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Update:  They’re at it again — Paul Lukasiak notes that the John Thompson post from Ben’s WaPo blog has been taken down.  No explanation.  Update II:  It’s still preserved here but definitely out of the blog queue.

As of this morning, the NRO’s Ramesh Poneru thinks I’ve been unfair to his brother-in-arms Box Turtle Ben.  I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree about what constitutes "funny."  But I want to be a uniter, not a divider, and I’d like to find something we can agree on.  Maybe the fact that this:

Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, splaying their tentacles and snapping their jaws, dripping a discomfiting acidic ooze. They’re known as the Phantoms, otherworldly beings who, for three decades, have been literally sucking the life out of the earthlings of the human. They are swollen, insectoid, the nightmare descendents of Lovecraftian grotesque — if only the filmmakers had created a plot that was as memorable.

…which appeared in the NRO on July, 2001 in an article penned by Ben Domanech,  bears a striking resemblance to this:

Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, wriggling countless tentacles and snapping their jaws. They’re known as the Phantoms, alien thingies that, for three decades, have been sucking the life out of the earthlings of “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.” Swollen nightmares from a petri dish, they’re the kind of grotesque whatsits horror writer H.P. Lovecraft would have kept as pets in his basement.

…which appeared in a Cox News Service article written by Steven Murray.

Of course, over at Red State, Ben’s fellow co-founder Erick Erickson applies his razor sharp intellect to the situation and offers up a perfectly good explanation why this does not rise to the level of plagiarism:

And now those opposed to Ben have googled prior writings that on the surface appear suspicious, but only because permissions obtained and judgments made offline were not reflected online by an out dated and out of business campus newspaper. But that’s all the opponents want – just enough to sabotage a career, though in the process they will sabotage themselves. Facts have no meaning. Only impressions have any bearing on this. The charges of plagarism are false, meant to bring down a good and honest man. The presented facts to prove plagarism are specious — products of shoddy work. One could easily think the producers of 60 Minutes II were behind them.

(snip)

Ben Domenech deserves our full advocacy and defense. He has done nothing wrong and does not deserve urban legends about his wrong doing solely because of the lies of those who are jealous of his success. Should the other side win, they will be emboldened. And should they win, one of our own who has done no wrong will be immeasurable hurt by the hate, lies, and jealousy of those who would just as easily do it to you or me.

We must defend Ben.

Ben obviously made an agreement while attending a college he somewhat mysteriously never graduated from that would allow him to lift freely from Cox News Service, PJ O’Rourke, Salon, and the Washington Post itself and place it under his own name in any publication he chose ad infinitum.  And in honor of their solidarity with their brother Ben, RedState is shutting down their comments‘ section for five days after people sign up, which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that their founders are obviously eating blotter acid by the ream.

Meanwhile John Aravosis takes on Deborah Howell, who kick-started this whole mess when she took a paddle to Dan Froomkin of the WPNI but now says Ben Domenech of WPNI is outside her territory.

I’m sure that Ramesh, having a much finer wingnut mind than myself, finds all of this perfectly consistent and reasonable according to the secret teachings and symbols of the Bush Cargo Cult.  Maybe he will take the time to explain it to me.

But a curious silence on the subject now grips the halls of the Corner…. 

(graphic by NeoJoe)