Cult of Cthulhu Bible Review: Darrick Speaks, Part 1

Given the strong condemnation of Darrick Dishaw’s book, it’s not surprising that the author has responded in the comments:

as you’ll probably note, the section you are referring to (i assume) is titled “Conventional” Lovecraftian Mythos scholarship. i wanted to present a side of the Cthulhu Mythos which was completely divorced from myself, unbiased by the High Priest. this is why i included a section without so much original prose. i did take some cues from various sources (Wiki included) in order to create a pastiche of common knowledge. then i proceeded to edit and re-write the material so that it fit with the required length i was looking for.
if i had simply copied and pasted Wikipedia’s Mythos entries verbatim, the content in Cthulhu Cult would have looked much different, i assure you. and at that point i would have cited it as a source.

We’ll leave aside the equation of Wikipedia with conventional Lovecraftian Mythos scholarship – whatever that is – and concentrate on his claim. According to Darrick, he understands that if he “simply copied and pasted” the entries, he should provide references. The section might contain “not so original prose,” but in fact it is a “pastiche of common knowledge” that he “proceeded to edit and re-write” based on “some cues from various sources.”

This is what the uncharitable might call a “really dumb lie.”

I find this harsh. I hardly think Darrick would make up a completely new version of events after the fact to save face. Still, it’s best to provide a countercharge to this statement.

What Darrick doesn’t realize is that I’ve actually handled this sort of case before, and the after-the-fact rationalizations and justifications that go along with it. As he maintains his innocence, he can hardly object if I take the first two pages of his “Cthulhu” section and put them into a color-coded chart displaying the prose it shares with Wikipedia. As can be seen, the version in the Bible drops the footnotes and a single paragraph from the Wikipedia piece, changes exactly four words out of five hundred, and is included in his book without attribution. If Darrick continues to object, I’m more than happy to lengthen this.

Needless to say, all of this is far beyond any sort of rewriting, editing, or paraphrasing that is ethically allowed to an author. It’s likely that any composition student who was found to have turned in a paper like this would be summarily flunked. In fact, here’s the academic honesty policy for Darrick’s own alma mater, which explicitly bans this sort of behavior under penalty of failing the paper or the class. Unless that’s been revised recently, we can be sure that a B.A. in English like Darrick learned this lesson repeatedly while he was there.

Getting back to him…

as some of your readers might know, you seem to enjoy being a constant thorn in my side. although in reality, your futile puppet dance fills me with nothing but joy. dan, it’s been a pleasure.

With regard to the first part, I see it as more of a public service. If someone is going around threatening and trying to destroy people, a potential book buyer or candidate for an organization might want to know that before committing. I have no problem with people who believe the Mythos is real – they don’t run anything important at the moment – but poor behavior is a definite turn-off. Plus, the after-the-fact attempts to rewrite history are amusing as hell.

With regard to the second – sorry, Darrick, but I don’t feel the same way. We just aren’t going to work out.

UPDATE:  More here.

Published in: on January 7, 2007 at 8:47 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dan,

    You made coffee come out my nose while reading this post. It really burned, plus I’ll have to disassemble my keyboard so I can clean it out, but it was all worth it in the end. Just thought you’d like to know.

    Ia, Ia, Oh, Owe, Ewe, Yew,

    Pope jonnyX

  2. let me put a new theory out there. one far more serious and disturbing…

    the fact that Dan Harms has altered the Cthulhu Mythos Wikipedia entries AFTER reading Cthulhu Cult in order to substantiate his claims. words fail me, Mr. Harms. honestly, how far will you go to discredit me?

    i did some research of my own. i asked a friend who looks at the Mythos Wikipedia frequently to do some checking. and he was sure that several entries were indeed altered from the time my book became available to the time your Cthulhu Cult blog entry was created.

    for shame, Dan.


  3. Excuse me while I LMAO.

  4. Right, I got bored, so I actually checked Wiki myself. The Cthulhu entry hasn’t changed for a while; I only checked back to mid-december, mind you.

  5. […] after saying he was only “creat[ing] a pastiche” of various sources, accusing me of falsifying Wikipedia entries, telling people that I was […]

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