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Copycats! Copycats! May 17, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in animals, critique, current events, eating, food, funny, humor, new york city, opinion, pedestrian behavior, rats.
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Before I delve into some of the wonderful food adventures we had in London, a coworker of mine, Mara (who you’ll remember as having taken down that 29 pound turkey on her first hunt), came over to my desk yesterday morning with a “scoop” for me. It seems that the folks at “Time Out New York” did a story on the best walks to do in New York City. But lo and behold, in their story they had a sidebar called “Walk of Shame” in which they discussed giving “violations” for offenders of “pedestrian crimes”.

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Hmm. Does this idea sound familiar? It should, considering that back in March I unveiled a posting on the “Rules of Pedestrian Engagement”.

I have tons of admiration for Time Out New York and often keep issues for months and years as references. And the Time Out New York crew obviously has a larger budget than I do (my budget is a whopping nil, zilch, zero, none, you get the point). They were even able to go out and produce video of their reporter dressed up as a policewoman, zapping pedestrians for their violations and giving them tickets (again, sounds a little familiar doesn’t it?)

Some of the violations they handed out were for:

“Walking too slow in a crowded area”

“Stopping in an inconvenient place”

“Stopping at the top of the stairs at a subway station”

And…drumroll please…

“Walking side by side in a group of three or more”

Now…as much as I love Time Out New York for their articles and viewpoint on New York City life I became very suspicious. Especially considering the violation I had specifically discussed giving pedestrians was:

“Persons in groups of three or more who are walking together side by side”

Hmm…can someone say plagiarism?

Now I know my blog is not as popular as say Gawker or any of the other celebrity or humor blogs out there, but how was I to know that someone hadn’t seen my blog, read that post and decided that that would make a great idea for a story. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I wrote a letter to Time Out New York explaining I was a loyal reader and that I was curious on where they got their idea and inspiration for this pedestrian rules story being that I had covered a similar story months back.

I got a prompt and courteous response back from their deputy editor saying that their ideas are discussed in their brainstorming sessions, and they had an idea about walking etiquette in general and came up with some nagging pedestrian gripes, like walking in threes, impeding traffic, etc. They assured me they had no knowledge of my blog and thanked me for also shedding light on the subject.

I thought it was very nice of them to send a response in acknowledgement. And I’m sure their initial response was like, “Fuck this guy, we’re Time Out New York, who gives a shit about his little blog”. And rightly so. But in this day and age of “The Blogger” and with journalistic integrity under scrutiny now more than ever, I was a little disappointed they didn’t research their subject a little before going to press with the story. Not to say pedestrian rules haven’t been discussed before in many aspects and I know I’m certainly not the first nor the last to come up with zany ideas on how to punish pedestrian rule violators. However, I know that with my journalism background, Journalism 101 says always research your subject to see if it’s been discussed before.

I know I do that with this blog, and if come across an idea that has been discussed already, I’ll decide if my spin on things is unique and then move forward from there. If my idea is not fresher or better than the one already out there, maybe I’ll acknowledge the point and give credit to the person who came up with the idea. Case and point, I (ok…Bridget) thought up an idea when I launched this blog over a year ago to call myself “America’s Next Top Blogger”, after the widely popular “America’s Next Top Model” show with Tyra Banks. However, a quick Google search yielded some people had already used that term so I decided that I could just be seen “copying” off them even though I had the idea pop into my head without seeing it elsewhere.

Anyway, I was a little upset that no one on their team did any research on Pedestrian Rules or Pedestrian Violations or giving tickets to pedestrians in a humorous sort of angle. Not to say they necessarily would have seen my posting, but with just a little Google digging they could have seen the topic had been discussed. I do however applaud their ingenuity and brainstorming ideas and, taking the high road (which I almost never, ever do!) gave a kudos response back to their staff for the idea. I also mentioned they can feel free to contact me about future ideas, for which I of course was met with no response.

So I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Although I can proudly say that I “went to market” and developed an idea way before a whole staff of journalists did for a popular magazine! Just shows that thanks to blogs anyone can voice their opinions and ideas, no matter how far-fetched or arcane! And maybe they’ll take me up on my offer to help brainstorm a few ideas for them for future stories. Although that’s highly doubtful.

