ze's blog :: zefrank.com
Ads Via The Deck

Via BuzzFeed

« new time vid :: tea party | Main | pet project »

September 28, 2009

douglad coupland rips off the earth sandwhich

in his new book coupland describes the earth sandwich in detail without giving credit. it would be one thing if he extended the idea, or commented on it, but he simply repackages it to sell his book. what a jerk. :: click below ::

here is the original
i had been warned that he would use it in his book and sent an email asking him to at least credit the project in a footnote (which he didn't) ...

an example of how his reference is perceived : http://entertainment.ca.msn.com/celebs/article.aspx?cp-documentid=21770772 - with the quote "Coupland is among the best Canadian writers at extrapolating, in realistic ways, how society might be using technology decades from now. Take Samantha: when we meet her, she's forming an "earth sandwich," a fictional-yet-believable fad where, by using a GPS-enabled cellphone, people on opposite sides of the planet contact each other, lay down slices of bread and snap a photo." :: a fictional fad? i don't think he is even trying to give credit on this.

again in this link from the independent where the concept is credited to a New Zealand girl :

But Coupland always leavens his paranoia with optimism. These representatives of Generation A are doing their dorky, geeky best to raise their brand-strewn minds to the level of the global crisis. One New Zealand girl's hobby is to take photos of an "earth sandwich": her and a pal use their phones' GPS to position themselves on the top and bottom of the planet, daintily pressing a slice of bread to the exact spot.

apparently this is part of a pattern in coupland's books. he scavenges other people's ideas and "comments" on them by restating them with no further thought or commentary. he represents the worst of mash-up culture. no attribution. no shame. no imagination.

Bookmark and Share
Comments (134)

What a hack!

Posted by: Andrwe at September 28, 2009 12:02 PM

What a tool.

Posted by: Kevin Conner at September 28, 2009 12:03 PM


Posted by: nicholas at September 28, 2009 12:03 PM

I call shananagins.

Posted by: Ryan at September 28, 2009 12:04 PM

Man. The first instance, I was like, no biggie. The demo, though: what the hell?

If it makes you feel any better, this Douglas Coupland fellow seems like a tool. ...Okay that probably doesn't make you feel any better, but it had to be said.

Posted by: Kevin Miller at September 28, 2009 12:04 PM

There's a little tiny "with thanks to Ze Frank www.zefrank.com" at the bottom during the last clip of the earth sandwich bit (around 5:20) but seriously that's ridiculous. You did all the work, like actually _finding_ two places opposite each other on the earth... What a schmuck.

Posted by: nic at September 28, 2009 12:04 PM

It does say "With thanks to Ze Frank" at 5:19

Posted by: Aquarion at September 28, 2009 12:04 PM

there is a thanks to you at 5:18

Posted by: claire at September 28, 2009 12:05 PM

None of that video was even remotely funny. WTF??


Posted by: Erik R. at September 28, 2009 12:05 PM

At 5:20 it does say "with thanks to Ze Frank" at the bottom right of the screen... Still, you can't get enough props for the original earth sandwich, brilliant.

Posted by: Jimmern at September 28, 2009 12:06 PM

boo to that

Posted by: Ian Saylor at September 28, 2009 12:07 PM

there is a tiny credit on the screen from 5:18-5:21. Tiny.

Posted by: jenjen at September 28, 2009 12:08 PM

The demo vid mentions you in the bottom right. :-)

Posted by: Alan Francis at September 28, 2009 12:08 PM

There is a ducky on the screen... isn't that a shoutout? Kinda?

Posted by: Andrea 2s1 at September 28, 2009 12:08 PM

Man, that sucks. The Earth Sandwich was one of my favorite parts of The Show!

Posted by: Leslie Poston at September 28, 2009 12:08 PM

He didn't even discuss why making an earth sandwich is (was) important!

Posted by: Josh at September 28, 2009 12:08 PM

There is a small "With thanks to Ze Frank www.zefrank.com" at 5:19. Not much but at least that?

