Friday, July 11, 2008

Accused of Idiocy

Bizarro is brought to you today by Unexpected Underwear Unlimited.

This joke came to me a few weeks ago I thought because my CHNW and I had been planning a trip to Scotland later this year. But when it ran in papers, a TV writer friend of mine in Hollywood, Andy Cowan (Seinfeld), wrote and reminded me he had tried to sell me this gag months ago. He was right, so I thanked him and sent him a check. ($12 – don't tell him he should have asked for more.)

Another email arrived the day after this ran, from a goober in Louisiana somewhere who claimed very pompously that I had obviously stolen it from his cartoon published in a local Mensa newsletter in Baton Rouge six years ago. Like I comb old Mensa newsletters from Louisiana looking for ideas.

What few people realize is that when you and who-knows-how-many thousands of other humans pretty much just like you are racking their brains 365 days a year to come up with jokes, obvious ideas like this one are going to occur to more than one person over time. Professional cartoonists know this well, we inadvertently copy each other all the time, chide each other by email and buy the injured party a beer at the next convention. A gag like this one has been thought of dozens of times before, and will be thought of dozens of times in the future. As long as you're haven't seen the gag yourself somewhere, it is fair game.

Unless I'm mistaken, the same pompous putz (I am less than polite in my choice of moniker because his letters arrogantly insist I am knowingly stealing from him and owe him money) accused me some years ago of stealing one of his cartoons about a pirate who had gotten dressed in a hurry that morning and put his hook, peg leg, eye patch, etc. in the wrong places.

If a truly unique or strange idea is copied, you know it's plagiarism, and those kinds of cartoonists are not tolerated well among their peers. Consequently, it happens very rarely among professionals. Especially in the age of the Internet.

Bottom line, someone as widely published as I, doesn't steal jokes. It's too easy/embarrassing to get caught. In spite of the way I look, I am not a complete idiot.

15 comments:

Alice (as in Wonderland) said...

I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana -- and still call it home. I am quite confident that no city in the state has anybody who could remotely qualify for Mensa status.

Raydancer said...

Maybe you suffer from cryptonesia. When was the last time you were in Louisiana?

TParadox said...

You clearly stole that idea from me, but I'm not sure how, as I never published it in any form... :)

Really, I've been wanting to use that joke for a while. I've been thinking in the manner of a movie, though.

Xyling said...

Are Goobers chocolate covered peanuts or raisins...I never can remember.

The one on the right is obviously a man's bathroom, by the way- you can tell by the silhouette. I know it works over there.

"3 Thighs" Piraro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
"3 Thighs" Piraro said...

"Cryptonesia" is a great word, never heard of it before. Thanks for that.

I did actually do just that a couple years back to another cartoonist I admire. I was trying to manage a comedy tour, a move, and all my cartoon deadlines at the same time and having a hell of time. I wrote two cartoons that I thought were mine, until my colleague sent me the exact same jokes from his website. As soon as he did, I knew I'd seen them before and felt like a royal turd. I was so humiliated, I couldn't apologize enough. He's a brilliant cartoonist, too, and I hated losing his respect.

He reacted well and said he understood and forgave me, but I'll never really be sure. Ouch.

Kreisler said...

you clearly stole the idea of not stealing ideas from me.
give it back.

also, i'm going to scotland in two weeks. coincidence, or just a coincidence?

Jezzka said...

Ooo, Cryptonesia is a great word, i will use it too...i don't know where yet, but i will steal it and store it in my kitten kaboodle noodle! *ping* ha it's stored and stolen!

Jezzka said...

hey i just noticed your time stamps are off...

Anonymous said...

Just thought you'd like to know...you're featured on the "asylum" website, under "pda's" in public. I think it's on the third page...http://www.asylum.com/page/3/
is the link, scroll through the pics.

Not really a flattering pic, I don't know if they told you they were using it.

Just a F.Y.I from a fan.

Scott said...

By way of proving your point that great (or at least different) minds think alike, I noticed something years ago when I read the funnies in newspapers. I call it "Comic Coincidence" and it happens all the time. I still see it as I subscribe to a couple of the major syndicates' online services. Here's how it works: you read the day's funnies, and as you go down the page, you'll notice that two cartoons will use gags about the same thing. For example, the gag in Drabble will revolve around Cotton Candy, and so will the one for Rose Is Rose. Presumably, both those gags were thought up at the same time by cartoonists across the country, to meet the same deadline. While they're usually not the same gag, they revolve on the same premise. It's either a pure coincidence or some form of combined time travel and cryptonesia.

doug nicodemus said...

if its not scottish its rubish. i learned that from a scottish person i met in New Orleans.

"3 Thighs" Piraro said...

anonymous: my sister sent me that PDA page, too. Very funny and a big surprise. My wife and I were clowning for a friend's camera at a fundraiser a few months ago, no idea how the pic ended up on that site.

scott: that's a fairly common occurrence and one that a few people make a point of collecting and noting. There is a guy who writes to cartoonists every time he finds that coincidence in their features. He doesn't have a point, it's just his hobby.

Leigh said...

Anyone who goes to these bathrooms will have no excuse for confusion.

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