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    « E-Panel: November Literary Journal Editor | Main | Best of 2005? Already? »

    December 05, 2005


    Zoe Clarkson

    The link to the information on Robert Clark Young and his "MFA" is:

    By the way, he mentions the Sewanee Writers Conference in this letter, too.

    david milofsky

    I never heard of either Young or Vice until this whole thing erupted, but I have to say I've seldom seen this kind of venom directed at anyone before. It has the effect, which I'm certain is unintended, of making me feel somewhat sympathetic toward Young. I mean, can anyone be quite that bad? I doubt it. And as for the whole MFA brouhaha, I guess I've never valued mine highly enough, but it never occurred to me that it was something to brag much about or that we'd see accusations of false claims in this regard. I guess if you wait long enough almost anything can happen. Strange, though.

    Zoe Clarkson

    David, I am trying to address the originial idea in this thread: "How credible are both Mr. Young, and the case he brings forward?" Mr. Young never mentioned in his article that he has a conflict of interest in his attacks on the Sewanee Writer's Conference in his original article; he doesn't metion that he was an attendee at all. And oh...if you had the history with Bob that many writers and others have over the years, you might find that I've greatly restrained myself. But I don't choose to further talk about him--just wanted to put in my two cents' worth about the man's credibility. This is someone who wants to see Brad Vice stripped not only of his book, but of his Phd and his job ...and I would hate to see that happen with someone who has a hidden grudge against Brad Vice, and not a really legitimate, rock-solid foundation for doing so. It concerns me that anyone with a grudge could find a way to strip us of our books, our jobs, and whatever else they can do--and accuse us of plagiarism that may or may not have happened.

    david milofsky


    You've got a point regarding the original question put out by Dan regarding Young. I'm just struck by the hostility he seems to stimulate in you and others. As for having degrees, books, etc, taken away, I've been similarly impressed by the hostility shown toward Jorie Graham by foetry's bloggers. As I said, I don't know Young and you do, so I'll take your word. But I Jorie Graham and I know that the attacks of her have been baseless and unfair, but still damaging to her career--which,let's face it, is a bit more secure than Vice's. I guess the answer is to try to go through life without having anyone declare a vendetta against you, but who among us can be sure of that. Certainly, Vice never intended any of this when he copied Carmer's story and published it, homage or not.

    P.M. Cormano

    David, I find it bizarre that you haven't once seemed struck by the hostility Young's aimed at Vice, in the NY Press piece---one of the most condescending, belittling, unjournalistic (several times Young actually presumes to inhabit Vice's mind) hatchet jobs I've ever read---and in his attempts to destroy Vice personally and professionally elsewhere. Is it because you think Vice has brought it on himself? And if so, can't you see that Young's earned a great deal of the venom being sent in his direction? His only connection to this situation is his desire to take the knife that's already stuck, rightly or wrongly, in Vice's gut, and twist it in quite a bit further. To me, and to many others, that's a far more repulsive motive than anything Vice has displayed.

    Also, I hope you're not serious when you excuse Young's lying about his degree by saying it never occurred to you that an MFA was something to brag about. If he's just done it on a few blogs, it's a sin of vanity, but if he did it on his University of Phoenix job application, for instance, it's a firing offense, just as plagiarism is.

    David Milofsky

    P.M. I haven't seen anyone say Young did make that claim on his job ap, have you? And having read the post referred to, he kind of elides the fact there, not really claiming he has one but not disavowing it either. As for the NY Press article, I've read it several times and just didn't have the reaction to it that you have. Of course I know neither man so didn't feel personally involved, but it seemed solidly within a certain journalistic tradition to me and in that sense interesting and not a little entertaining. I should add that I've been a journalist for more than thirty years and though I've never written anything like this myself, I've certainly seen it done often and well by others in some very prestigious publications. Those who are attacked and their friends always complain, as well they should, but that doesn't necessarily make the writer wrong. If he is, there are always the libel laws and Vice can use them. Please understand, though, that I'm not sticking up for Young or attacking Vice. I doubt we'd be talking about either of them if Georgia hadn't pulped the book--as I believe they should have. As for the MFA biz, I just said what I truly feel. I think people who go around parading their degrees--whatever they are--are vain and foolish. What counts for a writer is what he/she writes.

    Mike Kruger

    Plagarism is plagarism, and it surprises me greatly to see someone devote so much effort to nitpicking Young's article around the edges.

    This is effort that might be better devoted to justifying Bush's Iraq policy, or defending industrial polluters. At least the pay would be better

    P.M. Cormano

    "Plagiarism is plagiarism" . . . brilliant. Let me know when you get that Iraq thing sorted out . . .

    Mark R.

    I basically agree with much of what Jason Sanford had to say on all this in storySouth: The literary lynching of Brad Vice.

    Brad Vice made a huge mistake. I don't think his intent was plagiarism, but rather homage (and on to that point in a second). If a "southern" librarian immediately noted upon reading Vice's story the striking similarities to Carmer's FLAMING CROSS---she was the individual who instigated this entire inquiry---one has to wonder why the editors at the University of Georgia Press failed to do so. Not to shift blame, but c'mon...that is totally unacceptable for a "southern" press of their standing.

    Onto "homage": I would have found it an honor, were I the University of Alabama Press, or Carmer's relatives---whomever owns the copyright---if Vice would have indeed asked for reprint permission and acknowledged that his own Tuscaloosa Knights was a homage to Carmer, and included exact quotes etc. They may have even given permission.

    As far as plagiarism and recidivism, this may certainly be true with real plagiarists, but I can't help but think that Vice's "intent" was NOT to plagiarize.

    Big mistakes were made. By both Vice and UofGA press. Are these mistakes cause to chuck the whole printing? Ruin a writer's career? Did he really intend to plagiarize? I don't think so. Nevertheless, he paid the price.

    Zoe Clarkson

    There hasn't been much on this topic in awhile, but I'd like to direct people to the Robert Clark Young article on Wikipedia. It seems Bob is up to his old tricks again, using aliases to change information and break links to the Brad Vice references in his entry. If my link doesn't work (sorry, techno-challenged), go to the "Robert Clark Young" entry on Wikipedia and click on the "discussion" section. It's interesting to weed through the various incidents with the aliases he uses. Obviously, he doesn't want Wikipedia users to access these discussions.

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