We here at the OC Weekly have been accused of many things over the years: libel, slander (whenever one of us appear on radio), lies, Commie-sympathizing, Reconquista cheerleading, selling ours souls to New Times, and—most memorably—”Satan instrument,”what Congressman Robert K. Dornan called the Weekly's R. Scott Moxley on television. But in my five years at your favorite fish wrap, I don’t recall any writer being accused of plagiarism until this morning.
Cue a long, rambling phone message in my voice box from some guy whom we’ll spare identification for his sake. The man claimed that I stole his idea for writing a column about hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Scratch that—the man claims I stole his idea of calling such places “holes-in-the-wall.” Yes: this man claims he invented the term while writing for something called Fullerton Magazine way back when. He ended the message by ominously warning me that I’ll “have to live with myself” for my Jayson Blair act.
Where to begin…how about with the etymology of the term? Fullerton was just a Spanish land grant back them, buddy. As for my column: the man who popularized reviewing hole-in-the-wall restaurants was Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Gold, who's been writing his “Counter Intelligence” column for nearly two decades. I will admit this, though: the name for my “This Hole-in-the-Wall Life” was inspired by another title, but not anything you ever wrote, Fullerton Magazine hack. It's a play on the stirring Kitchen Sink drama This Sporting Life. Last time I checked, Doctor Who didn't have a problem with the title–why should you?