My Correspondence With The Talk Show That Plagiarized Me
Every Saturday we ask some of our favorite writers to fill in for us. Ian Cheesman is one of Cracked.com's finest purveyors of dick jokes, and today we've asked him to tell the story of his interaction with the Fargo radio show that "borrowed" one of his articles.
This is a true story. The events depicted in this article took place a few months ago. At the request of the survivors the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.*
So a couple of months ago Cracked.com published my article on 6 Absurd Phobias And The Recognizable Tools Who Have Them. It hinged on pointing out celebrity fears that they probably uttered in an interview for The Daily Whogivesashit 10 years ago, giving it eternal reprint value on the internet for list-jockeys like myself. Ironically, since skewering them for their neuroses, I have developed a phobia of my own. I live in daily terror that Billy Bob Thornton will corner me at a social function and announce loudly "Hey, I hear you're marginally funny on the internet. How many times has that got you in Angelina Jolie's pants, you fucking pissant? OH DIS!"
That's right, "DIS". Is there any doubt he'd keep it O.G.?
A day or so later an unenlightened someone informs me that they found evidence I'd plagiarized the jokes from another website ... published two days after the article ran. This person doesn't have a future in forensic work. I follow the link only to discover I have become the comedic foil of the Jim, James & Cori radio morning show in Fargo. Worse yet, it's a radio station that prominently features both Nickelback AND Daughtry on the header, meaning that my comedy really hits paydirt with people who enjoy only the most exquisitely refined crap available.
They left me with no choice. I had to respond (copied below in case their fascist regime opts to "moderate" my comment). Fargo - I'm comin' for yo ass.
What an exciting looking place.
I'm not sure how to start this, James. I've never heard your show so I'm lacking a little bit of context. Are you the boisterous, opinionated Sports Guy? Are you the glue that holds this kooky morning zoo from bursting at the seams? Regardless, since your name appears first in the trifecta, we have issues.
I fully understand that a daily radio show could go lean on content pretty fast. If I were in your shoes I'd blow through my cache of weiner jokes inside of 10 minutes* and be left with excruciatingly dead air. The internet is as good a place to yank material as anywhere. Except when its mine.
The content you've provided above is from my article on Cracked.com, which you have distilled without giving due credit. More than distilled you had the audacity to REPLACE a joke. My jokes are my children, James, and you have no right to choke the life out of them and put them on the street. That's my job.
You're probably wracked with guilt right now. Rightfully so. The internet doesn't exist just so you can steal things willy-nilly (unless its music, pirated software, or 30 second clips of grainy pornography). Fear not - we can make this right. I would accept any of the following as compensation:
- An on-air apology to be made at a predetermined timeslot
- Leverage your extensive contacts in the highest echelons of local Fargo government to have me granted a Key to the City. A commemorative plaque would be nice, but I'm not grubbing.
- Bring me on staff as a highly paid humor consultant, specializing in whinging about perceived slights on the internet.
Make this right again, James. The collective gaze of the internet is upon you, anticipating that balance be restored. The internet is also probably wondering if you're into polyamory, yiffing, or light BDSM. They're dirty buggers, that internet.
*I was being modest. I could easily go for 20 minutes without even resorting to testicular humor. Try that.
They responded immediately with a few excuses I will get to below. But the major outcome of the exchange was that I would be mailed a t-shirt in exchange for their thought crime. A fucking t-shirt for the blood, sweat and more blood (a surprising amount of blood went into that article) that I poured into my work.
I gladly accepted.
However, just when I thought things concluded neatly, I awaited my reimbursement in form of t-shirt to no avail. The only thing more embarrassing than having my righteous indignation placated by a t-shirt is being denied said clothing. It was time for a new email, this time to the whole morning crew:
Man, time sure flies when you're being callously ignored.
Hi, James. I don't know if you remember me, but a few months back you reached into my chest and extracted my still-beating heart, plagiaristically speaking . In truth, you made it all right very quickly with such an "Aw Shucks!" brand of politeness that left me completely disarmed and equally pleased. I thought we were building the foundation of a beautiful bromance. Now I'm not so sure.
Not unlike my father who ritually missed my dance recitals (for the record, I was an *exquisite* swan), I was left with an empty promise by you for radio show swag. I don't know if it slipped your mind or you found yourself too jaded to care once the show received it's black & white goth-emo makeover:
"We're bringing you the pop hits of the 90s... but we're not happy about it."
... but you've left me wounded. Now is the winter of my discontent, especially given how chilly it is and me being topless because of a t-shirt shortage.
Perhaps you don't understand the impact of what you have done. Your assurances that a forthcoming t-shirt would make everything right allowed me to build up my walls of trust again. After 5 months of a mailbox filled only with dashed hopes, you've leveled those walls once again. Granted, walls are an antithetical metaphor for trust, but I'm sticking with the analogy because I'm lazy.
I'd like to consider myself a fan of your work, despite not having heard your show yet. If anyone on the streets of San Diego approached me and asked "Hey there, you statuesque tribute to masculinity. Could you tell me what your favorite radio station in Fargo is?" I would have answered 105.1 without equivocation. Now... I'm not so sure. Is that a chance you're really willing to take?
I'm sending this message to you (and your associates in case you've begun filtering my emails to the 'I don't give a crap' folder) as a last salvo. You now have my fandom, my hopes, my dreams and possibly my love in your hands. What will you do with that power, James?
In response another gauntlet has been set. They have offered to have me on their show for a live, on-air interview. If you live in Fargo, you can tune in to Jim, James & Cori in the coming weeks to hear me beg for a t-shirt. If you live anywhere else in America, congratulations! Also, I will be updating the saga as it unfolds over on Internet Sensation.
*OK, so as you can tell by now, no names have been changed. Also, nobody dies. But come on, we had to.