Award-winning novelist and memoirist Jamaica Kincaid, who couldn't countenance working for a New Yorker that had anything to do with Roseanne Barr, is now in a better place: visiting professor at Harvard. But what sort of undergrad does she hang with? According to our English Department sources up in Cambridge (don't laugh), Kincaid, author of Lucy and A Small Place, has agreed to spend the next academic year advising the senior thesis of Kaavya Viswanathan, non-author of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. For the benefit of whatever Harvard disciplinary committee overlooks creative-writing theses, let's get the obvious festivities started:
As 2006 huffs toward its inexorable end, we decided to take a moment to recognize those personalities that made our job that much more tolerable this year. These are the people who gave us endless fodder for our douchebag mill, who were attracted to the spotlight like moths to a flame, whose stated disdain for our coverage of them was contradicted by their almost pathetic attempts to court it. The adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity has never felt more apt.
Who cares about anything besides real estate, IVF, and getting into prestigious exclusive colleges? Not New York, clearly. This week's inferiority-complex inducer is an article about the insane impossibility of getting into college, wherein crazily overqualified applicants are evaluated, then dismissed ("a red flag is the Ping Pong club" "it still puts him in the right range for a minority, socioeconomically disadvantaged student") by an expert: "Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise, a school-admissions consulting company."
For the two of you who still care what America's favorite
YA author copykitten has been up to lately, this video finds her on the Dark Continent. Watch for the scenic shots of wildlife, the glamor shot of a windswept Kaavya listening to her ipod and looking bored in a Jeep, and the money shot of the text that asks if we're "tired of seeing the same images again and again."
Ahh, that's our Kaavya. Ever questing for originality.
At left, a cartoon published on October 12 by Newday's Walt Handelsman; at right, a cartoon published in the Harvard Crimson by Kathleen E. Breeden on October 25. As the Crimson reports, there's a "noticeable similarity" between the two. "Further review of other cartoons drawn by Breeden has yielded three other examples of similarities among her work and editorial cartoons featured on Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index, a Web site that lists and organizes editorial cartoons from around the world." This incident follows the suspension of a column by the Crimson'sVictoria B. Ilyinsky after Ilyinsky was found to have ripped off material from Slate. There's an easy Kaavya Viswanathan joke here, but at least Kaavya plagiarized from an actual book; stealing stuff from the Internet seems so much more lazy. What are the odds that both these girls' claimed to "build large suspension bridges in my yard" in their admission essays?
The kids at IvyGate take a break from their non-stop Aleksey D. Vayner coverage to note the return to print of ur-Vayner Kaavya Viswanathan. Kaavya's got a profile of 85 Broads founder Janet Hanson in a magazine put out by Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business. The piece is pretty flat, but, as the Gaters note, there is a particular poignance to the passage below:
As summer turns to fall and annoying children are removed from the streets and properly corralled into their educational stables, we turn our thoughts to those storied Ivy institutions where said beastchildren will inevitably enroll. So, Harvard — 'sup with junior Kaavya Viswanathan? After her overhyped debut, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life was revealed to contain quite a few instances of shameless plagiarism, she left campus and spent her summer interning for 85 Broads, an organization that sent her to Africa where no one knew of her shame. But now it's back to school for Kaavya — how's life back on campus? Is she keeping busy? From Harvard Magazine:
• Jennifer Aniston's publicist denies Us Weekly's report that Aniston and Vince Vaughn are engaged, but he's made a lot of false denials before. Wait, does this suggest that publicists are merely paid liars? No. Can't be. [Us Weekly]
• Maxim's girl of the day: Floyd Landis. Ain't she a looker? [Maxim]
• New Observer owner Jared Kushner puts in 20-hour days. Doing what? Marveling at his fortune? Showing off how freakishly tall he is? [OAN]
• Old man Larry King drives like...an old man. [TMZ]
• After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams falls off the wagon and into rehab. It's the circle of celebrity life. [AP]
• Pity the Harvard freshmen who get Kaavya Viswanathan as their student advisor. Though she surely could offer guidance on how to get that creative writing assignment quickly completed. [IANS]
• NB to beauty bloggers: do NOT trust Allure. They will take your words regarding your favorite mascara, and they will destroy those words. No respect. [Beauty Addict]
• Is E! gossip Ted Casablancas getting the Star Jones treatment? We hope not, 'cause Giuliana certainly isn't any Barbara Walters. [Media Mob]
