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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Author Archive Removed

posted by on May 14 at 15:05 PM

We recently discovered that an art review by Nate Lippens published in The Stranger in August 2004 bears striking similarities to an art review by John Miller published in ArtForum in the summer of 2002. Both pieces were about the artist Trisha Donnelly, and certain passages of Miller’s review appeared almost verbatim in Lippens’s review. For example, Miller wrote:

Word had it that the artist, dressed as a Napoleonic courier, rode into the gallery on a white horse, read a message of surrender, turned around and rode out. You had to be there. The rest of the show made no mention of it and the artist never photographs her performances.

Lippens wrote:

At her 2002 opening reception at Casey Kaplan in New York, word has it that the artist, dressed as a Napoleonic courier, rode into the gallery on a white horse, read a message of surrender, turned around, and rode out. The rest of the show made no mention of it and the artist never photographs her performances, or, as she prefers to call them, demonstrations.

That was not the extent of the similarities. Miller wrote: “Donnelly belongs to a generation of West Coast artists taken with Bas Jan Ader’s paragon of incommunicability, self-mythification, and antidocumentation.” Lippens wrote: “Trisha Donnelly, a San Francisco-based artist, creates work that revolves around belief systems, self-mythification, and antidocumentation.” Miller wrote: “Seeing is not necessarily believing.” Lippens wrote: “Seeing is not believing; believing is something else entirely.” Miller wrote: “Although Trisha Donnelly’s solo debut, at Casey Kaplan in New York, was all about belief structures, the work itself is full of baffles and feints.” Lippens wrote: “Her art is full of feints and fable.” Miller wrote: “Instead of asking viewers to suspend disbelief, she prods their credulity, pitting humdrum artifice against deadpan preposterousness.” Lippens wrote: “It’s not about the viewer merely suspending disbelief (we have movies and reality TV for that); credulity is pushed at every turn.”

Reached for comment by e-mail, Lippens wrote, “I’m, of course, deeply embarrassed by this. I feel terrible.”

On advice from the Poynter Institute (a journalism think tank), we are rereading everything Lippens has written for The Stranger. (He began freelancing for The Stranger in 2000 and was on staff from 2004 to 2005; his work has also been published locally in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Metropolitan, and Seattle Weekly.) Until we finish reviewing his pieces, his author archive will be unavailable on The Stranger’s website. We will restore individual pieces as quickly as we can.

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Thank you, Mr. Frizzelle.

Posted by Bub | May 14, 2008 3:10 PM

I don't get it. How fucking stupid do you have to be to plagiarize outside of High School homework?

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 14, 2008 3:12 PM


Posted by Nick | May 14, 2008 3:13 PM

Wait, I thought the Stranger was immune to ethics? Why does this even matter?

Since when do advocacy journalists care about ethics?

You are wearing us out here.

Posted by Peanut Gallery | May 14, 2008 3:18 PM

I bet you there's some scurrying around at The PI and the other media in town who used this guy.

Posted by Two Newspaper City | May 14, 2008 3:18 PM


Sorry, that sounded kind of cute and funny. What I hat meant was:



Posted by Nick | May 14, 2008 3:21 PM

An art review from four years ago? Wasn't The Stranger a high school newspaper back then?

Posted by Friendly Fountain | May 14, 2008 3:24 PM

Yes, thank you, Mr. Frizzelle, for your constant vigilance on the matter of ethical journalism--a position which, I assume, you adopted sometime after you lied to your coworkers at the Weekly in order to secure your job at the Stranger. You've grown up real nice.

Posted by Steve Wiecking | May 14, 2008 3:30 PM
Posted by Gritter | May 14, 2008 3:36 PM

Mr Lippens's re-write is better than Mr Miller's original.