Posted by: robert at September 28, 2009 12:09 PM

I like how the Earth Sandwich thing comes after he accuses 'j' for being a ripoff of 'i'

Posted by: winescout at September 28, 2009 12:09 PM

Ze, there is a link and a mention of you at the end of the demo, at the bottom right.

But yes, Coupland is a jerky person.

Posted by: Jessy at September 28, 2009 12:09 PM


Posted by: The Crusher at September 28, 2009 12:09 PM

What a weasel.

Hey, Ze fans: call Coupland out on YouTube!


Posted by: Tana at September 28, 2009 12:09 PM

Actually there is a 'With thanks to Ze Frank http://www.zefrank.com" at the end of the description.
It should be definitely be more clearly displayed that this was your idea!


Posted by: Jennifer at September 28, 2009 12:09 PM

5:19 ? I mean, it's short, but is that was they consider footnotes?

Posted by: Sven at September 28, 2009 12:11 PM

5:19 ? I mean, it's short, but is that was they consider footnotes?

Posted by: Sven at September 28, 2009 12:11 PM

Disappointing. Disappointing.

Posted by: Blair at September 28, 2009 12:13 PM

I don't know about you, but at 5:18 I see a small credit at the bottom...

Posted by: Jake Good at September 28, 2009 12:13 PM

Wow, that's amazingly NOT COOL.

Posted by: Georg at September 28, 2009 12:14 PM

I did see a wee little credit at the end of that video.

Don't feel too bad. Clearly, there is very little original about this guy. Everyone knows that the loneliest letter is a small case "z" and the most evil letter is a lower case "l".

Posted by: James Baldwin at September 28, 2009 12:16 PM

There is a link to you in the "instructional vid" -- maybe it was just added? It's sorta small.

Posted by: mj at September 28, 2009 12:18 PM

he does seem to imply it is his idea... i agree... but he did the legal thing and cited you in tiny writing.. :oS

Posted by: claire at September 28, 2009 12:21 PM

he totally ripped-you off!!!

Posted by: alison at September 28, 2009 12:21 PM

Dude, does this poser know he's messing with the League of Awesomeness?

Posted by: Gus Snarp at September 28, 2009 12:22 PM

That's just craptactular. Boo.

Posted by: sarah at September 28, 2009 12:24 PM

What a douche. "With thanks to Ze Frank..." is supposed to do it, huh? Time to crank up that creativity machine to point out just what a douche move this is, Ze.

Posted by: Tom Guarriello at September 28, 2009 12:25 PM

I can't stand when people plagiarize, so I can totally understand your anger. I would think there should be something you'd be able to do about it, though I don't know what.

Posted by: Corry at September 28, 2009 12:26 PM

So does he have a website where we can storm in and call him a craptastic plagiarist?

Posted by: William Jack at September 28, 2009 12:27 PM

Taking a strong creative influence from someone is one thing, but this is just ridiculous. He didn't even put your work into any kind of new context. I wonder how much of this video is just a bad collage of other peoples ideas.

Posted by: Karneeleus at September 28, 2009 12:30 PM

That was verbal fapping. On first impression anyway. I've never heard of the guy before now but he's not the kind of guy I like. I kept thinking the little yellow thing was a duckie too, plus I couldn't see the credit to you at all - where is it?

Posted by: Röb at September 28, 2009 12:31 PM

decidedly not cool of Coupland, who ought to know better and be nicer. Might want to correct the spelling up there, though, ze.

Posted by: sprosser at September 28, 2009 12:33 PM

I commented on his YouTube page and I suggest everyone else do so as well. In addition, give a "Thumbs Up" to all of the comments that mention Zefrank so that they filter to the top.

Douglas should be ashamed of himself.

Posted by: Ron Olszewski at September 28, 2009 12:35 PM

Not okay.

Posted by: mattsportsracer at September 28, 2009 12:38 PM

Uh, yeah. Wow.

