Where Did This Tim Lucas Go?

A few readers have sent this my way and at least one of them has posted this in the comments section here on LPP but we thought it was important to highlight in its own post.

Back before Lianne Spiderbaby there was another great plagiarism scandal involving a UK publication knows as The Dark Side. Huge swaths of content in that magazine were found to be stolen from mostly online sources and the outrage was heard all over the internet fandom.

Video Watchdog editor Tim Lucas made some remarks with respect to The Dark Side which read like some bizarre repeat of history with roles reversed. We get a picture of an earlier Tim Lucas, the writer so many of us admire, expressing his just outrage at the incident and at the milquetoast response from the magazine. Where is this Tim Lucas today?

“”… our investigations did reveal the disturbing fact that many of the so-called ‘ripped off’ reviews can be found on a number of different sites under a number of different names… showing that there’s plenty of this sort of thing going on among the netheads!”

I can’t imagine anyone reading the above who would not take deep offence. Excuse me: “so-called ‘ripped off’ reviews”? (Is he actually suggesting otherwise?) As for “our investigations,” it sounds like these amounted to no more than him looking around online for excuses, and looking around online is exactly how THE DARK SIDE got into this mess in the first place! The Internet can be (and often is) a cesspool of anonymous, thieving, slandering misbehavior; this doesn’t give anyone free license to behave as disreputably in a print publication, where different rules and traditions should and do apply.

There are actually some sound reasons why a reviewer’s work may turn up in multiple places online. For example, Amazon.com has a Top reviewer named Harriet Klausner whose reviews appear on literally dozens, maybe hundreds, of different review sites of different names, but Ms. Klausner’s name is always on the byline. You won’t find this out by Googling, which would show only the shared text; only by actually visiting the site will you see her byline. This sort of thing is not uncommon, I suppose, but nor is it done without the author’s awareness or consent.

By the same token, it’s true there have been cases of people taking critical remarks posted on various boards online and posting them under their own bylines as Amazon.com reviews. But because such transgressions occur online, does that make them an acceptable or defensible journalistic standard?

As Mirek’s research has shown, the DARK SIDE plagiarisms run into significantly more examples than just “a few.” They also predate Mr. Bryce’s “Gordon Booker” scapegoat. Short of accepting responsibility and stepping down from one’s post, the only reasonable reply to such abuse of the public trust (in this case, THE DARK SIDE’s readership and fandom in general) would be to at least make a show of contrition, however phony. Instead, this editorial chases its own buried apology with a chuckle of embarrassment as it rushes to pass the buck of blame — back to the source that was raided in the first place.

For readers interested in more on the Dark Side scandal we are pleased to announce this will be the first story we report on in a series we are calling The Secret History of Horror Journalism – where we go behind the scenes for events which lie below the surface of the horror media world.

For now we leave you to consider the words of Tim Lucas and what may have changed since 2005. What we see above is one of the reasons many of us admire Lucas and consider him a vital voice in this community. It is our hope at LPP that Lucas can find his way back to the path after the detour of Lianne Spiderbaby.


Where Did This Tim Lucas Go? — 5 Comments

  1. Hope I’m not jumping the gun on your Dark Side coverage, but I’m wondering how LPP readers feel regarding Grindhouse Releasing’s 2013 Blu-ray/DVD for CORRUPTION featuring “Liner notes by Allan Bryce, editor of the celebrated British horror magazine THE DARK SIDE.” It’s sold rather well.

    Apparently GR received some unenthusiastic comments back in July when Bryce’s involvement was announced. Addressing it in a comment on their Facebook page:

    “Allan Bryce’s contribution to our release of CORRUPTION cannot be overstated. Allan was instrumental in providing us with contact information for the actors who appeared in the movie, and connecting us with the people in the UK who shot the interviews for us. This release would have been a mere shadow of what it is without the assistance of Allan Bryce. And, yes, he contributed a great set of liner notes.

    Bob Murawski
    Grindhouse Releasing
    July 29 at 5:17pm EDITED” (https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=494213690654261&id=125392227536411&comment_id=3484619)

    Okay. Let’s pretend it’s the year 2021. 8 years have passed since Spidergate. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, physical media still exists in 2021. Let’s say someone was to read an endorsement like this:

    “Lianne Spiderbaby’s contribution to our release of [Shriek of the Mutilated 3D?] cannot be overstated. Lianne was instrumental in providing us with contact information for the actors who appeared in the movie, and connecting us with the people in Canada who shot the interviews for us. This release would have been a mere shadow of what it is without the assistance of Lianne Spiderbaby. And, yes, she contributed a great set of liner notes.”

  2. This site was birthed by the Spiderbaby debacle but needs to move beyond it. Even a momentary reflection should tell you the difference between Lucas 05 and Lucas 13 is the corrupting influence of facebook, twitter and all the other 24/7 omnipresent media that everyone writing in the genre needs to be immersed in in order to remain visible hence respected within Horror Nation–Chas Balun’s term and a much more accurate one than saying “the community” since as a community we’re about as civil as Detroit or Newark, though that’s natural behavior perhaps for people who congregate around movies full of violence. Lucas made stupid comments defending someone he’d invested time in as a writer, tried retracting them and then tried explaining them away never realizing he needed to stfu and that the deeper you dig, the more dirt you’ll find. He’s clearly got a big ego and loves to listen to his own (written) voice and he’s worse than a 13 year old girl on facebook but between the Franco book, the Bava book and VW he’s accomplished more than almost anyone currently working in the genre and continued sour grapes about his thoughtless kissass kneejerk comments starts to sounds like people plotting to dethrone a king instead of legitimate critical analysis. Enough now, the guy’s not Rod Sims.

    • Good points, CJ.

      I feel like the overall attitude about Lucas is not vindictiveness so much as conflicted feelings over a long-admired figure VS his “momentary lapses of reason.” I suppose, in a way, we take it more personally than when a distant “celebrity” makes a faux pas. I’ve enjoyed reading many issues of Video Watchdog, listening to Lucas’ DVD commentaries, etc. I think some people simply want Tim Lucas to show that HE CARES about his readers’ concerns. His editorial may have been well-intentioned, but I can see how it rubbed people the wrong way, interpreting it as a passive-aggressive retort against those who stood up for the rights of the plagiarized. (I personally admire those on the Latarnia Forums who compiled those lists giving proper attribution to those who had their work stolen.)

      Let’s just put it this way: it’s a good thing it’s Donna and not Tim who’s charge of VW’s customer service, haha. I think Tim would make less of an ass of himself if Donna handled his public affairs. She’s always been generous & personable when I’ve had to contact them about order problems. Maybe she should write the editorials. I hope he treats her well, she seems to be in a pretty thankless position.

      I think you nailed it, though, that Lucas’ problems stem from “never realizing he needed to stfu.”

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