Former Daily Breeze columnist Corey Levitan, has been writing his Fear and Loafing column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal since 2005 — so he says he was surprised to see the same column in the LAT. Particularly with a shiny new byline at the top.
He says he’s not mad about being ripped off (well, not very mad, anyway. But he wants the world to know that he game up with this idea first. So he wrote this letter:
This week, latimes.com began running my column, Fear and Loafing, in which I try on different jobs and lifestyles for the day. They didn’t syndicate it, however. It’s being submitted by Bill Lobdell as Living Vicariously in L.A.
Ever since George Plimpton, reporters have sampled different jobs and written about their experiences. However, Lobdell’s first few jobs, his videos, his mission statement all smack of my six years of nearly killing myself for good copy. (Check out www.fearandloafing.com, and judge for yourself.)
I wrote my column as Adventures With Corey at the Daily Breeze from 2001-2005. It was an idea I cooked up with features editor Leo Smith. Rather than an all-American George Plimpton type, I’m George Costanza. Lobdell’s twist is that he’s old. But it amounts to the same I-don’t-belong-here tone.
What really kills me is that, before the Las Vegas Review-Journal offered to hire me in 2005, I wrote to all relevant Times editors trying to find a new home for the column. Apparently, despite the polite rejection letters some of them sent back, they liked the idea after all.
I’m not seeking any kind of compensation, which reporters-for-hire are not entitled to. I just want light shone on this blatant rip-off. Because the Times’ readership and influence so dwarfs the Breeze’s, and the R-J’s, any new readers who happen upon me on the Internet will assume that I’m the copycat.
Eagerly awaiting Bill Lobdell’s reality TV show,
And we’re eagerly awaiting Lobdell’s response. Updates as we get ‘em.