Posted by: rue at September 28, 2009 12:39 PM

hahaha! that is the tiniest credit ever! do it verbatim! do it! do it! do it!

Posted by: Kaylen at September 28, 2009 12:42 PM

Dude seems like a total tool. I can't envision a scenario where he'd have something worth your ripping off. Not to mention I can't see you stooping to his level.

Poor earth sandwiches, stuck in the middle of all this controversy. :-(

Posted by: Patty at September 28, 2009 12:44 PM

That is really horrible that he would do that! There is nothing wrong with borrowing other peoples ideas to help create your own content.......however this is straight theft.

Bummer man.


Posted by: Mark Smith at September 28, 2009 12:45 PM

Wow, quite weak. The attribution isn't even noticeable and I would have missed it completely had you not mentioned it was there. It's not even a variation! Any repercussions he incurs are well deserved.

Posted by: Goob at September 28, 2009 12:47 PM

But we all know better. When you first did this on The Show I raved about it to everyone I knew (and we all learned that the other side of MY sandwich is in the middle of the Pacific) Can we organize "letters of displeasure to his publisher?" They tend to think taking credit for another's idea is bad thing. Something about plagiarism...

Posted by: Kevin at September 28, 2009 12:49 PM

you should totally make a verbatim copy of this video and post it. If nothing else it would bring the issue to a head so it could be dealt with. Its not cool that he ripped off your work and left you with a minuscule credit.

Posted by: Rob at September 28, 2009 12:50 PM

Listen; we're forgetting that by being an earth sandwich, we are all one... sandwich, and that is really what is important, in this day in age.

Posted by: ChrisF at September 28, 2009 12:51 PM

Needs to *start* with a credit, at the very least. Thanks for the heads-up. Very uncool.

Posted by: Anita G. at September 28, 2009 12:53 PM

So wrong! The "credit" is almost invisible - I was looking for it and had to re-watch the video to even see it. People who make up for their lack of creative ideas by stealing those of others need to find new careers.

Posted by: Alexis at September 28, 2009 12:54 PM

While ridiculous that he ripped you off and barely gave you credit the world still needs to be a sandwich at any cost. It sounds like you two need to work together and make this world whole!

Posted by: Aburnflags at September 28, 2009 12:55 PM

Wait, am I missing something? I didn't see him take credit for the idea, suggest the idea was his, and the context wasn't even as if he had the idea. I mean, the narration asked, "Have you ever made an Earth Sandwich?" If we was claiming credit for it, then it would be kinda ridiculous to ask that question (it may have been phrased like "What is an earth sandwich?"). Instead, it seemed to me as if he was saying, "hey, I participated in this meme."

Come on guys, it's a crap, pretentious Q&A (I enjoy a lot of Coupland's writing), but as someone who doesn't follow Zefrank regularly (and had no prior knowledge of earth sandwiches), I didn't walk away with the impression that Coupland was taking credit for them at all.

You know, they ask him about bees as well, and I don't think the bee folks are getting upset.

Posted by: Troy Gilbert at September 28, 2009 12:57 PM

Man, they got to wikipedia fast!

Posted by: Aw at September 28, 2009 12:57 PM

um... where do you say is the credit?... oh there it is... they put it in such a way that you won't read it since you are concentrated in "congratulations" or whatever else is there

Posted by: mga at September 28, 2009 12:59 PM

can you really own an earth sandwich? seems like fair use to me.

Posted by: Dick at September 28, 2009 1:00 PM

I like how the hidden credit says "With Thanks to Ze Frank" when you never really 'gave' it to him at all. I'm not going to wear his hair as a toupee after forcefully removing it from his head and say "With thanks to Douglas Coupland." (maybe a bad example, he doesn't have much left...)

It's too bad, I used to like (some of) this guy's books. I'll skip out of this one.

Good luck on trying to keep what's yours ^_^

Posted by: Paul at September 28, 2009 1:08 PM

He's actually really freaking out about the attribution, cuz', like, he's never even considered zeFrank like that before, and it's messing with his whole life.