Posted by michael strangeways | May 14, 2008 4:03 PM

Wow -- this depresses me. I liked reading Nate's stuff. He's clearly a talented guy, and I'm sure the vast majority of what he's written is original...but. Resorting to plagiarism is obviously a very, very bad move for him career-wise (not to mention ethics-wise). Poor guy. (I know -- no excuses, blah, blah, blah -- but still...poor guy.)

Posted by SFChris | May 14, 2008 4:07 PM

@10 That's not saying much.  I can improve on most of the professional writing I see (especially things produced on deadline), but the original authors are still generally better writers than I am.  A gloss, no matter how shiny, will never have the merit of a quality draft.

Posted by lostboy | May 14, 2008 4:10 PM

Don't you have some archives of your own to dig through, Steve?

Posted by Dan Savage | May 14, 2008 4:10 PM

OMG! this just like a real life version of Mean Girls, but instead of high school girls, it is adult grown men sniping razor sharp quips at each other. Who gets to play the part of lindzzee lohann???

Posted by hey now | May 14, 2008 4:26 PM

If I worked for the Weekly, I'd lie to my cow-orkers too.

Nicely handled, Christopher. It's a stinky problem.

Posted by Fnarf | May 14, 2008 4:39 PM

Dear Steve,

Your paper sucks ass and so do you. Who the hell are you, anyway? Don't answer that. Nobody cares.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 14, 2008 5:07 PM

Poe, obviously you care.

Sorry Poe, but have you picked up a weekly lately? Advertisers sure don't think it sucks ass because they are filling a lot of pages. Correct me if I am wrong, but advertising revenue pays the bills, not hipness.

As much fun as it to kick them around, they're doing quite well when it comes to ad revenue.

Their music coverage is staffed with former Stranger writers who still kick ass, but somehow didn't pass the same smell test that Savage gave to Zwickel and will soon give to the new guy (sorry Eric, I like your writing, but Dan seems to have a 1-year lease on your chair).

Sorry to burst your bubble but tranny hooker ads barely put gas in the tank to deliver the weekly issue of the Stranger.

No I don't work for the Weekly. They turned me down, just like a few Stranger writers that applied there as well.

Go back to sniffing Dan's ass.

Posted by I'm a Nuclear Bomb | May 14, 2008 5:40 PM

My tastes are not actually guided by ad buyers, if you can believe it. Or people who run out and buy what they see in the ads. But that type will always exist and there will always be a place for something like the Weekly. I mean, look at all the condos being built.

Posted by elenchos | May 14, 2008 6:03 PM

Well done #17, well done. No I don't work for the Weekly, and I'm not a yuppie. I check out both papers every week. The Stranger is definitely the better looking paper, but the Weekly just has a lot more to offer.

The Stranger staff needs to understand that a LOT of people in town (and I do mean advertisers) are disappointed in what the Stranger has become. All snarky attitude and no substance won't increase your circulation. Or your ad sales.

And seriously, Poe, just get a job there. No writing experience? Doesn't even matter. All you really need is street cred. I know, I know, they don't pay shit, but you'll get to hang with the cool kids.

Posted by Everybody's a critic | May 14, 2008 6:39 PM

Substance. A LOT of people prefer endless profiles of locals who look like train wreck B-list celebs and not pieces about Hillary Clinton and this Barack Obama person that the Stranger insists on wasting our time on. Ah, substance. A LOT of people prefer it.

Posted by Mystery Slog Comment Person #3 | May 14, 2008 6:59 PM

I'll tell you what I want to enormous whozeewhatsit!!!

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Whozeewhatsit | May 14, 2008 7:43 PM

Hate to say it, but @17 hits the nail on the head. John Roderick's column is the most entertaining music writing happening in Seattle right now. The Weekly kicks the Strangers ass when it comes to a music section. Never thought that would happen...

Posted by Time Bomb | May 14, 2008 8:40 PM

What's up with the Seattle Weekly staff? Its weird that they write so many comments in their competition's blog. The Weekly should have a rule about that. Or maybe they consider it "viral marketing." It's still weird.

