The lovely and talented Amalah was kind enough to e-mail me yesterday to let me know that someone on MySpace was blatantly plagiarizing some of my posts and passing them off as her own.
Apparently, the young plagiarist is an 18-year old girl from Las Vegas who not only cribbed some of my posts but also ripped off various writing from Amalah, Dooce, and Mr. Nice Guy. Because our young plagiarist is both single and childless, she altered our stories to pass them off as her own adventures in babysitting. The lives of our own children were co-opted as those of her unrelated minions.
How fucking pathetic is that?
Apparently, one of Amalah's 8 million readers discovered the young plagiarist, noticed the similarities immediately and duly informed Amalah of the offending trespass. Amalah then started doing some serious sleuthing of her own and discovered that she wasn't the only victim. Not only did she notify me but she also contacted MySpace to report the plagiarism.
How cool is that?
Personally, I think it's a little amusing that some white teenage chick from the desert would plagiarize the writing of a 37-year-old Korean dude living in New York City. It's almost comically pathetic. However, this does give me the perfect opportunity to rant about the moral turpitude and brain-numbing pile of shit known as MySpace.
I'll be the first to admit it. Maybe I'm just an old geezer who doesn't "get" the whole MySpace experience. Call me old-fashioned but every time I look at a MySpace page, I want to set my eyeballs on fire and smack someone on the side of the head with a dictionary.
Now, I'm happily married with a child and an actual career. So, yeah, maybe I don't "get" MySpace because I'm not looking to "hook up wit a hottie" or "get wildz and crazeeee!"
But even if I were young and single? I don't think I'd be cruising the pages of MySpace. In fact, there are so many things that I hate about MySpace, I don't even know where to begin. But I'll give it a try...
I hate how MySpace denigrates the meaning of the word "friend." For me, the concept of friendship is something special. As I've said before, a friend is someone who knows everything about you and likes you anyway, who knows you're suffering even when you're fooling everyone else, and who will always volunteer to drive you around in a white Bronco while 200 police cars follow you down the Interstate.
However, MySpace "friends" are cheap and meaningless. They're a dime a dozen. The whole point of MySpace is to accrue as many friends as possible. It doesn't matter if you know anything about that person at all. Just push a button and ask them to add you as a friend! Somehow, this will provide you with a sense of self-worth that you're sorely missing from the real world. After all, can you really be a loser if you have 3,247 friends?
Well, as most profiles on MySpace demonstrate, clearly you can!
"Look at this profile! Her name's ForBidDen BuTTerCup. She's from Miami and she's HOTTT! That's all I know about her 'cos she's hot and she's my FRIEND!"
Look, Fucko, I hate to break it to you but ForBidDen BuTTerCup is probably a dude. And he doesn't live in Miami. He lives at home with his mother and wants nothing more than for you to send him photos of yourself in your skivvies. See, there's a reason that some of these people are on the internet 20 hours/day and not hanging out with all the "kewl" friends that they allegedly have in real life. They're freaks, dude! Don't be busting out that webcam and taking pictures of yourself in your underoos just yet!
Another thing that bothers me about MySpace if the blatant pimping of cheap sexuality. How come every time I look at a MySpace profile, I feel like I'm looking at a future $1.00 stripper working the Bada Bing room off the Jersey Turnpike? Because just as MySpace cheapens the concept of friendship, it also cheapens the notion of sexuality.
Have you seen the women on MySpace? It's like the land of the sluts. Virtually every girl is either showing some serious cleavage, flashing their thongs, or auditioning for a part on the next Girls Gone Wild video. Sadly, most of these girls appear to be either underage or in college (where they can unleash their inner slut.) Now, personally, the thing that I find most bothersome is the sense that somehow, we (as a society) have reached a point where the true meaning of sexy has been completely lost.
You know what's sexy to me? A beautiful face with a great smile, a nice easy-going laugh, a curiously intelligent mind, a kind heart, and an effortless sense of style. You want to know what's NOT sexy? Surgically enhanced mammaries and seeing the outline of your vulva in your boy shorts. You're 17 years old. I don't want to see your catcher's mitt.
Don't worry. I haven't forgotten about you MySpace guys either. Let me tell you, I think it's hilarious that most of you pose without a shirt on. We get it, buddy. You're buff. You like to pump iron, take steroids, and flex your muscles in group photos with your buddies like you're doing a reenactment of Spartacus in your parents' garage. If you spent half as much time reading a book as you do working out, that future job in waste management wouldn't have to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Eventually, your he-man titties are going to sag and your balls are going to recede into your stomach. Where will you be then, Mr. MuscleHustLe22?
It shouldn't surprise anyone that there are sexual predators cruising around on MySpace. After all, virtually everyone on the site sets themselves up as sexual prey. And sure, MySpace didn't invent the phenomenon of pedophilia but, at the same time, they don't seem to be really doing anything to discourage the behavior either. Sure, they've made some well-publicized changes in age requirements. However, there's virtually no way to enforce those measures.
Speaking of age, the latest statistics show that 52% of MySpace users are 35 or older. However, out of that 52%, it's been proven that 90% are pedophiles and the other 10% are losers. (Ok, I made those last two statistics up. But seriously, if you're over 35, what the hell are you doing on MySpace?)
The only redeeming factor for MySpace is that it serves as a good publicity tool for established bands, aspiring musicians, stand-up comics, and writers. However, to those people, I urge you to read the fine print. According to the Proprietary Rights in Content on MySpace.com...
"By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services."
Bet most of you didn't know that, right?
Anyway, I could go on for days about how much I hate MySpace. However, I'll just let it go right now.
But Claudia? I come out to Vegas several times a year. Perhaps next time I'm in town, the two of us can have a drink at the Bellagio and you can regale me with all your stories about raising a two-year-old Korean-American daughter in Manhattan.
After all, it seems we have so much in common.