And that's all I have to say about it.


Posted by: John Arthur at September 28, 2009 1:09 PM

Get him good Ze.

Posted by: Anton at September 28, 2009 1:13 PM

Also, you don't need to take a picture for it to be an Earth Sandwich.

Let's comment-spam the video with ze's url.

Posted by: DF at September 28, 2009 1:14 PM

That makes me so mad, I want to break out my power move! I promised, however, that I would only use that move for good and not for evil. Why do I have to make such stupid promises?!?

Posted by: Steve at September 28, 2009 1:15 PM

dude! what a jackass. complete ripoff!

Posted by: evan at September 28, 2009 1:19 PM

what the shit is this junk?

"use your phone's online map to locate the exact opposite place..."?!
My phone doesn't do that. Only method I know is the find-your-opposite-tool.


Posted by: topaz at September 28, 2009 1:22 PM

This reminds me of a line from the movie "The Red Shoes":

"It is worth remembering, that it is much more disheartening to have to steal than to be stolen from"

Gotta wonder what's up for a guy who has done so much interesting work over a long career to have do to this, especially so blatantly.

Posted by: ajlb at September 28, 2009 1:22 PM

Soooo lame!
He comes off as such an asshole that he can't make it seem as cool as the original anyway, so whatever.

Posted by: Judy at September 28, 2009 1:23 PM

I had no idea who this guy was and did a quick wiki search and had to laugh when the first entry said this:

Douglas Coupland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Douglas Coupland (born December 30, 1961) is a Canadian novelist who totally ripped off Ze Frank's Earth Sandwich concept as if it were his own. ...


Posted by: Valerie at September 28, 2009 1:28 PM

something that blatant, worthy of a lawsuit. You won't lose cred with us

Posted by: Mike at September 28, 2009 1:35 PM

Hey man, at least you'll probably learn something cool out of all this and we'll be able to hear about it in a speech sometime in the future, right? Here's to all the vacuums in Sunday best.

Posted by: Michael W at September 28, 2009 1:43 PM

The Google search blurb for Douglad Coupland's Wikipedia page: "Douglas Coupland (born December 30, 1961) is a Canadian novelist who totally ripped off Ze Frank's Earth Sandwich concept as if it were his own."

Posted by: Mike at September 28, 2009 1:45 PM

The awful thing is that he has stolen this and put it in a boring video. I think you should do a verbatim copy of this - it would be funny.

Posted by: Paddy at September 28, 2009 1:56 PM

What a total asswipe. And what a shitty explanation of an earth sandwich! He needs to use a phone?! What kind of stupid tool is he. Hello, I can has map?! Hello, I can has understand latitude and longitude?! Hello, I can has vocabularies ("antipode" anyone?)?! Hello, I can has use digital camera?! For freaking crying out loud. And stop plagiarizing the duckie with yer yellow mug. Asswipe.

Posted by: E A Williams at September 28, 2009 1:59 PM

"With thanks to Ze Frank" sounds like Coupland has some friend who suggested an idea to him which evolved into this brilliant idea afterwards. Not nice.

But as we all agree here: his rendition of the idea is just atrocious, no charm, no heart.

Ze, you're the best.

Posted by: Boris at September 28, 2009 2:08 PM

I used to read that guy's books, too!

Posted by: jrr at September 28, 2009 2:13 PM

Do it, copy him verbatim.
So SNL mockery on his ass.
What a douche.
Sports Racers are behind ya Ze.

Posted by: kerri at September 28, 2009 2:14 PM

It's really the agency--Crush, inc--that produced it. They should know better...

Posted by: Ben at September 28, 2009 2:21 PM

I am sorry but I was already halfway asleep before the earth sandwich part came :)

Who is this guy supposed to be anyway?

