Gotcha! & Yale's moons; New York Times & plagiarism

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Apr 4 05:59:57 UTC 2000

    That last posting should read "Massillon" (Ohio), not "Masillion."


     William Safire of the New York Times has what he likes to call his
"Gotcha!" gang.
     This was in ESQUIRE, Letters, May 1966, pg. 175, col. 3:

     George Frazier's swinging January Esquire article (_The Next Dance Will
Be "What Is Meyer Davis Doing While Oedipus and the Mothers Drop Trousers?"_)
revealed--for the first time in print that I have seen--the bit about
"throwing a gotcha!"  Marvelous.  (...)  Thomas P, McDonnell, Boston, Mass.

    The story is in ESQUIRE, January 1966, pg. 60, col. 1:

    If only on some mad midnight in some stately room, with the saxophones
throbbing the unrequited passion of _But Not for Me_ or the gladsome
greetings of _Hello, Dolly!_ or, better still, the enduring frustration of
_Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate_, with the champagne flowing and all
amenities observed--if only, at such a moment, proper old Meyer Davis,
elder-statesmanlike old Meyer Davis, would suddenly "throw a gotcha," as it
was known at New Haven in the beginning, dropping his satin-striped trousers,
his Sulka shorts, and then, quick as a flash, bending over, "throwing a
moon," and crying out "Gotcha!" with all the wild abandon of those Perez
Prado _muchachos_ who seem forever to be shouting some damn thing or other.

    At last!  The secret of William Safire's GOTCHA! gang revealed!
    The RHHDAS has this as a "moon" article, but cites a different line that
leaves out "gotcha!" and Yale.
    I heard rumors that Andrea Vine, Laurence Horn, and Fred Shapiro started
the tradition after one too many Yale cocktails.


     I came back from Portugal on March 12th, and on March 13th I visited the
Central Park Arsenal Gallery exhibit of my stolen work (featured in the New
York Daily News last Friday).
    I sat down three people responsible for the exhibit and calmly screamed
at them.
    "But it was reviewed favorably in the New York Times," I was told.  This
Parks employee admitted that he had known about my work in their own Parks
files, but he thought that the New York Times (which never published a
correction) had made the book legitimate.
    "It's the paper of record," I was told.
    I demanded a response from Parks Commissioner Henry Stern.  An apology,
not an apology--a _response_ from Parks Commissioner Henry Stern.  I was told
that the great man couldn't be disturbed.  I again demanded a response from
Parks Commissioner Henry Stern.  On March 1st, he had held a party for
thieves.  Honest people deserve no less.
   I've waited three weeks.  No letter.  No apology.  No thank you.  Nothing.
   Today, I sent a letter to the New York Times Book Review about it, with a
copy to Parks.  If the Book Review doesn't print it, I hope someone else
will.  Perhaps, then, this city will finally make the changes necessary to
treat me with some level of human decency.

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