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Wanted, Assistant.

Apparently, Dan Brown has an assistant called Blythe. This assistant is emerging as "a key partner in Brown's phenomenal success, researching and suggesting plot ideas," in the case about non-fiction authors wanting money because some of their ideas ended up in fiction and being acknowledged for it. I look forward to the many lawsuits brought against authors from now on for doing research and acknowledging their sources and Blythe's eventual sacrifice as a scape goat as the bad assistant who lead the poor Brown down the path of plagiarism. Well, some kind of plagiarism.

Still, I have decided that I need an assistant. Obviously, if I am to be rich and famous and write bad novels, I need one. Plus, I like the idea of sitting round, playing video games, while someone does the hard work for me.

Consider the following carefully, and if you are interested, please send me your Assistant Resume.



Wanted, Assistant.


  • Location Not Important

  • Career Orientated Opportunity

  • Must Be Able to Read At High School Graduate Level



Obscure author seeks assistant. Great opportunity for research minded individual. Pay Negotiable. Accommodation will be provided as part of "salary" package. Do you know how to dry wall? Job Ideal as second "income" for already established assistant, possibly with famous "author".

Looks count. Don't think that they don't. Authors are not very attractive. They require attractive assistants. If you are attractive you're not a real author. This is one of the rules about being an author. It's in the secret handbook, right next to other authors phone numbers, favourite dishes, and addresses, so you can go to their houses and get contacts. This job requires a proficiency in making sedatives so that author may take them to supermodel parties is desirable. Cage building and welding experience is also desirable. Please advise if you have experience keeping live animals. Must have pleasant phone manner.

Please understand, you will not receive co-author status. You will not become your own author. Your ideas and your hard work are all that is sought. You will be well admired and loved as intellectual slave labour, but you will not be able to use this position as a stepping stone to success as an author. There is no ladder to success. This job is good for those without any self esteem. The handbook advises me to add that.

Thank you.

Comments

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ataxi
Mar. 15th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
She's also his wife. Sounds like a horrible relationship, but maybe it isn't.

"I look forward to the many lawsuits brought against authors from now on for doing research and acknowledging their sources"

There's doing research and there's cribbing. Baigent and Leigh may not have any claim to money from Brown, but Brown doesn't have much claim to the money he's earned either. The scenario exposes how bogus the legal mechanisms for protecting IP are.
benpeek
Mar. 15th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
i read that as his wife and assistant were two different people, myself.

as for the research/cribbing scenario, its not going to be very clear. the line is very thin, really, and you could argue that even the stink of an idea in there is stealing an intellectual property.which puts literature as a whole on a very shaky foundation, really.
ataxi
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
"Brown countered that neither he nor his wife and assistant Blythe"

No way - Blythe and wife are one and the same.

Compare it to music, I guess. A lot of creative endeavours reuse other material in an uncreative way, so one has to question the ethical side of giving the recycler/cannibal/tomb-robber 100% IP rights over the "new" creation.

In Brown's case his (or Blythe's?) contribution seems to have been recognising that a particular preexisting storyline (Jesus/Magdalene/Prieure de Sion etc.) had the controversial potential to sell books, and then repackaging that storyline inside a page-turning thriller of relatively poor quality. Does he really deserve $BIGNUM for that?
benpeek
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
yeah, i guess you may be right about the wife/assistant. damn. i should've listed marriage proposals accepted in my want ad.

anyhow, as is said below, i think it's more a case of using a non fiction and fiction book here. brown used a bit of history for his fictional account--which is hardly a unique thing. that the history was controverisal is besides the point. it was presented as a fact by the writers of the non fiction, and brown used it as that within his novel.

of course, he doesn't deserve the money his made from the book, but then who does deserve that kind of cash?
exp_err
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
From my point of view, the authors of the source work published their work as non-fiction, as history. Brown's novel was fiction set within that "history", which I think is perfectly acceptable. You have moral ownership of the stories you create, but you don't have moral ownership of the facts of history.

If the first book had been published as fiction, that would have been an entirely different matter, and clear plagiarism.

If Dan Brown's book had been published as non-fiction, not properly acknowledging the source, it would have been clear plagiarism.

What actually happened is quite different.
ataxi
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
"You have moral ownership of the stories you create"

Perhaps, but the point is that a fair whack of the story wasn't devised by Brown at all but (it is argued by Baigent and Leigh) cribbed from HBHG. Which as a book doesn't really concern itself much with the facts of history, unless you believe Jesus and Mary Magdalene actually did have a family together which was protected and hidden down through history by secretive organisations. It's more tendentious conjecture masquerading as history ...

When you consider the amount of money involved you have to question whether Brown has a "moral right" to it.
(no subject) - exp_err - Mar. 15th, 2006 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 01:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Mar. 15th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 03:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Mar. 15th, 2006 03:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - exp_err - Mar. 15th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 05:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - exp_err - Mar. 15th, 2006 05:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Mar. 15th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 09:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Mar. 15th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 11:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Mar. 15th, 2006 11:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 16th, 2006 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Mar. 16th, 2006 11:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - exp_err - Mar. 15th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 15th, 2006 06:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - exp_err - Mar. 15th, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 16th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - exp_err - Mar. 16th, 2006 12:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ataxi - Mar. 16th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - exp_err - Mar. 16th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC) - Expand
ashamel
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
I likes it.

Though (being a pedantic bugger), I'll mention Stephen King has an assistant who does seem to be using the relationship to further her own writing.
benpeek
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
who is king's assistant?
ashamel
Mar. 15th, 2006 02:09 am (UTC)
Robin Furth. She was hired to go through the Dark Tower series to make sure all the continuity was right, but has been doing a variety of other things as well. (Here's an interview.)

Of course, he has all sorts of other people to help handle business affairs, fan mail and all. He remains a busy lad.
(no subject) - benpeek - Mar. 15th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand
girliejones
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
I've always just wanted a wife, myself. You know - the 1950s type who irn your underwear and keep your dinner warm and stuff,
benpeek
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
...damn, i should've listed that.
girliejones
Mar. 15th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC)
rewrite!! rewrite!!
kazzibee
Mar. 15th, 2006 02:37 am (UTC)
Haha the bit about plagiarism is enticing. But pleasant phone manner is a toughy. Throw in "available for afternoon Gin and Tonics" and I will consider the position (al)most seriously.

benpeek
Mar. 15th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
sure. afternoon gin and tonics. morning too. midday. midnight. lots of gin and tonics. gotta get those ideas from somewhere.
kazzibee
Mar. 15th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
Yes! I distinctly remember a gin&tonic once telling me that I am a genius.
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