"Ohhh.. The loneliest letter? Uhmm, a lowercase 'm'. And I don't know why that is. You said you were lonely and I just see a little 'm' all by itself floating in space. Uhmm, with nobody around it. It's like, in tears. I can't believe I have answers to these things. It's just freaking me out actually"

Seriously? What the hell is that about?

Posted by: Alex at September 28, 2009 2:21 PM


Posted by: Carla at September 28, 2009 2:23 PM

HARD CHARGER and a butthole, too. im soooo glad i never heard of this wang

Posted by: bert at September 28, 2009 2:27 PM

Is this even real? The entire video seems completely scripted, but, in addition to that, it's not even humorous. I didn't even crack a smile during the whole thing.

Posted by: Marc at September 28, 2009 2:42 PM

with the exception of the Earth Sandwich idea, this whole clip is one long boooooorrrriiiiiinnnnnggggggg bunch of uninteresting. Who IS this milk-toast idiot, anyway? Yech!

Posted by: Dash at September 28, 2009 2:43 PM

What can we do? Is there contact information we should go through? I don't think we should just let this go. He should know better than this.

Posted by: Lindsey at September 28, 2009 2:46 PM

It is pretty fucked up of him to do that but people steal ideas from others all the time and don't credit them, be thankful he did it at all, even if it was just a tiny one at the end of a demo. Sorry, I'm biased because I love Douglas Coupland, maybe you should give him a peice of your mind though

Posted by: Alex at September 28, 2009 2:51 PM

3) Jerry Seinfeld (Letters from a Nut -1990's) did the same thing to Don Novello (The Lazlo Letters - 1970's). I think he got away with it.

2) I think it's time to find a savvy copyright lawyer.

1) This copeland fellow is so full of himself. And his hair's dirty, and it's greasing up that uncomfortable looking pillow on that stupid couch.

0) I concur with the first two posted comments here, for starters.

Posted by: jeano at September 28, 2009 2:51 PM

hey there - I am going to see Coupland speak in Oct. Do do you want me to say something to him?

Posted by: january at September 28, 2009 2:53 PM

"a fictional-yet-believable fad"

Coupland was interviewed for the article, so he should contact the author to correct this statement and provide proper attribution.

Posted by: Ezra Gildesgame at September 28, 2009 3:10 PM

I have a friend who insists the character of Kaitlin in Jpod was directly based on me and that Coupland's a crazy stalker.

Needless to say, I found that unlikely.

Posted by: Catherine Winters at September 28, 2009 3:16 PM

So lame. :( I actually have one of his books in my "to read" pile right now. I think I'll skip it.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 28, 2009 3:28 PM

So lame. :( I actually have one of his books in my "to read" pile right now. I think I'll skip it.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 28, 2009 3:28 PM

The thing is that Douglas Coupland thrives on self-aware insertion of pop culture into his books. It was kind of charming at first - and Generation X was a bit of an epiphany for me (probably because I was at high school when I read it). Enjoyed his Microserfs and Life After God, but all the novels he has written past then have been combinations of plastic characters making sure to mention Kraft Dinner or whatever the meme-du-jour is. In this case, Earth Sandwich. But it's the way he's doing it that makes him the hard charger: I would expect a Coupland novel set in 2008 to refer to an internet-connected character forwarding LOLcats to another, but turning your Earth Sandwich into yet another of his "wacky" diagrammed asides is Totally Uncool.

Has anybody seen how it is covered in the actual book?

Posted by: Rosie at September 28, 2009 3:33 PM

total ripoff, ze. but maybe there is a backhanded acknowledgement that he has lifted things from other people? 8:13 - 8:44?
and wow. that is one insanely boring 10 questions. and 10 answers. *yawn&snooze*

Posted by: karina at September 28, 2009 4:15 PM

talk to a good IP lawyer.

Posted by: Seth at September 28, 2009 4:29 PM


Screw this guy. And what I mean by that is... All the way... sideways and backways.

