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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Short-lived Stardom

Desi chick-lit Kaavya Viswanathan has got herself into trouble. I wasn’t following the developments in the last 2 days and hence was not aware of this controversy. The only thing I read about Kaavya recently was her interview that appeared in the Sunday edition of The Hindu and the latest edition of Outlook.

A casual look at my Statcounter revealed that lot of people have landed on my blog by searching for plagiarism charges related to Kaavya. I decided to probe further and came to know about this burning issue. A report in The Harvard Crimson says that some parts of "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life," are strikingly similar to a novel published five years ago. Sepia Mutiny and Dart Blog have detailed analysis of the plagiarism charges. We need to see whether Kaavya’s publisher goes ahead with her second book. I still feel that the movie deal might go through.

18 Comments:

  • The first comment came upon in my mind is this. "How could she ever do this.. and that too from a harvard academic?"

    I guess based on this, her academic referencing is goin to go under a hell lot of scrutiny.

    That was so nasty. Do u know, plagiarism is considered one of the worst sins for an academic, to the extent that we students may even be expelled from our university for that?!!

    By Blogger Chez, at 3:52 PM  

  • She might just end up selling more books in fact

    By Blogger Patrix, at 3:55 PM  

  • all this thing is normal me think. You know the amount of rip-off books out there. But the paragraphs seems to be similar, the idea and all, so much is left to know whether she stole it or not. Pity, such a proud moment gone to waste.But dont the editors in the first place should have looked into this?! So she got a crappy good for nothing editor!

    By Blogger Ghost Particle, at 6:22 PM  

  • my blog has also been getting tons of hits with that search engine.. seems as though our blogs are linked to the 'crimson' paper...

    she is in deep trouble..

    she is not going to be sleeping in peace for awhile due to all the public scrutiny she will have to face... sad..

    By Blogger Chick Pea, at 7:48 PM  

  • The book by itself didn't get +ve reviews by the ecclesiastics. She has a good PR and lot of coverage in pulp media (she appeared in today's Boston Metro newspaper). I agree with Patrix comment on selling mroe stuff.

    By Blogger Boston Bala, at 9:35 PM  

  • hi kaps, it's really sad. i read just the first chapter and liked it a lot.

    it would have been nice if she hadnt lifted from those two books. but if the passages quoted in the news reports were the only ones she plagiarised, i think people shouldnt mind too much about it, and should go gentle on her.

    my own views on this kind of lifting changed immensely after i read a superb piece by malcolm gladwell in new yorker. it's here

    By Blogger Ramnath, at 2:44 AM  

  • Here's an AP report picked up by NYTimes. It quotes Kaavya Viswanthan saying

    ''When I was in high school, I read and loved two wonderful novels by Megan McCafferty, `Sloppy Firsts' and `Second Helpings,' which spoke to me in a way few other books did. Recently, I was very surprised and upset to learn that there are similarities between some passages in my novel ... and passages in these books''

    ''While the central stories of my book and hers are completely different, I wasn't aware of how much I may have internalized Ms. McCafferty's words. I am a huge fan of her work and can honestly say that any phrasing similarities between her works and mine were completely unintentional and unconscious. My publisher and I plan to revise my novel for future printings to eliminate any inappropriate similarities.

    ''I sincerely apologize to Megan McCafferty and to any who feel they have been misled by these unintentional errors on my part.''

    By Blogger Ramnath, at 11:08 AM  

  • I'm planning to pen a novel "Dada", and it is going to be a word-for-word copy of "The Godfather". Then I'll say, "Er, when I was in college, I so very well internalized Mario Puzo's novel, that I unconsciously wrote the same words as he. I apologise to Mr. Puzo, RIP."

    By Anonymous Vijay Krishna, at 2:55 PM  

  • Hahaha...VIjay said it better...

    By Blogger Ghost Particle, at 5:40 PM  

  • Ahamkara. But she deserves it. The book itself was about ahamkara. Really very embarassing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 PM  

  • Fitting that her stated ambition is to become a merchant banker!

    With her gift for the disingenuous she ought to succeed there too.