• Mel Gibson loves the girls in Philly. A little too much, perhaps. [PhillyNews]
• PowerHouse Books starts a magazine featuring content from PowerHouse books, creating an "indie media clusterfuck." Ooh, the clusterfucking means they're mainstream now. Congrats. [Animal]
• Our Los Angeles brother Defamer imagines the TomKat-n-Suri photoshoot for Vanity Fair. Chilling. [Defamer]
• Contrary to popular belief, keeping kosher does NOT protect you from tapeworms. [NYT]
• Everyone's favorite gay escort-cum-White House reporter Jeff Gannon/James Guckert will be speaking this Thursday at the 3 West Club for the Log Cabin Republicans' monthly meeting. Hopefully, it'll be just like a Learning Annex session: how to transform your internet hobby into a viable prostitution endeavor. [Productshop NYC]
• Misguided farter Larry King tries to set up Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper. [Malcontent]
• MyTimes, the Times do-it-yourself homepage service, launches in Beta tonight for some 5,000 users. Some homeless person gave us his login info, and OMG IT IS SO TOTALLY NOT EXCITING. More on that tomorrow. [E&P]
• Shamu is more popular than Star Jones — while they may be of equal stature, one knows how to keep its mouth shut. [Eat the Press]
• New regime at Vibe results in twenty fired staffers. Bodies strewn across a dead-end street... [AdAge]
• Journalist Neil Strauss continues to pimp his pimping skills, drifts further from anything ever resembling a writing career. [iFilm]
• Suri Cruise looks increasingly fake; c'mon, you care! [TMZ]
soccer football captain Zinedine Zidane ended his career by headbutting an Italian player's chest during Sunday's World Cup final, and he might have the right idea: Rick Santorum certainly deserves a headbutt or seven. [HuffPo]
• Self-promoting memoirist Toby Young knows you're going to say his second book sucks. [Mediabistro]
• Precocious fabulist Kaavya Viswanathan's archived blog. [Kahini12]
• Anti-abortion blogger gets worked up over "Caroline Webber," a columnist who writes positively about her abortion and is thus branded a murderer. Nevermind the fact that the offensive, murderous column ran in The Onion. While we feign tolerance and respect of all points of view, those pro-life people sure are fucking stupid. [March Together for Life]
Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard sophomore who was caught plagiarizing her highly-publicized, studio-optioned debut novel, has wisely disappeared into relative obscurity since her little kerfuffle. But just because she destroyed her "writing" career and can no longer make a dime on her name doesn't mean that someone can't make a profit off of the whole thing:
• Just in time for the long weekend, it's a Paris Hilton nip slip. Personally, we find the footage of her writhing around in the sand, trying so hard to be sexy for her new video, to be far more comical than stupid ol' areola. [TMZ]
• And yet again, another exploration that blogging and menial desk jobs do not always mix. Thanks, we think everyone's got it now. [NYT]
• Jeff Koons brings his sculptural magic to the park at 7 World Trade Center; we don't care if balloon flower sculptures have been all over the place, there's still something about it that just looks dirty. [Animal]
• Kaavya Viswanathan finally joins the ranks of JT Leroy and Go Ask Alice. [Wikipedia]
• The Morning News releases its 2006 Editors' Awards for Online Excellence. We're honored to be noted for our creepiness factor. [TMN]
• An ode to the hipsters whose time has most definitely passed. [Gazpachot]
• We write for everyone, even high school dropouts. [Muckraked]
• Another reason to love Frank Bruni: while on his grand fast-food tour, he got lost because his companion was reading Us Weekly aloud, distracting Bruni from the road and luring him into the world of Charlie and Denise. We've all been there, buddy. [Diner's Journal]
A&E got nostalgic this weekend, rerunning the episode of Breakfast With the Arts from the halcyon days when Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan was not yet known as an uber-plagiarizer. The episode was done in two parts, the first featuring Kaavya reading from Opal Mehta (taped pre-scandal, of course) and then giving an interview; the second, an update on the story with the Observer's Sheelah Kolhatkar.
The Morning News has finally picked a winner in their Sloppy Seconds With Opal Mehta contest. Inspired by the multi-sourced plagiasm of Kaavya Viswanathan, TMN put it to readers to create an "original" piece plagiarized from no less than 5 works. The winner is Virginian Bonnie Furlong, who plagiarized a whopping 79 different passages for her story — and, in turn, served Kaavya her weak ass on a plate.
• In latest stats, newspaper circ is — of course — down. One exception: The mighty NYT. Yay. Elsewhere in town, the Post-News gap narrows, as Rupe's tab loses fewer readers than Mort's. [E&P]
• Bauer to sell Life & Style and In Touch for only a quarter in two weeks. Hey, it worked for the Post. [Ad Age]
• The Forbes family seeks outside investors for European expansion. Being filthy rich apparently ain't what it used to be. [NYT]
• The Times new Weddings/Celebrations videos: Appalling, addictive slideshows. [Slate]
• Kaavya ain't the only plagiarizer out there. [NYM]
• Michael Jackson is mad at GQ, which made fun of him. [BBC]