Posted by: Cherish at September 28, 2009 4:54 PM

Outrage! Shame on the poor sod.
Ze...you two navigate in kinda similar waters (audience wise? maybe?)...have no fear that his douchebaggery will be known far and wide.

p.s. His JPod book was the ONLY book I ever donated to charity, as it was so bad I couldn't stand seeing it on my shelf. So there.

Posted by: Matan at September 28, 2009 5:04 PM

This video is boring.

Posted by: Nicole at September 28, 2009 5:04 PM

He has just tweeted an acknowledgement & praise.

Posted by: Paul O'Connor at September 28, 2009 5:06 PM

Just say the word Ze... and he's done.

Posted by: GB at September 28, 2009 5:26 PM

but surely the regurgitation of fragments of other peoples work and ideas is what Coupland does?

Have you read Jpod?

It's more rough sketches of possible ideas than literature

Posted by: thrifty beatnik at September 28, 2009 5:48 PM

This comment re: your update/Douglas' email:

pffft! "Ask forgiveness not permission" only works in academia.

Posted by: jeano at September 28, 2009 6:04 PM

Posted to twitter about an hour ago - 9/29/09

@DougCoupland www.zefrank.com, I send you warm wishes and much cheer. And thank you for the lovely (and amazing) Earth Sandwich idea. You are brilliant.

Posted by: minh at September 28, 2009 6:18 PM

Yeah, dude's boring to start. And the attribution is weak. Not sure of the recourse, if it's to be had at all. Good luck rectifying this.

Posted by: David at September 28, 2009 6:26 PM

why would he do this?

Posted by: nader at September 28, 2009 6:28 PM

Interesting that he says "hijack your internal voice". I guess he didn't realize that wasn't HIS internal voice he was hijacking, it belonged to someone else. Who is this tool?

Posted by: Seth at September 28, 2009 6:56 PM

I'm so sorry for this. Such garbage atop a fun and silly idea that (if I ever complete it) I will count among my life's highest accomplishments. I will literally tell everyone I know that I made an earth sandwich. And I will tell them Ze Frank, my favorite celebrity, told me how to do it.

And made a handy webtool that made it happen. Which I check out before every international trip. Booyah S Vietnam!

Posted by: Ben at September 28, 2009 7:13 PM

Ze, why are you trying to take credit for an idea that clearly wasn't yours? Over and over in these posts, you mention 'the Earth sandwich' idea as if it was stolen from you. Mentioning a totally original, amazing idea, and then not mentioning its actual original creator? Really? That seems like stealing.

All I'm saying is, somebody contact the League of Awesomeness.

Granted, you were a conduit, an excellent passer-on of the notion (we all saw the paper appear in your hands, ze). But give credit where credit is due. Please.

As for this Douglas Coupland fellow...well, I would have thought the guy who invented the term 'Generation X' would have been someone interesting, someone worth possibly listening to...

Wait? He didn't create the term? He just 'popularized' it? And that's what he's famous for? 'Popularizing'? As in, taking an idea that already exists and then just letting some people know about it?

Oh. No wonder he came off as such a bastion of mediocrity. It all makes sense now.

All I can say, ze, is don't let the hard chargers get you down. And keep working, you may too one day come up with something as awesome as Earth-sandwich.

What? You've already done lots of things about as awesome as that, if not awesomer? And for a year you made videos daily each of which was better than that overwrought piece of milquetoast?

Oh. Awesome.


Posted by: Lee at September 28, 2009 8:14 PM


And what's up with the Ze Fronk show?

I guess when you are a genius, people steal ideas from you--but that doesn't mean it's alright!

Boo to plagiarists and thieves!!!!!

Posted by: Alexis at September 28, 2009 9:09 PM

what an pretentious asshat who plagiarizes. wonder what else isn't his that he claims. . . . . BTW, i love that someone has already updated his Wikipedia page with his theft! :) Go duckies!!!!

Posted by: jasmine at September 28, 2009 9:43 PM


Posted by: JP at September 28, 2009 9:44 PM

I've never been a huge Coupland fan, this just confirms my original notions. One copy of Generation X, headed for the used bookstore...

