Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why, Grandmother, what big margins you have!

The better to short you with, my dear!

New York Times Sunday Review, July 24 2016.
What that un-Timesly moat of white represents, of course—vast spaces for meditating—is the column inches meant to be occupied in the spread by the 800-some words of the David Brooks column entitled "The Dark Knight", until some bright spark noticed, sometime Friday morning, that that piece was about 50% plagiarized from the David Brooks column entitled "The Death of the Republican Party", which had appeared that morning in the usual spot.

Or perhaps "The Death of the Republican Party" was plagiarized from "The Dark Knight", it's not easy to say. I'm guessing the assistant who wrote "Trump is Even Trumpier", which appeared in Brooks's spot on Tuesday, also wrote "The Death of the Republican Party", and Brooks himself produced "The Dark Knight", and they didn't so much plagiarize one from the other as they worked from duplicate sets of Brooskian Duplo blocks, each turning the embryonic paragraphs to a somewhat different use. You can check out the evidence at my previous post on this fascinating question, if you have not already done so.

The editors decided to split the difference, deleting "The Death of the Republican Party" from the online edition and "The Dark Knight" from the paper one, and that, with its traces in those margins on the Op-Ed spread, is the whole story, I suppose.

But for one thing I don't think the assistant is supposed to be writing the column, no matter how busy Brooks is with his TV appearances. And all that white space has to be embarrassing. If I were Andrew Rosenthal, I think I'd have to conclude this was a firing offense. But hey, I've said that before.

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