It’s funny that people think in the age of the Internet, you can plagiarize and it won’t be noticed. All it takes is one person to notice, and since the blogosphere loves outing plagiarists, you’re done.
So really, all plagiarism these days is pretty stupid. But I think this case deserves special attention:
It all began when a mysterious e-mail arrived in my inbox last week with a link to a romance novel blog, www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com. While reviewing a novel by best-selling romance writer Cassie Edwards, the self-proclaimed “smart bitches” had discovered passages that matched, word for word, my ferret story [a scientific piece about endangered ferrets in South Dakota].
In the Internet age, every freelance writer fears that his or her words will be appropriated without compensation. First I was angry. Then I had to laugh. To see my textbook descriptions of ferrets in a bodice-ripper, as dialogue between a hunky American Indian and a lustful pioneer woman who several pages later have sex on a mossy riverbank, is the height of absurdity.
I rushed out to buy a copy of the book. The cover of “Shadow Bear,” $6.99 in paperback, features a shirtless, dark-haired hunk in a loin cloth with a machete strapped to his belt. His abdominal muscles ripple, and wind blows through his long mane.
It goes on. Right after Shadow Bear and his (white–why are they always white) lover go all the way, they hear a noise outside that turns out to be ferrets rooting around.
Shiona then tells Shadow Bear how she once read about ferrets in a book she took from the study of her father. “I discovered they are related to minks and otters. It is said their closest relations are European ferrets and Siberian polecats,” she says. “Researchers theorize that polecats crossed the land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska, to establish the New World population.”
Ohmygod that is so hot.
I’m still laughing. Thanks to my dear friend Claire for bringing this to my attention. I have nothing more to add; this is the highlight of my day plain and simple.