Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ferrets in Heat

I’ve always had kind of a soft spot for ferrets. They’re not as cute as meerkats, but a playwright friend of mine’s sister had a pet ferret. The ferret’s favorite game was to slide under my friend’s bedroom door, knock over his glass of Coke, and lap it up. Who knew that ferrets knew it’s the real thing?

I don’t know if you have been following the ferrets’ latest foray into literature. I didn’t read last week’s New York Times article about this incident very carefully. But last night my former roommate forwarded a Newsweek article to me (“Move Over, ‘Meerkat Manor’”: and I was convulsed with giggles. Instances of plagiarism are fairly frequent in the press- and I don’t mean cribbing your dorm mate’s essay on the importance of New World images in “Pride and Prejudice.” Even the august Doris Kearns Goodwin got caught doing it. I haven’t done it, but I know of at least one instance of someone else passing off my work as his own. But what kind of Author’s League member steals from a nature writer?

Paul Tolme is a freelancer, who specializes in science and nature features. In 2005, he wrote a feature about ferrets in the Dakotas. The first week of January, he was contacted by a romance novel blogger ( who’d found pieces of his prose in Cassie Edwards’ novel “Shadow Bear.” The pieces of his work, in the context of the bodice ripper surrounding them, are hilarious. I don’t want to paraphrase and ruin the real thing. Click on the link above, and get ready for hot-hot-hot ferrets!

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