Permissible Plagiarism?

Recently, I’ve read numerous reports of artists who have offended their fans and contemporaries with arguably the most heinous crime an artist can commit. Usher, Bob Dylan, and Beyoncé have all been called plagiarists.

Leon Busy's "Woman Smoking Opium"
Leon Busy’s “Woman Smoking Opium”

The New York Times reports that critics have noted that some of Bob Dylan’s paintings in New York’s Gagosian Gallery seem to bear striking resemblances to others’ photographs. Take a look at his work, “Opium” above and Leon Busy’s “Woman Smoking Opium.”

Usher is contesting claims that his 2004 hit “Burn” gained a bit too much of its influence from songwriter Eric Lee Straughter’s “The Reasons Why.” My apparently musically underdeveloped ears could not sense significant similarities between the two songs, but Usher may have to testify before a jury to defend his originality.

Similarities between Beyoncé’s choreography in her new video for “Countdown” and choreography by Belgian Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker are more obvious. See a side-by-side comparison after the jump. Continue reading “Permissible Plagiarism?”

Unplugged: Taking the Interwebs to New Extremes


Could you go a day without using your cell phone? How about your laptop? TV? If you’re like most young adults today, you may answer these questions with a nervous laugh, say “Of course! I’m not dependent on it, I’m just, you know, fond of it…” while you reach protectively for your 4G technological gizmo. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

A recent study found that college students who were asked to give up media for 24 hours experienced physical symptoms of withdrawal. The experiment, titled “Unplugged” tracked the lives over 1,000 young adults for a single day without any access to media. Participants reported feeling fidgety, anxious, insecure, and isolated, among other physical and psychological symptoms. It’s like experiencing withdrawal from hard drugs, only the drug of choice is, um, your Droid.

Continue reading “Unplugged: Taking the Interwebs to New Extremes”

Beware of (Virtual) Trolls

With the Ides of March just behind us, I feel that it is fitting to issue a warning, for safekeeping: beware of trolls…on the internet.

Yes, I too thought that trolls were mythical creatures who only belonged under bridges in my childhood story, The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  Nevertheless, I have quickly learned that they are real, and they are everywhere!

What does an internet troll look like?  What will they do to you?

Check out the following video and find out:

Continue reading “Beware of (Virtual) Trolls”

What’s in a Name, What’s in a Nazi?

What’s in a name? Well, when the name happens to be “Nazi,” some might say a heck of  a lot! For some reason unbeknownst to those of us who don’t make a living on talk radio, it seems to be en vogue to refer to your political opponents as Nazis.

Those who are semi-competent students of history will know, however, that Nazis (the German word for the National Socialist Party headed by Hitler) and current United States political parties look almost nothing alike. In fact, some argue (such as this group of rabbis) that using the term Nazi in political debate is an insult to the millions of Jews, and others, who actually suffered under the Nazis’ genocidal rule.

Continue reading “What’s in a Name, What’s in a Nazi?”

Who is Responsible for Protecting Your Penis?

In Jamaica, there has recently been a lot of hype over the dance craze known as “daggering.” The dance mainly consists of rapid dry-humping to dance hall music, likening itself to its English translation of “cabin stabbing” (could they be a little more graphic?).

Before reading any further, take a look at the following Youtube video.

Continue reading “Who is Responsible for Protecting Your Penis?”