So: Yesterday on Twitter, I saw ESPN’s Keith Law RT a post from McSweeney’s. Keith Law is not usually my go-to source for humor writing, but I clicked nonetheless, and found a story called “You Built This City on What?” The basic premise is, an economic development team manager explains to an angry audience how/why he has decided to build their city on rock and roll, a la the terrible Starship song from the 1980s.
It was amusing enough, but I had the immediate feeling of deja vu. Because back in April of 2010, I posted something on this site with an almost identical premise, “In Retrospect, It Was a Mistake to Build This City on Rock and Roll.”
Do I think I was ripped off? Not really. I admit it’s not the most original premise in the world. In fact, when I wrote it, I furiously googled to make sure that someone hadn’t written something similar already, because I had this nagging notion in the back of my head that I’d read something like it and forgotten about it. I often do this when I start on a new piece (for here or elsewhere) as a quick sanity check before expending effort that may be accidentally plagiaristic.
For whatever reason, in the case of my “We Built This City…” notion, I was really sure that someone had beaten me to the punch until I did the research to convince myself otherwise. So I guess I just wish this author had done something similar. I don’t know how deep he’d have to dig to find my post in Google, but I’d like to think 2-3 pages deep would’ve done it. A search for “built this city mistake” puts me on page one, in fact. No digging necessary.
Not saying my post was a great work of art, but I’d like to think having the idea first counts for something. Plus, last I checked, googlin’s free.