Posted by jason blatz | May 14, 2008 8:51 PM

My favorite line ever in The Stranger was by (supposedly...) Nate Lippens -- "Shit or get of my face!"

Posted by abomb | May 14, 2008 9:07 PM

John Roderick may be the smartest and most entertaining person on the planet. He's an amazing writer.

Posted by long winters | May 14, 2008 10:20 PM

"Shit or get off my face" was just one of Nate's many brilliant literary moments. Another (that I personally plagiarize often) is "Oral, Facial, Inter-racial." Nate's a quality dude with incredible talent. Are we sure this isn't being blown out of proportion?

Posted by Nate-lover | May 14, 2008 11:19 PM

@23 Well here's an all-too-common retort: anyone who criticizes the Slog/and or Stranger works for the "Weekly"

It's a technique used by the bottom feeders on CraigsList's "Rants & Raves" forum most often seen in any rant involving a "BBW"

Posted by If D = X, then C = ? | May 15, 2008 6:13 AM

The Weekly is brand new and awesome. It's a weekly newspaper in Seattle, Washington. Have you seen it around town? You should give it a try. It is very good. It is very entertaining; oh, man. You can see it available at many local outlets. It has a lot of local angles, supported by a scintillating type of content; boo-ya. You can please give it a try every Wednesday!

Posted by i swear | May 15, 2008 6:32 AM
Well here's an all-too-common retort: anyone who criticizes the Slog/and or Stranger works for the "Weekly"

But it's true. And anyone reading the Weekly works for it. Even if they don't.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 15, 2008 10:24 AM

I'm confused; if all you dorks love the Weekly so much and despise the Stranger, why the fuck are you reading and participating on Slog?

I also need to point out, the Weekly has 76 regular pages this week with a 40pg Folklife insert. The Stranger has 84 regular pages with a 24pg Sasquatch insert which gives the Weekly an 8 pg advantage this week, but if you look at the Folklife insert, it's primarily editorial with very, very few ads. The Sasquatch insert has roughly 15 1/2 pages of ads, out of 24, and most of them big, national accounts. The Stranger has 3 1/2 pages of hooker ads and The Weekly has 2 1/2 pages. Should I go on?

But, I will say, I am enjoying the article on local sleezeball doctor, Howard Levine. Nice job, Weakly!

Posted by michael strangeways | May 15, 2008 10:47 AM

Update: I finished the article on Howard Levine. It ended up being a long-winded re-hash with nothing new to report and oddly sympathetic to a sleazeball subject.

Grade: D

Posted by michael strangeways | May 15, 2008 11:44 AM

How many jobs have you been fired from, Strangeways? Trying to get one at the Stranger now, are you?

Posted by Amazonian | May 15, 2008 12:14 PM

First of all, I know Nate, and he is a lovely guy. Dan Savage, you are such a gasbag. Why don't you and Andrew Sullivan go play with your floaties. The Stranger is such a piece of shit rag sheet. You should be ashamed of your "body of work".

Posted by Doug | May 15, 2008 7:17 PM

This matter could have been dealt with in a more private manner. If mistakes have been made, anyone can make them. Everyone does. We could lift each other up in this town, but instead, we tear each other down.

Nate Lippens is talented, intelligent and kind.
I'll always think so.

Posted by gretchen bennett | May 16, 2008 4:11 PM

Hail hail. A potential lapse in judgement hardly represents the whole picture.

Nate has unfailingly supported the arts and artists in the Northwest -- it would take a lot more than this to diminish his talent in my eyes -- not to mention his wit and integrity.

Posted by Suzanne Beal | May 17, 2008 10:52 AM

I'd have to concur with Gretchen and Suzanne here. Let's reserve judgment until we know all the facts and not disregard his very real contributions to the local scene. More on this here:

Posted by Jim Demetre | May 17, 2008 1:35 PM

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