The New York Times ran an excellent longform piece titled “Who Is the Bad Art Friend?”
It’s about two writer acquaintances. Ms. Dorland wrote a heartfelt letter to the recipient of her anonymous kidney donation, and posted about it to a private social media group of writer acquaintances. Ms. Larson later used that letter as inspiration in a short story. It ends up with a lawsuit for plagiarism, and the question is who is the bad art friend?
There are lots of details you need to know, and it would be a terrible disservice to form an opinion from my unworthy summary. There are multiple plot twists so be sure to read the whole thing through. Read the article here:
Various corners of the internet are divided as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong. The article raises questions not only on what makes one a bad art friend, but also about freedom of expression and plagiarism. I wanted to see what the 'dope thinks.
I personally think Ms. Larson &co. are (were) very bad and spiteful friends, who should have leveled any criticism to Ms. Dorland’s face rather than play dumb, and given credit where credit is due from the outset. I don’t think Ms. Larson needed to ask for permission but I think she should have acknowledged the extent of Ms. Dorland’s influence on the short story. On the other hand I think Ms. Dorland was, at times, out of line in some of her communications and suspicions (although they were ultimately borne out). She does come across as obsessive. Not knowing her personally I can’t give full consideration to the friends’ criticism of Ms. Dorland’s motives for organ donation, but it is distinctly possible that Ms. Dorland’s kidney donation was less than selfless or admirable.