Posner Plagiarism Flap Disturbs Garden’s Peace

Facebook, finger-pointing, flora and fauna: must be a 305 plagiarism war!

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It's like a bizarro, non-rhyming version of Green Eggs and Ham:

I will not like you with a letter to the New Times
I will not like you at your Q&A at the Botanic Gardens
I will not like you out for drinks
And most of all I will call you bad names on Facebook.

Except, of course, this drama is being played out by adults and not cats with discoloured dairy products.

Just weeks after blaming the "warp speed" of the Internet for having "unintentionally" plagiarized the Miami Herald in his then-work as chief investigative journalist at Daily Beast, local writer Gerald Posner's now being accused of grabbing whole paragraphs from fellow Miami author Frank Owen for his controversial book, "Miami Babylon" -- which has nothing to do with the speedy tubes we call home.

Not only is the evidence pretty damning, but Owen (understandably) didn't take it well when he found unattributed swathes of his 2003 book "Clubland" in "Babylon." So he took to Facebook and j'accused Posner, calling him a "thieving [rhymes with mockmucker]" in front of all their mutual Facebook friends. Gasp!

Not content to stop there, Owen and his fianceé Lera Gavin showed up to the Miami Beach Botanic Gardens on Thursday night for a Q&A Posner was giving to ask if anyone else's work was stolen for "Babylon." Owen gave this account on -- where else? -- Facebook of how it all went downhill from there:

The real sparks came after the reading when Lera asked Posner "Are we still going out for a drink to discuss this?" Posner exploded. His plastic face turned red: "Yeah, I'm a thieving [redacted]." "Yes, you are a thieving [redacted]," Lera replied.

And then an elderly lady came running towards them: "This is a botanical garden. It's a peaceful place. Can you please take it some place else?"

Well, they could, but not Facebook. Posner told the New Times that Owen called him the p-word for "defriending me from Facebook, which I didn't do, but which he did last night to me and [my wife] after my reading."

No wonder we've got middle schoolers stomping each other over text messages. The adults can't even settle their issues in court. But maybe, for the sake of peaceful gardens, we'll soon see the two duke it out in warring childrens' books. That's about what level the spat seems to be hovering in lately.

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