Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

An article on The New York Times web site today details the recent uproar over Helene Hegemann’s new best-selling book “Axolotl Roadkill” and whether shouts of plagiarism are warranted or simply overreaction. The book, whose author is a mere 17 years of age, is receiving equal parts vehement support and detraction. As Nicholas Kulish details in the Times article, the book has been nominated as a finalist of the Leipzig Book Fair–no small accomplishment.

However, many others feel that there were simply too many passages lifted, nearly verbatim, from other sources to be considered a legitimately original work. Many of the borrowed passages come from a work called “Strobo” by Airen and from his blog.

PressEurope, makes an interesting observation about what it dubs the “virtual poets society,” in which there is no longer any distinction between fact and fiction. Hegemann maintains that there is in fact, “no such thing as originality anyway, there’s only authenticity.”

Merriam-Webster online defines authenticity as “conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features” and “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” My question is, can one really be true to one’s own character when he or she is slipping into the work of another person like a costume?


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I found an interesting blog that also happens to be part of The New York Times, like the Grammar News section I mentioned in a previous post. The blog is called After Deadline and examines “questions of grammar, usage and style encountered by writers and editors of The Times.”

This is potentially an informative and useful resource for those in journalism using AP style.

Tuesday’s post tackled varied subjects, from the phrase “openly gay,” describing when it is in/appropriate to use it to the recurring mistake of calling people who have moved from Puerto Rico to the United States “immigrants,” when in fact, they are not immigrants but U.S. citizens.

There is also a section called Bright Passages in which the author, Philip B. Corbett, brings our attention to what he calls “sparkling prose” that has been featured in various articles in The Times. I really enjoyed this section for the deft composition skills that it showed off and for that fact that rather than simply pointing out mistakes, as many grammar blogs do, it offered the reader a chance to admire some of the more resourceful and pithy phrasing in current reporting.

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For all you grammar lovers out there (and maybe haters too!) there’s a fabulous feature in The New York Times that you can access online under Times Topics called Grammar News. It features the On Language columns by William Safire (always an interesting read) as well as a wide selection of articles about grammar.

Some of you out there may already be familiar with this resource but for those just starting out in the editing and writing business, it’s a good and interesting source that you may not have yet come across.

You can also research grammar articles at Questia.com, which features free, full-text books, journals, and articles on thousands of topics. For example, if you’re preparing to become or already are a Language Arts or ESL (English as  second language) teacher, you could find the complete text of The Teacher’s Grammar Book by James D. Williams in this online library and read it for free. I love two things about this site: that it’s free and full text. How could you not love that!


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