    Little evidence of any moral compass in this gal's progress - very far removed from a "Bend it like Beckham" image...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:38 AM  

  • Follow up :
    Its been the hot news in radio /TV today !
    Reason:The deal is worth $500K!!

    http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2006/04/25/after_duplicated_words_words_of_apology/

    By Anonymous Prabhu, at 6:04 AM  

  • @Chez,
    her standing in Harvard could get affected as others might look down upon her.

    @Patrix,
    very much possible

    @Raajk,
    The interview provided lot of entertainment, especially when read after the plagiarism charges broke out.

    @GP,
    Normal doesn't mean that it is an acceptable norm.

    @Chick Peas,
    I guess she would be under lot of stress.

    @Boston,
    You are right. the reviews have been pretty bad.

    @Ramnath,
    thanks for the gladwell link. it made interesting reading.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 2:19 PM  

  • @Vijay Krishna,
    LOL. Is somebody ready to pay you $500K?

    @Prabhu,
    it's all over the place. it is even at the top of technorati.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 2:21 PM  

  • I read in an interview that the publisher initially thought her writing "too dark," and that was part of how she ended up working with a book packager.
    The rest of it, of course, is that the whole deal -- the overpaid contract, and all the the hype about her age (remember, they signed her for a $500,00 advance before she even HAD a book) -- it's all about making her a personality, to sell the movie.
    Real, competent, chicklit authors actually aren't 17.
    It's a fantasy package, same as her Harvard application -- she was also "packaged" at a cost of between $10-20,000 by a professional ivy league applicant counsellor.
    This really is not just a person, but rather a person trying to be a product.
    As for the writing itself, well, the plagerized bits I've seen (the count of lifted passages is in the 50s on some lists) are all bits of light verbal play.
    Not exactly jokes, but the kind of thing that make up an author's voice. That make it less dark and serious, and more witty.
    She needed a lighter voice, so she took someone else's.
    As a college writing instructor I've seen lots of plagerisms. This is what the good ones look like. My own suspicion is that she had both the books open with her as she wrote. (The count went up when they checked the next book in McCafferty's series.)
    If I'd ever had her in a class I would think this a good time to double-check her old term papers. People who cheat, cheat a lot.
    At this point it is basically going to be settled by the lawyers, and the case is pretty open and shut. The only question is how long it will take certainly the movie people, probably the publisher, and possibly the college, to end their contracts with her, based on fraud.
    Any one here want her as their banker?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:50 AM  

  • Kaavya has learned a hard lesson early in life. The seduction of quick success, fame, and an easy life are hard to resist. I hope that she will use this experience and write something definitive that must spring from all her learning--perhaps she will put her intelligence to its intended purpose.
    How responsible are her parents in all of this? What values did they encourage for their daughter's life? Did they use their expectations to bend the child's natural inclinations for growth? Do our children have to perform for our glory?
    As the good Gloria Steinem said, intelligence without character is dangerous. Kaavya, you are lucky to have been given a good lesson when you are still young enough to learn.
    Shame and humiliation are hard to discard. You will always shudder when you think of this time... but you have to weave it all into your life and lighten the burden by growing in your integrity.
    Use your mind well.
    Kamakb

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 PM  

  • Kaavya has learned a hard lesson early in life. The seduction of quick success, fame, and an easy life are hard to resist. I hope that she will use this experience and write something definitive that must spring from all her learning--perhaps she will put her intelligence to its intended purpose.
    How responsible are her parents in all of this? What values did they encourage for their daughter's life? Did they use their expectations to bend the child's natural inclinations for growth? Do our children have to perform for our glory?
    As the good Gloria Steinem said, intelligence without character is dangerous. Kaavya, you are lucky to have been given a good lesson when you are still young enough to learn.
    Shame and humiliation are hard to discard. You will always shudder when you think of this time... but you have to weave it all inot your life and lighten the burden by growing in your integrity.
    Use your mind well.
    Kamakb

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:19 PM  

  • hard luck for Kaavya!! her two-book deal has been cancelled AND dream works has dropped the rights to a How Opal... movie.

    to make things worse...she's got more plagiarising charges slapped on her!! itz not looking too sunny!! :)

    By Blogger S, at 12:50 PM  

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