Wednesday, 22 February 2006

A treatise concerning Bushmen and pear-shaped males

The South African literary pond is sometimes even too small for medium-sized fish. I love a good spat between people that can write well. Thanks to the Sunday Times - it is all available online:

Stephen Watson's article (originally published in New Contrast - sort of "his" journal) in which he accuses Antjie Krog of stealing his ideas.

Antjie Krog's response (as any boxer could tell Watson, big hitters are never quite down, never give them a reason to start swinging)

Annie Gagiano's prior assessment of Stephen Watson's book (Stephen Who? The poet? What did he publish? Oh... oh! You mean the guy who accused the famous poet of plagiarism!)

A word is also in order about Tom Eaton:

Tom Eaton, editor of New Contrast, confirmed that Watson was a member of the journal’s board but said that this had not influenced his decision to use the piece.
“This was a very interesting article that is very pertinent to the plagiarism debate that is dragging on,” he said.
“If it’s someone else’s idea or words, in the extreme case, and you haven’t referenced or given credit where credit is due, it’s theft.”

Well Tom, of course it is pertinent to the debate, but only because of your decision to place the article that started the whole debate in the first place. Well, thanks for that, now we can enjoy the chaos.

To be fair, Tom Eaton is sometimes funny as a columnist - well, in a sort of 'I-am-trying-to-write-like-Darrel-Bristow-Bovey' kind of way. Do you remember Darrel Bristow-Bovey? Well, I get the feeling that the Cape Times is trying to use Tom Eaton as the columnist to replace the disgraced Bristow-Bovey.

Now here is something freaky: Seen from behind, one would struggle to distinguish between Tom Eaton and Darrel Bristow-Bovey. They are both slightly over-weight (just a little) and they are both pear-shaped (something very rare and slightly disgusting in males). However, according to Bristow-Bovey's number one fan, Darrel has an excuse, it must have been all those TV-dinners he munched while he did research for the "What's On" column back in the days. Now, Tom Eaton, like another infamous pear-shaped male - namely Adolf Hitler, has no such excuse that I am aware of. As Hitler's scientists realised later, it is a dangerous game to judge character from physical features, but there might be a pattern.

Come to think of it, Mussolini was also slightly overweight and pear-shaped. [I knew an old man from Barrydale that saw Mussolini's body swinging upside down slung from the roof of a gas station in Italy, but that was long ago and a totally different story with an unhappy ending and a burnt-out airplane falling in the wrong part of Europe in the wrong year]. Oh, Napoleon Bonaparte also had this pear-shape -- It must have been great for horse-riding over the steppe in winter - Josephine [before he leaves the house in the morning]: "Don't get blown apart, Bonaparte!"

Oh, and don't forget Stalin (slightly overweight and pear-shaped). Do we see a pattern here? The only counter-example I can think of is Chairman Mao - he was slightly overweight, but had the classic male apple-shape with the bulk in the tummy and not in the bum.

Oh and for Darrel Bristow-Bovey fans - click here for a publisher's bio completely omitting his plagiarist past. Shame, plagiarising Bill Bryson, what were you thinking???

1 comment:

  1. What a strange little man you are (revelling, I am certain, in an Adonis-like banana shape which must have the ladies - or men? - gasping). As Bristow-Bovey's biggest fan, you must surely have some inkling of the plagiarism debate having existed prior to the Krog issue? Or do you only admire Bovey for his cute little golden delicious body shape? Rumour has it that you're actually an academic, in which case I hope your department is anything but English. Perhaps botany?