Please Stop Stealing Our Ether

My friend Rob and I used to create cartoons for The Daily Texan when we were in college and we tried hard to make a career out of it. I was pretty upset that our plan didn’t work (in part because I had no backup option figured out) but I’m OK with it now—except when I see our jokes show up in other places.

We’ve seen our jokes show up on The Simpsons, The New Yorker, Saturday Night Live and other places. I’m not suggesting that anything was stolen—these ideas are in the ether and anyone can grab them*. It’s just frustrating to have had The New Yorker reject dozens of submissions when we see an almost exact duplicate of our idea show up in one of their issues (The New Yorker’s version said “We’ll always have that time we went to the mall”).

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If you share our frustration over this issue, feel free to contact The New Yorker and tell them to write me back.

* It’s interesting to see that the duplicated ideas are all fairly simple plays on words (“Just Got Marred” instead of “Just Got Married” or “Oh, The Hilarity” instead of “Oh, The Humanity”). If any of the ideas that weren’t plays on words, like one of these, got copied, then it would seem a bit fishy.

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