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I have discovered and much to my own annoyance that people don’t want my opinion. Who knew? Not me. Standing last week in a bookshop (my favourite place) I offered to give a rundown of what books are good to read to a woman standing staring at the shelves. You see, always travelling or being bored or being married for 30 years I find reading lots of books helps me to stop killing the people who I live with.
This apparently doesn’t pass as a reading expert – as the woman who told me to shut up proved. Therefore my point is, we might think what we have to say is riveting but most times it’s flawed or unwanted.
Celebrated Journalist and former Iraq war supporter (what a screwy mistake that was) Johann Hari who writes for The Independent newspaper in the UK got caught plagiarising other people’s words and opinions (not mine – clearly or the Iraq War piece would have read differently) and he had to serve up a big apology which wasn’t really an apology, just an explanation of why he did it- (a bit like my cousin saying I stole your purse coz I wanted booze).
Hari faced a cluster of fresh copying allegations on Wednesday, as bloggers uncovered several examples of where the Orwell prize-winning writer appeared to have inserted quotes into interviews that looked to have come from elsewhere. (I plagiarized this from Guardian writer Dan Sabbagh in the spirit of this article- but defeated the purpose by explaining who wrote it, which makes me a better more honest writer that Johann Hari)
The world of twitter went into meltdown as a bunch of other smug journalists went on a rampage of abuse as Hari was self flagellating on his column about his apparent ‘mistakes’.
Which brings me back to me to the bookstore incident and back to the woman who told me to shut up as “you are just reading what it says on the back cover, thats not your opinion, thats other peoples words” although I did offer up my synopsis, with finger puppet theatre, noises and funny voices – she still wasn’t interested, she stomped off on search of a manager to get me thrown out of the Richard and Judy book corner.
Two things here, don’t tell things you find interesting to folk you have never met before and always make sure its original if you do, as random strangers are picky about those details. As were the public over the Johann Hari incident.
Talking about plagiarism, it’s a risky business and in comedy it’s difficult to prove, there have been recent incidents with comedians having big hissy fits and quite rightly so over complete newbie’s getting up on TV talent shows across the globe and ripping off club comics material. It’s also known in the business that TV writers go round the clubs and ‘lift material’ for their latest project. Poor comics know nowt until they hear their prized funny material coming out of the gob of a ‘comic actor’ in a TV sitcom or TV stand up show!
The worst case recently was Jim Tavare’s unique musical act allegedly being duplicated right down from his musical style to his bald head by an so called impersonator, I won’t name him but you can see it all if you Google Jim Tavare and read his blog, then make your own decision.
The problem with plagiarism in comedy is that other people CAN think of stuff like you and do it onstage, nothing really is unique and it’s hard to prove. Single subject topics cannot be exclusive to one comedian - imagine male wanking stories were only allowed to be allotted to one boy comic? Imagine only one person was allowed to talk about being fat or working an Iphone? The circuit would die. But when you blatantly rip off a comic’s routine word for word or their entire image and genre of comedy then you are a tit and will be shamed on the internet, especially if you do it on live TV like would be Aussie comic Jordan Paris did last week and was slammed when he tried his own material and died on his stupid ass. You really do need other people’s material if you are a really bad comic like him though.
Besides plagiarism, I wanted to mention my recent TV appearance on BBC defending the Palestinians and railing against the Israeli’s. Now I know a 20 minute public debate with me getting shouty won’t solve anything but the level of emails from Israeli people threatening and screaming at me, has been quite annoying and to that man that shouted at me in the Glasgow I Cafe- screw you mate ‘It’s an illegal occupation’ or as I like to call it plagiarising a land – now leave me alone. I am off to write a new book about a girl who sells matches in her bare feet in London around the time Oliver lived; it’s going to be a cracking best seller.
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