Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cut and Paste Review - The Murder of Macbeth

Goodness me - what is the quality of our local reviewers?

I'm referring to the Malay Mail's review of Macbeth by Theatre Babel which was featured in the Buzz section of the paper today. (Sadly, this article doesn't seem to be up on the website, so you will need to go buy a copy or just trust me on this.)

I was pondering the miracle of Sharmila Vella managing to see three witches clad in red on stage in the local production of Theatre Babel's Macbeth when I saw only one, dressed in white. Clearly, she hadn't been in the audience for this production at all. Then I decided to Google some phrases from her article and low and behold, much was lifted from elsewhere:

Sharmila writes:
Striking visuals like a thicket of swords were suspended on wires over the stage. The swords were sometimes lowered to become a treacherous forest or sometimes simply looming threateningly.
By some strange coincidence Ian Shuttleworth of the Financial Times wrote in his review of an earlier UK production:
A thicket of swords is suspended on wires over the stage: sometimes they are lowered to become a treacherous forest, sometimes they simply loom threateningly, like the dark fate awaiting almost all concerned.
Much more is lifted virtually word for word from this review on the Edinburgh Festival website including
... a thick mist billowing out from the stage into the auditorium, accompanied by a haunting soundtrack that sucked the audience quickly into the strange and heady world of the Thane of Cawdor.
and
the almost motionless witches clad entirely in crimson red ...
I probably could go further but my heart is in my coffee cup.

This is not reviewing - it's shameless plagarism.

And plagarism, frankly, is theft.

15 comments:

Kak Teh said...

Oh My God!!!!! I am lost for words! Plagiarism!!! In this day and age, sure the internet, google, search , whatever can really be a Godsend, but hey, it can also be a good watchdog!
Thanks Sharon!

bawangmerah said...

That's quite shameful :(

On a side note both mum and sis, enjoyed the play. I backed out on them last minute, because I was feeling a bit lazy last Sunday :P

Lydia Teh said...

Writers beware! There was another case in The Star sometime back. We have to be vigilant and not take the lazy way out.

Once I was reading a tv piece in the papers when I came across a sentence which sounded like what I'd written for a tv review piece. But I wasn't bothered by it because it was just one sentence which I deem to be "fair use".

sashi said...

Unbelievable! That writer better learn real fast that eagle-eyed readers can quickly sniff out plagiarism anywhere these days.
All hail Google! :D

The Visitor said...

i think the more important and sickening thing is that she did not even attend the show. it is not fair to the people who put all the effort into the production just for some idiot who couldn't even be bothered to watch the play, to still give a "review".

Sharon, u should write to the editor.

Yvonne Foong said...

It says, "The Murder of Macbeth". As in... MURDER... murder of a review. All boils down to Macbeth being trecherous. blame him.

Anisah said...

Babel bungled it twice. Once, plagiarism, and once again, earning money for writing a review of something she didn't attend, hence couldn't have reviewed.

In universities, students would be given a fail mark, or suspended for some time if they plagiarised in any of their submitted work. Would journalists face disciplinary action from their professional society or their editors? I really don't know.

In Babel's case, I think she could smile for she will probably not be told off. What does that leave us, the lay reading public with? Not much, I suppose.

Anna said...

Really!? The critic was not even there!? Maybe, her ghost took over... Poor thing. History repeats itself. AAAAH

Lydia Teh said...

Anisah, If a freelance writer is caught, she can rest assured that the publication's editor will no longer use her work. If it's a staff writer, I suppose she will get a warning. Maybe Visitor can answer this question.

The Visitor said...

you can get fired. i know a writer who got fired cos he wrote that a film was lousy even before he had seen it.

Chet said...

Wasn't there a case in the States where a journalist was caught for making up his articles without checking the facts or doing any interviews?

Erna said...

The temptation to blind-review is always there but in this case, I found it sad that the writer had an obvous contempt for the subject and her readers.

bibliobibuli said...

Glad that you all feel as outraged as I do ... Yes, I have written to the editor, but no reply as yet.

3rd Chimp said...

Oh, God, Sharon, just caught up with this on today's stop by your blog. Ghastly! Good for you for catching out this creep!

disco-very said...

wow! that's insane! the epitome of malaysian laziness. thanks for bringing this to light.