Friday, March 23, 2007

Re-engineered opinion

It's been said that there's no such thing as an original thought when it comes to writing, and I've got to agree with that to a certain extent. As a computer programmer by trade, I acknowledge that much of my professional work stands on the shoulders of others.

Reading Curly's blog yesterday I came across his comment on a piece in Celia Walden's 'Spy' column in the Daily Telegraph, discussing South Shields MP David Miliband's alleged status as a 'gay icon'. Not a paper I read much, but when I read the full text on the Telegraph website I was struck by the familiarity of the context of the article, and particularly the phrase "His voting record on gay rights has regularly been used by Pink News to contrast against Gordon Brown's".

So back to my blog entry of 9th December 2006, where I found I'd written "His voting record on gay rights is regularly used by pink news to contrast against Gordon Brown's", discussing Mr M's new entry as a celebrity; strikingly similar to Celia Walden's statement. The main difference between her comment and mine was the tense.

The 'no original thought' rule could easily explain this similarity. Surely hundreds of folk on t'interweb have commented on the Miliband vs Brown gay rights voting record, and the likelihood of a similar or the same sentence being used would be high?

So to slay the paranoia demon I did a literal search on Google for the consistent part of the quote, the phrase "used by Pink News to contrast against Gordon Brown's". It brought up only one entry. Mine.

Did my original blog post provide Celia Walden with inspiration for her own piece? If so, it's comforting to have at least one reader out there. Then again, it may just be coincidence.

I suppose at the very least it's nice to be ahead of the professional opinion writers. And then there's the old saying about imitation and flattery...

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