From the “You’ve Got to be Fucking Kidding Me” department comes this story via GalleyCat: spiritual author Neale Donald Walsch admitted to plagiarizing a story by another writer, Candy Chand. In the NY Times article, Walsch is quoted as saying
In a telephone interview, Mr. Walsch, 65, who said he regularly gave 10 to 20 speeches a year, said he had been retelling the anecdote in public as his own for years. “I am chagrined and astonished that my mind could play such a trick on me,” he said.
Pardon my French, but Bull Almighty Fucking Shit. I’ve got the worst memory in the history of Milton Bradley and I can do better than that.
Ms. Chand isn’t buying it either:
Ms. Chand said in a telephone interview that she did not believe Mr. Walsch’s explanation. “If he knew this was wrong, he should have known it was wrong before he got caught,” she said. “Quite frankly, I’m not buying it.”
But wait, there’s more! On Walsch’s personal blog, after he confessed all and admitted he’d made a big honking mistake, over 100 readers and fans fell all over themselves to reassure him that he was still, in fact, the man. Among the highlights of what-the-fuckery:
I don’t see the big deal in what happened, and I mean no disrespect to Ms. Chand. Stuff like that happens to me, and all of us, all the time.
When I thought it through, I realized that this idea could have been seeded into many minds through the collective consciousness, and that it was in no way plagiarism on your part. Heck, I could have heard something like that somewhere and wrote away, its possible.
I sinscerely pray that Ms. Chand accepts your gracious apology in light of the circumstances that you have attempted to correct the misconception…. I can imagine a possibility that Ms. Chand might even be flattered by an author of your stature finding in her work such quality that it moved him to breed further life into it by putting it on this very public and popular forum. I can even conceive of the possibility that Ms. Chand, whom sadly I have never heard, might actually benefit from the attention given it.
This Candy Chand is also a spiritual writer. Neale was spiritual enough to recognize his mistake, let’s hope Candy Chand and Beliefnet are spiritual enough to forgive it.
While a few readers call Walsch to task for his deceit, most reassure him and beg him to continue writing, even though BeliefNet, where Walsch’s plagiarising of Chand’s story occurred on 28 December 2008, has withdrawn Walsch from their group of writers. In most of the comments online, plagiarism yet again is a theft that is made into a minor borrowing when a bigger celebrity does the word harvesting.
In a rather eerie coincidence noticed only by, well, me, this week marks the date of the first post one year ago about another plagiarism scandal. Only instead of “the authors ought to be flattered” comments, our story garnered, and we still receive, “You are evil and you’re going to hell and I’ll be the one to send you there” email.
Plagiarism: still making readers batshit crazy after all these years.