Posted by: becks at September 28, 2009 10:13 PM

Is this serious? This whole clip is boring to the extreme and then he steals Ze's idea so blatantly with a "Thanks for letting me steal this whole idea without reinventing it at all" superscript to make it legit lol?

Posted by: Kory at September 28, 2009 10:40 PM


Posted by: Tracy at September 28, 2009 11:52 PM

Douglad Coupland is a giant fuck-tard !

Ze, you probably have more creative ideas in one day than this idiot has had in a lifetime.

If you want me to, I am willing to lay my powermove on him, or is he going to lay claim to that next?

What a turd.

Posted by: John Post at September 29, 2009 12:24 AM

I agree with you, Troy. If I had just randomly seen this video on my own, I would first have been incredibly confused and bored, then just would have thought it was a nod to the project, even if it was explained incorrectly. There is no mention of him creating the 'earth sandwich' idea, merely a legitimate, if out of place question (one I will now ask random strangers I get into conversations with at the coffee shop). But then 5 minutes ago, I had no idea who Douglas Coupland was or that this was to promote his book.

Knowing what I know now, yes, he is a douche, and if in his book he doesn't not give credit to Ze, and explain properly the earth sandwich, someone needs to show him what's up. I suggest a rising of the SportsRacers.

Posted by: J at September 29, 2009 1:39 AM

Dick move. He should be punished.

Posted by: opello at September 29, 2009 3:03 AM

This isn't the first time Coupland has ripped off someone without giving credit. His "book within a book" in The Gum Thief is an almost word-for-word plagiarism of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

I like Coupland's books but this is simply not on.

Posted by: macninja at September 29, 2009 8:40 AM

Lordy, that video is smug and narcissistic. Watch him pretend to laugh after the paperclip/staples question at 5:43.

Posted by: Chris at September 29, 2009 11:28 AM

Douglas Copeland Twitters- http://twitter.com/DougCoupland

It appears he twittered @ZeFrank.com - "I send you warm wishes and much cheer. And thank you for the lovely (and amazing) Earth Sandwich idea. You are brilliant."

I don't know anything about the guy but he sure strikes me as one smarmy fellow. It's absurdly condescending of him to thank you for your idea. Like you gave it away and it's his now? He's got one thing right, Ze you are brilliant. It's pretty obvious you get more ideas waiting for your coffee to brew than he gets all year.

PS- And everyone knows the most attractive letter is NOT the Gils Sans medium bold Ü, but the arabic letter ق written with a fountain pen on heavy cotton bond paper.

Posted by: DS Bakker at September 29, 2009 11:33 AM

Sad. I was quite moved by Generation X, 18 years ago, and enjoyed Microserfs, too. Now this guy has become totally fascinated with himself. What a pompous boor!
And the interviewer is a total enabler. "Tell us, Douglas, just how fascinating are you?" "Well, I think that..."
Ze, let this be a lesson. No matter how big you get, avoid the temptation to become a prick.

Posted by: Daniel Ari at September 29, 2009 12:04 PM

I know hard charging when I see it. And it makes me wonder. Is there a project in here somewhere? Perhaps a series of video knock-offs of this video that pokes fun at it and credits Ze with the lead of the Earth Sandwich idea? It is imperative that this folly be called out while at the same time not hard-charging ourselves.

Posted by: Ramon_omar at September 29, 2009 1:32 PM

I can't believe how shady that is. I left a negative comment on his video, but this guy really deserves to be called out in a way to really make it obvious not so steal other people work like this again.

Posted by: Pixelfish at September 29, 2009 1:47 PM

And I thought jPod sucked ass...

Posted by: Molly at September 29, 2009 6:55 PM

There are cool people in this world and douche bags, that is all.

Posted by: andy at September 29, 2009 7:31 PM

Surely no one takes him seriously anymore. Sure, he coined the term "Generation X", but has he done anything since?

