Imitation, Flattery or Plagiarism?

And does it matter?

Sharp-eyed FOR Devin points out this piece from this week’s ONION, the satirical weekly newspaper:

American Torturing Jobs Increasingly Outsourced
AFL-CIO vice president Linda Chavez-Thompson, representing the American Federation of Interrogation Torturers, released a statement Monday deriding the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program, under which American torturing jobs are outsourced to foreign markets. “Outsourcing the task of interrogating terror suspects to countries like Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia is having a crippling effect on the Americans who make a living by stripping detainees nude, shackling them to the floor, and beating the living shit out of them,” Chavez-Thompson said. “And specialists within the field corrosive-material chemists, ocular surgeons, and testicular electricians are lucky to find any jobs at all. How are they supposed to feed their families?” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended extraordinary rendition, saying the program will create jobs in the long run by fostering a global climate of torture tolerance.

Regular readers of my cartoon will recall my cartoon from Saturday, March 12:

I’m torn about this. On the one hand, after years of not caring much about it either way, I’ve grown to love THE ONION. The thought that they resort to this sort of wholesale idea pilfering is seriously depressing. On the other hand, there are ideas that are out there in the zeitgeist and then there are those like this one, which feels more specific to the sort of stuff that I come up with all alone. And I know for a fact, having been referenced in THE ONION on several occasions, that they do read the cartoon–so even if their writer(s) came up with this without having seen my work, an editor there ought to have caught the, um, similarity.

If I were Bush, I could just have the whole staff tortured overseas, but what are you gonna do?

Schiavo is a Vegetable, Not BrainDead

Daniel writes:

In your 3/28 cartoon, you seem to imply that Terri Schiavo is brain dead (in the 4th pannel). This is not the case, see Terri is indeed profoundly disabled, but she is not brain dead. The only “therapy” she receives is a feeding tube (or “received” before her adulterous husband ordered his wife starved and dehydrated to death). Please get your facts straight.

This sort of thing, and the sight of blood, are the reasons I never wanted to become a doctor. Besides, I sucked at biology. OK, so she’s in a persistent vegetative state. Dude, anyone who gets their facts on the medical details of the Schiavo case from a cartoon is an idiot: I used a colloquialism to make the joke work.

As for Michael being “adulterous”: I don’t know the guy, but the facts indicate that he didn’t meet his girlfriend for at least 3-4 years after Terry went into her present state. While it would have been easier to divorce her at her hospital bed, Newt Gingrich style, he remained married while deciding (shockingly!) to go on and have a life. Why? My guess is that he still loves Terry enough to see through her final wishes, which he believed were to not have her life prolonged in her condition. He needed to maintain his legal standing to do that. Press reports say that both Michael and his girlfriend do Terry’s laundry and keep her clean in the hospice. Yeah, some adulterer–do you think he gets his kicks wiping her ass?

Life is complicated. Michael Schiavo sounds to me like a guy who stands up for his principles and for the promises he makes. The fact that he doesn’t take any shit may piss off those who would run roughshod over him and his reluctance to out-mediawhore the Schindlers may not score him any points with the media, but it earns him my respect.

Age Discrimination OK for Workers Under 40

Bob sends this in:

A short news article for your perusal:
how do you feel about this now that you’re in the +40 set? Being self-employed, I’m sure you feel the same as you did in your halcyon Latchkey Kids days.
The ruling says the +40 set cannot be treated WORSE than young workers. It does nothing to protect young workers from the same abuse!!
Just wondering your thoughts. Being under 30 myself, and relatively well-paid, I merely look at this with a cynical oberver’s view. You made your early career railing against Boomers and Big Business, and have you now come to understand the “fat cat’s” POV on such issues? Do you enslave your child for free labor (what else are they for?)?
I just hope business continues to exploit the young, ’cause it’s better than the alternative. 🙂

I dunno, maybe I wasn’t born with the gene that causes empathy for the young to vanish as you become older and more established. Whatever, I still think this latest court ruling is wrong-headed, evil and plainly a violation of equal protection under the Constitution. While it’s true that age discrimination legislation has traditionally been conceived of with elderly workers in mind, there’s no reason why someone fired for being too young shouldn’t be able to avail herself of the same protection. Just as most racial discrimination legislation had blacks (and maybe Latinos) in mind, why shouldn’t reverse discrimination against whites be covered as well? Congress should quit fucking around with Americans’ personal trials (the Schiavo tragedy) and tighten the age discrimination statute.

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