Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thy name that is my enemy

In which I start a small class war, accidentally-ish.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Freakonomics plagiarism.
Well done

Tim Footman said...

Except I haven't read Freakonomics.

Although the fact that I can apparently plagiarise it without reading it does seem to imply that the book consists of common sense observations dressed up with statistics.

Anonymous said...

you've never read any pieces by Levitt?

Tim Footman said...

Not knowingly (until I read that Slate article), but I do tend to find that kind of pop-social-science-offering-an-answer-to-everything rather hard going. It took me a week to plough through Blink which, since it's a book that advocates the wonders of first impressions (I think) is slightly inappropriate.

Incidentally, I don't want to be a Nazi and block anonymous comments, but we tend to put our heads above the parapet here. It's not Alcoholics Anonymous, you know.

dh said...

Any regrets? About reviving class warfare I mean.

amyonymous said...

wow, you managed to offend on two levels - plagiarism charges and class warfare! funny that, when i read the article, i thought it was just interesting and quite correct. then i read the comments and realized i had it all wrong: i should have been offended and i should have read some pop-culture pseudo-science book and known you were stealing from it without even reading it!

what a feat for a simple columnist to do....

Valerie said...

As a former psychological researcher, I found Blink to be pap crap. I enjoyed Freakonomics for the read, and certainly he touches on the same subject as your article, but plagiarism implies that you actually copied something word-for-word or at least closely paraphrased, which you didn't.

Oh well, I enjoyed the article. A couple pf teachers I know have run into little girls named "Female" (pronounced feh-MAH-lay) more than once in San Diego, where there are many non-English speakers apparently somewhat baffled by birth certificate lingo (one mother explained to my mom, who speaks Spanish, that she thought the hospital was naming the baby for her). I do think it's hard to avoid amusement at some names, and preconceived notions at others, though my set of 'preconceived notions' is probably different than the next person's.

Billy said...

I thought it was a good article. Never mind what those loonier CIFers think.

Annie Rhiannon said...

"Incidentally, I don't want to be a Nazi and block anonymous comments, but we tend to put our heads above the parapet here. It's not Alcoholics Anonymous, you know"

Lollerskates, exactly.

I saw a section of Freakonomics covering a similar topic, but not in such a Tim Footman kind of way. I think the woman in Freakonomics named her baby Clitoris, or Vagina, or soemthing like that, but I can't remember exactly.

Tim Footman said...

Thank you. I think if we followed the logic of some people, Simon Hoggart in The Guardian would be accused of plagiarism for writing about the Blair>Brown handover, because Michael White wrote about the same thing.

Although my favourite comment comes from the anonymous entity above (I presume the two anons are the same person). "you've never read any pieces by Levitt?" implies the same shocked tone when you discover someone who's never heard The Beatles.

I'd always thought the 'Female' story was an urban myth, Valerie, but I see how it can happen... Actually, it sounds like a perfectly OK name. Better than Fifi Trixibelle, at least.

Voice from the Village said...

Funny you should mention the name Kyle in your CiF piece. It always ges me thinking about the Paisleys. (Revd Ian & offspring.) So I plead guilty to negative associations.
As for Freakonomics - I came away thinking I didn't enjoy that as much as everyone was telling I should. I think it was the name section that made me dubious. The authors talk about "Shithead" as a name for a girl - pronounced "shuh-TEED" I think. Can this be true? I thought not. I haven't encountered amongst Americans in the USA or elsewhere. Has anyone?

patroclus said...

I didn't enjoy Freakonomics; the content was quite interesting, but I didn't like the writing style (a bit bland and unengaging), and I really didn't like the way it's interspersed with little snippets about how brilliant the writer is. That's for me to decide, not for the book to tell me.

I much prefer Steven Johnson for pop social science stuff; he has a lot of genuine enthusiasm and a lovely rhythmic quality to his writing that makes you forget you're reading.

(I'm not just saying that because he's quite nice to look at.)

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

My real name is William Colonel Hogarth Malthusian Drill Asquith You Shall Receive Monkey Henry The Forth of Clyde the Fifth. Incredibly if you take the letters from these names it is possible to form the name, Andrew, and so for that amusing reason, I call mnyself Andrew.

Annie Rhiannon said...

Maybe "Anonymous" is their real name and that's why this whole thing is such a touchy subject for them.

bye bye bellulah said...

I've read lots of those pop books over the last couple of years, (they're perfect for longish train journeys), and now I notice similarities in other articles and comments fairly frequently. It's interesting to see different angles on the same points and usually pretty obvious when it's been inspired by the book, and when it's arisen in a zeitgeisty response to the world in which we live in.

Hm, a red one, please. Last one this weekend - aaarrrggghhh!