I read jPod and nearly threw it out the window when he appeared as a character in the book. "I'm so pop culture that this book is going to be about me being in this book." Fuck off, if you please. (I only didn't throw it out the window because I was on a plane at the time, and those windows are hard to get open.)

Happens all the time, though. Ze, you're in good company. How many "famous inventors" didn't actually invent what they're famous for?

Posted by: homagetogorto at September 29, 2009 8:12 PM

Disappointing, which, ironically is also my one word review of Generation A .

Posted by: Wilfred at September 30, 2009 8:18 AM

Hey, I thought Canadians were our friends! Shucks. Well, they can just keep all their discount drugs now cause I don't want 'em.

Copeland should go back on tour with the Police maybe to another planet, so Sting and Andy can arrest his ass for frauduliciousness.

Posted by: jerome at September 30, 2009 12:03 PM

So the longer video has now been deleted and reposted. That's one way to handle comments that make you uncomfortable! I don't understand why a writer of his stature would lower himself this way.

Posted by: Keith at September 30, 2009 3:03 PM

I almost sent you an email when I read this in Generation A a few weeks ago, but decided not to when I saw that Coupland had made a tweet about it back in July and just assumed everything was copacetic.

I read it at the time as a tribute of sorts to the great work Ze had done (anyone who is a fan of Ze would immediately get the reference). Sure, it may have been better to give a nod to Ze in the acknowledgments for the book (a footnote would have broken the reader out of the fiction), but this kind of thing can easily be overlooked in the final madcap race to meet publication deadlines. I like to assume mistake over malice in these situations.

All that being said, Generation A was just an okay book. If you're reading, Doug, combined with J-Pod, it's starting to feel like you're recycling your old books and updating them for the times. They're still enjoyable, but they're feeling a little *too* familiar.

Posted by: Darren James Harkness at September 30, 2009 3:12 PM

I wonder if I could retell The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, put 'with thanks to Mark Twain' on the cover under my name, and get credit.

As for intellectual property law, the copyright section of Wiki says, "Copyright applies to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete and fixed in a medium. Some jurisdictions also recognize "moral rights" of the creator of a work, such as the right to be credited for the work."

I'm not sure if you need to apply for a copyright; some say that copyrighting is only a formality and that you own the copyright as soon as you create a work.

Your idea is definitely discrete and fixed in a medium. Keep that episode of The Show up for 'proof' if need be that you were there first.

Posted by: Audrey at September 30, 2009 6:26 PM

"The fact that the earth has never been a sandwich is probably why things are so fucked up."

Hypocrite. You stole that from Gandhi.

Posted by: varrus at October 1, 2009 7:26 PM

according to my childhood memories and Sesame Street, it was "lowercase n" (NOT m) that was the loneliest letter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24enegT7T7s&feature=player_embedded

"In a cold and far-off place
There was a lower-case N.
Lonely and cold, she would stare off into space
And it was known that she would cry now and then.

Lower-case N, standing on a hill.
The wind is very still, for the lower-case eh-en..."


Posted by: katamari girl at October 3, 2009 11:42 AM

Blatant plagiarism is the sincerest form of laziness.

Posted by: Django at October 4, 2009 8:27 AM

Coupland probably thought he could get away with it, perhaps not knowing the strength of the Ze Frank fan base. It's terribly bad form on his part. Ripping off smart ideas as a way to bolster one's image as a 'literary genius' is pretty lame. Don't declare war on Canada just yet, we're not ALL douchebags.

Posted by: Mike Devlin at October 4, 2009 11:13 AM

i read one of his books, like years ago. i hated it.

Posted by: mira at October 7, 2009 6:36 PM

The repost of the interview is here:

Posted by: Airport Whiskey at October 8, 2009 9:43 AM

Mr. Coupland gives a link in answer to the question, "Earth Sandwich? What's that?" on his website:

The link goes here:

However, I didn't see an explanation/apology on his site. What a jerk.

Posted by: Torchy at October 10, 2009 11:43 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?