Anyway, this is a warning, Time Out New York staff. If I do see any articles in the future that even remotely resemble a topic I’ve discussed on this blog I’m calling bullshit on you! I’ll go to your offices and inflate one of those union rats in front of your building! I’ll say mean and nasty things about you…like your mother is a french prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet! So let this be a warning!

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An inflatable rat awaits the next person who plagiarizes this blog!

I’ll post more later on my food adventures through London, including my yummy rendez-vous with Fish and Chips and my experience at the widely popular chain, Wagamama.

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Comments»

1. roger - May 17, 2007

oh man….that does sound a little suspicious…maybe you should start keeping your ideas to yourself!

2. candice - May 17, 2007

definite copy cats!!!!! I didn’t read that issue but its like someone read your post and completely plagiarized it!

3. Mr. Blogger - May 17, 2007

I smell a rat!!!!

4. ethan - May 17, 2007

Yankees Suck! Yankees Suck!

5. janice - May 17, 2007

i’d give them the benefit of the doubt too…although sounds like someone saw something on your blog about the groups of three…i mean of all numbers why three???? hmm…

6. neil from the uk - May 17, 2007

Love WAGAMAMA…can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

7. gary - May 17, 2007

yeah…tough call…who’s to say they hadn’t thought of that idea a while back and finally went ahead with it. although i agree the whole groups of three thing sounds suspicious. that and them actually giving tickets out with handheld zappers is just like your idea of the portable devices. sounds a little too fishy to me.

8. bob - May 17, 2007

Oh man…they definitely blatently lied to you! I mean come on…its clearly just reworded. That and the video they produced was crap…i’m sure you could have done better!

9. trent - May 17, 2007

fuck em…you should sue their sorry asses for plagerizing your work!

10. tiffany - May 17, 2007

kudos to “the little guy”…glad to see that your idea was well ahead of the curve! that’s exactly why i come here in the first place!

11. cagney - May 17, 2007

time out new york, you dirty rat!

12. ace - May 17, 2007

your mother is a french prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet…and that line isn’t plagiarized? haha….j/k

13. trevor - May 17, 2007

i agree…something smells fishy…and its not the cod in the harbor up here either!

go sox!

14. Mr X. - May 17, 2007

i agree..the title of their magazine should be more like “Time Out While I Plagiarize A Blogger in New York”

15. anonymous - May 17, 2007

the Time Out New York piece was better than the crap you wrote!

16. roger - May 17, 2007

asshole….asshole

17. victor - May 17, 2007

dude that’s such bullshit…they completely ripped you off! i mean its almost word for word!

18. jessica - May 17, 2007

tough call…i mean you can argue both sides of the fence. its a little ironic that your ideas were similar…although the fact that you’re both located in new york could lend to the similarities on your pedestrian gripes.

in this case, reading both pieces, i’d err on the side of coincidence…although i agree, you can claim victory for having said it first!

that’s just the lawyer in me talking though.

the cynist in me says they totally ripped you off and lied to you about it!

haha

19. lawyerman - May 17, 2007

haha…nice jessica….as a lawyer i’d agree he doesn’t have much of a case…although i agree they should have done research before printing the story…seems like they carefully chose their title and put their own spin on it so its hard to prove plagiarism. Although some of the ideas are very similar..right down to having the “pedestrian cop”…i mean one can deduce they came up with that on their own, but still the facts remain that this blog was published first so they could indeed have found it and ripped it off so to speak.

Time Out New York would probably be found not guilty in a court of law…but their credibility would take a hit just on the merits of the case alone.

20. nincompoop - May 17, 2007

Katie Couric plagiarized a story and look what happened to her! she’s dead last in the ratings!

Boycott Time Out New York!!!

21. harris - May 17, 2007

scandal in new york…story at 11!

22. whatpushesmybuttons - May 17, 2007

quite the outpouring guys! thank you all for your support (i sound like the two old guys from the bartles and jaymes commercial that sit on the rocking chair and say “Thank you for your support”). Anyone remember that commercial? Bueller? Bueller?

