publisher gave such a huge advance to a high school student on a book that wasn't even finished sort of raises my eyebrows in wondering how much they knew about it. In recent years, books written by young authors have sold pretty well and it's a nice built in marketing angle, so why not try to capitalize on such a spin?

But then, perhaps I'm just being too cynical today...

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this area just keeps getting hit. First, one of the Duke rapists is from Essex Fells, NJ, and now Viswanathan is from Millburn. Can we talk about the culture of entitlement in this region for a moment? From sexual assault to intellectual theft, we seem to have all the bases covered...

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's with the quote from the "writing teacher"? Privacy anyone? I would expect to be fired and sued for publicly commenting on a student’s grades, and I teach at a CC not Harvard, where I’m sure the students can afford to bring their lawyers to class with them. “I was surprised to learn she had written a book, as her writing was awful --- I had given her low grades on her papers.” I guess the “teacher” (professor, grad teaching assistant or plain adjunct dog, whichever said teacher is) could get away with claiming her writing was awful, but not discussing her grades. This thing is getting fishier by the day and I thing all it’s really doing is promoting books, and people think it’s a problem that Oprah is the most influential person in publishing...

11:49 AM  

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