The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

That Is Like ... So Mehta

By Margaret Hicks in Arts & Entertainment on May 3, 2006 2:04PM

Mehta.jpgMan, we did some stupid things in college: we learned how to smoke the righteous ganja with our dorm-living boyfriend, we drank grain-alchohol till we dirty-danced with most of Lamda Chi, hell, we even dinged a car and giggled, ‘cause SoCo’s made us hilarious, (or weepy, depending if it was chilled or not).

But fear was our protector then; the ever-present fear of being “found out” kept us out of a lot of trouble. Well, Kaavya Viswanathan, Harvard sophomore and author of “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life” has been found out. First she was accused of plagiarism by Megan McCafferty (see here for comparisons), to which Viswanathan replied, ”I may have internalized her work". Now a second allegation has crept up, from Sophie Kinsella, and again, the similarities are impressive and ridiculous.

Little, Brown, publisher of “Opal” has pulled the book from the shelves, and could possibly even ask for its $500,000.00 advance back.

We thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous, but it can, and it has. A friend turned us on to the story of Samir Patel. Although not quite as famous, (or as young), his errors are just as frustrating. Patel stole, basically word- for-word, movie reviews from efilmcritic and hollywoodbitchslap.

The fine folks Patel stole from made a concise list, showing the exact words he lifted from over sixty movie reviews, and honestly, there’s nothing even to compare on the two lists, because they’re exactly the same.

Now, once we got caught stealing a lipstick from a local Zayre, and the shame was so strong, we’ve never stolen anything again (‘cept a coupla hearts, boo ya!). We feel a little sorry for Viswanathan, having to go through this very public shame at such a young age. But we’re a little less sorry for Patel, mostly for the sheer fact that he has “Cry Me A River” on his MySpace jukebox.