On the matter of copycat or not, I agree that the grounds are there to raise hints of suspicion, although i do believe it when they say they told me they developed the idea on their own.

but man…wouldn’t that be a great story if it was true and they plagiarized!

maybe i’d get to bring them on Judge Judy or the People’s Court! wouldn’t i just love to win a $100 verdict in my favor. Rusty the baliff would have to carry them out in disgust with their heads held in shame! Or maybe they can feel the wrath of Judge Judy or Judge Alex instead!

Being i used to work on the Maury Povich show I could call my “old friend” to see if he wants to hark back to his Current Affair days and cover a real story for a change! (ouch). Although to make it more “Maury worthy”, I’ll have to inpregnate 10 girls at once and take 10 different paternity tests to prove that I’m not their baby’s daddy.

23. nelson - May 17, 2007

haha i remember that commercial…good stuff!

yeah, that would be awesome…take em to people’s court!

24. elyse - May 17, 2007

hahaha soooo true about maury…he’s fallen a long way since current affair. can’t believe you used to work for him…how was that like???

25. harris - May 17, 2007

ouch – i’d like to make an amendment to my comment

zinger at maury. scandal rocks time out new york. story at 11.

26. candice - May 17, 2007

Don’t even tell me you worked on those “you ain’t my babys daddy” shows???

27. indigored - May 17, 2007

Time Out New York = high school students who plagiarizes every word in the encyclopedia!

28. S.K. - May 17, 2007

reminds me of an article I read in New York magazine a while back about plagiarism:

http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/16932/

Love the last line of the article in particular: In this world of Google and Nexis, in which you can pick and choose among so many words written on a given subject, you can’t be sure that anything you read is original. Even this.

29. whatpushesmybuttons - May 17, 2007

Candice: no…thank god…when i walked there we were producing the occassional “real” story mixed in with some dubious ones, like one about the cat woman, Jocelyn Wildestein and the world’s most height difference couple. when universal bought the show from paramount we all got shitcanned and then they moved in to where they taped sally jesse raphael and all the baby daddy shit started happening.

S.K: awesome article! hadn’t read that before. very well written by Mr. Edelstein. I wholeheartedly agree 100%. Its hard not to plagiarize these days…although after the high school level and beyond, you should try to be more accountable for your words since that helps shape your future vocation. Especially if you’re publishing a book or a famous talk show host!

30. moral blogger - May 17, 2007

wow….accusing plagiarism is a hefty charge! not sure i’d go that far, but yes, agreed that there are notable coincidences between Time Out’s article and the blog posting here.

Although you know i’m not much of a fan of this blog due to its often controversial content, i decided to come back and catch up. While I’d say plagiarism probably is out of the question in this case – I’d agree that it is possible someone on their staff saw this blog and got the idea. There’s nothing really wrong with that…although they probably shouldn’t have used the “walking three aside” violation argument if that was the case. The wording they used can technically be conceived as a straight plagiarism of the wording used here. All it was was a shift in sentence structure.

If they said they hadn’t seen this blog, which is definitely a reasonable assertion and something I agree with, plagiarism is out of the question. Although whoever’s in charge of hiring over there should offer you a position on their staff pronto!

31. roger - May 17, 2007

welcome back moral blogger….glad you’re not too offended by the recent discussions here!

i agree with you…we’re all of course gonna defend the blog we read religiously and accuse them of plagiarism! even if it isn’t the case, it does smell a little fishy. glad you happen to agree…

see we can agree on things here without resorting to name calling! 😉

32. candice - May 17, 2007

hah roger…yes…glad we could all just get along for a change! make love not war! hee hee 🙂

33. trent - May 17, 2007

wow…look at us debating ethics like grownups…what the fuck happened? haha

34. mr. blogger - May 17, 2007

atta boy trent!

35. dan - May 17, 2007

“walk of shame” is quite appropriate for their topic, considering that’s what they’re gonna be doing when they get caught for plagerizing your blog! hey-oh

36. melanie - May 17, 2007

this could be the blog story of the year!!! scandalous! i love it!


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