Well, that was embarrassing.

Ya know…

I hate to give this guy a Boot to the Head, but geez, people. If you’re going to publish a book or blog or memoirs or personal account or ANYTHING, you need to check your sources, frontways, backways, sideways and allways. And don’t think for a minute that if you publish something to the web, it will go unnoticed by all and sundry, save the people you choose.

So it was for author Neale Donald Walsch, who played the plagiarism card and got caught. Worse, he played it, got caught, and gave a slightly suspicious explanation for it. Worst, he played it, got caught, and gave a slightly suspicious explanation for it — and his book is called Conversations With God. Yikes. That don’t look good for the home team.

What’s Walsch’s excuse for using a Christmas “memory” that belongs to someone else? From the article:

Walsch wrote on his blog Tuesday he was “truly mystified” about what happened and apologized. He said he had been telling the story for years in public talks and “somewhere along the way, internalized it as my own experience.”

Now, I’m willing to give folks the benefit of the doubt. And the article does state that the story circulated uncredited for several years. But honestly now…is Neale saying he’s never in all this time come across another version of that Christmas story? Never? Even though it was widely circulated since 1999?

Hmmm. So he “internalized it” as his own memory. I guess that works, and it can happen to anyone. But it kind of reminds me of this.

I like 2-hour delays.

Fink out.

3 thoughts on “Well, that was embarrassing.

  1. Ross

    I wasn’t a regular reader here back in March so I’ll comment on the James Frey debacle now. Personally I feel badly for him. As a former and current nobody in publishing, I know what it’s like to feel helpless around literary agents and editors as they do horrible things to your manuscript. Recall that Frey wrote and pitched his book as an autobiographical novel, and if read that way it’s STILL a very, very compelling book. I’ve always imagined him with his high-powered agent at some meet-and-greet, and when someone says, “so wow, that’s a true story?” his agent, seizing on the opportunity, gives Frey the parental wink. Before he knows just what he’s agreed to, he’s on Oprah meekly confirming the veracity of the book’s events.

    The book opens with a totally implausible scene: he’s been put on a commercial plane to Minnesota by who knows who, after having been thrown down a fire escape, with teeth missing, and his clothing covered in blood and vomit. Can you imagine getting onto an airplane, even pre 9/11, and seeing someone who looks like that occupying the seat next to you? Of course not. It’s totally ludicrous. Yet it wasn’t the book’s more outlandish moments that exposed him; rather some inconsistencies regarding an arrest. While he certainly deserves some blame, he doesn’t remotely deserve it all, and Oprah is among the many guilty parties. After all, Frey and his publisher offered refunds, but they’re hardly the only ones who made money off that book.

    Finally, I read A Million Little Pieces after my own twelve-day detox following a ten year drug addiction, and I know I’m not alone in saying that, true or not, the book was an enormous inspiration.

    1. Rat Fink

      Ross, what an amazing story. I’m glad you shared it! Judging by the events and scenarios you wrote, shame on his publisher/agent/whomever for putting him in that position.

      Did he ever “out” the people responsible? I ask because if he was indeed a (nearly) hapless victim of the publishing machine (and as you know, I’m also a publishing “nobody,” so I wouldn’t have a clue), he shouldn’t have been made to sit on Oprah’s sofa and be humiliated.

      Hugs to you for conquering your addiction. Someone very close to me went through it, and while you already know this, I will say to the general public that the addiction of one affects the entire family. Congrats to you, and thanks for the thoughtful and revealing post.

  2. Stein

    I just wanted to comment on the fact that the “Post” button after your comments is now a very fitting “Let Fly” button. Oh, and the author is sick. Doesn’t seem like he cares about God, just the mighty dollar.


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