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HBO, 'True Detective' creator rebuke plagiarism charge, but ...

Woody Harrelson, left, and Matthew McConaughey in HBO's

Woody Harrelson, left, and Matthew McConaughey in HBO's "True Detective." Credit: HBO / Jim Bridges

Without question, "True Detective" creator Nic Pizzolatto is living the dream — but into every dream, I suppose, a little rain must fall ... like the online charge a few days ago that he may have lifted the words of  novelist Thomas Ligotti to surfeit those bleak Nietzsche-esque musings of one Rust Cohle, whose portrayer, Matthew McConaughey, is a lead-pipe cinch to win the Emmy for best actor drama a couple of weeks from now.

He still is, but is Pizzolatto's "True Detective" still on track to win best drama,  especially at the very moment when 19,000 Academy members are casting their votes?

Both HBO and Pizzolatto have vigorously debunked the charge, though why they even bothered seems redundant, if only because a simple cross-check of words and passages would have sufficed. And has anyone bothered to ask Ligotti, who — let's admit — does at least sound like Rust, a little bit?

(Or to quote Ligotti directly: “Madness, mayhem, erotic vandalism, devastation of innumerable souls — while we scream and perish, History licks a finger and turns the page.”)

But it is Emmy time, and a shame if this show, which has a strong tail wind going into the 66th annual prime time Emmys, loses that tail wind because of baseless charges.

The statements — which I've lifted directly from EW, which first posted them, so I suppose I'm guilty of plagiarism, or sort of — are as follows: 

HBO: “True Detective is a work of exceptional originality and the story, plot, characters and dialogue are that of Nic Pizzolatto. Philosophical concepts are free for anyone to use, including writers of fiction, and there have been many such examples in the past. Exploring and engaging with ideas and themes that philosophers and novelists have wrestled with over time is one of the show’s many strengths — we stand by the show, its writing and Nic Pizzolatto entirely.”

Pizzolatto: “Nothing in the television show True Detective was plagiarized. The philosophical thoughts expressed by Rust Cohle do not represent any thought or idea unique to any one author; rather these are the philosophical tenets of a pessimistic, anti-natalist philosophy with an historic tradition including Arthur Schopenauer, Friedrich Nietzche, E.M. Cioran, and various other philosophers, all of whom express these ideas. As an autodidact pessimist, Cohle speaks toward that philosophy with erudition and in his own words. The ideas within this philosophy are certainly not exclusive to any writer.”

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