True Detective's impressive ratings and critical acclaim came, in no small part, from Matthew McConaughey's performance as protagonist Rust Cohle. The character's pessimistic philosophical monologues are one of True Detective's most memorable trademarks, and they'll probably earn McConaughey a Best Actor Emmy later this month.
But as series creator Nic Pizzolatto prepares True Detective's second season, some viewers are accusing him of plagiarizing the very monologues that put his HBO drama on the map. Mike Davis, the editor of The Lovecraft eZine, collaborated with Thomas Ligotti Online founder Jon Padgett to track down similarities between Rust Cohle's dialogue in True Detective and a Thomas Ligotti book called The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. The duo found nearly a dozen instances in which Cohle's dialogue seemed to be cribbed from Ligotti; you can compare them for yourself at The Lovecraft eZine.
"As I reviewed Jon's research, and did more of my own, any doubts I had about plagiarism disappeared," Davis writes. "It became obvious to me that Pizzolatto had plagiarized Thomas Ligotti and others — in some places using exact quotes, and in others changing a word here and there, paraphrasing in much the same way that a high school student will cheat on an essay by copying someone else's work and substituting a few words of their own."
Pizzolatto hasn't responded to the accusations, but he has occasionally acknowledged Ligotti's influence on the show. "I read The Conspiracy Against the Human Race and found it incredibly powerful writing," he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "For me as a reader, it was less impactful as philosophy than as one writer's ultimate confessional: an absolute horror story, where the self is the monster. In episode one [of True Detective] there are two lines in particular (and it would have been nothing to re-word them) that were specifically phrased in such a way as to signal Ligotti admirers." Consider them signaled. Scott Meslow
Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail on Thursday for Democrats running for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, and told voters to reject the "old politics of division" that date back centuries. "It's the 21st century," he said, "not the 19th century. Come on!"
This was his first time out stumping since he left the White House, and Obama warned of people who "demonize" those who don't agree with them in order to "get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage." While speaking in Virginia on behalf of Ralph Northam, Obama was focused on his opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, but his comments could also apply to Trump. "If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern," he said, and it's especially difficult to "unite them later if that's how you start."
In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy is doing well in the polls, but Obama, with a nod to 2016, told a crowd in Newark, "You can't take this election or any election for granted — I don't know if you all noticed that. You've got to run through the tape." Thousands waited in line in New Jersey and Virginia to attend the rallies, and Obama was interrupted at one point during the Northam event with chants of "Four more years!" He quipped, "I refer you both to the Constitution, as well as to Michelle Obama, to explain why that won't happen." Catherine Garcia
Somehow President Trump has turned a question about four U.S. soldiers dying in Niger into a weeklong blowup about his respect for fallen service members and his predecessors, Trevor Noah marveled on Thursday's Daily Show. By the sound of it, families who lost a child or spouse in combat "may start out hoping that the president would reach out, and they end up wishing that they had let his calls go to voicemail," he said, recapping the saga involving Trump's call to the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson.
"Now look, in Trump's defense — and I know people don't like hearing that phrase — Donald Trump is the worst at words," Noah said. "He was probably trying to convey a heartfelt message but instead the people interpreted it as him disrespecting the troops. That's what they said: He was trying something, and then people are now like, 'Donald Trump, you disrespected the troops!' I bet you wherever Colin Kaepernick is right now, he's probably like, 'Well, ain't that a bitch.'"
"Trump can't be faulted for not being articulate, but he can be blamed for making an unnecessary problem worse," Noah said. He acted out Trump's surly response and the stern response from a parental electorate, ending with a joke about accidents. Watch below. Peter Weber
The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the World Series after defeating the Chicago Cubs 11-1 on Thursday night at Wrigley Field, winning the National League Championship Series in a Game 5 blowout.
It was a big night for Dodgers slugger Enrique Hernandez, who hit three home runs and set an NLCS record for most RBIs in a game, the Los Angeles Times reports. This is the Dodgers' first pennant win since 1988, and they will face off against either the Houston Astros or New York Yankees in the first game of the World Series next Tuesday in Los Angeles. Catherine Garcia
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is backing out of a controversial scheduled appearance at the Women's Convention next week in Detroit in order to visit Puerto Rico, where in the wake of Hurricane Maria, 3 million people remain without power and 1 million don't have running water.
In a statement, Sanders apologized to the organizers of the convention for having to cancel, adding, "Given the emergency situation in Puerto Rico, I will be traveling there to visit with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and other officials to determine the best way forward to deal with the devastation the island is experiencing."
The Women's Convention is a three-day event put on by the same organizers behind the Women's March in January. When it was announced that Sanders was speaking on opening night, there was immediate backlash from critics wondering why the honor was given to a man. In response, co-president Tamika Mallory said Sanders was not the convention's headliner, and he was invited because he's a "fierce champion of women's rights." Prominent women appearing at the event include Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and actress and activist Piper Perabo. Catherine Garcia
On Thursday night, the Senate approved a 2018 budget resolution on a 51-49 vote, authorizing adding another $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over a decade in order to cover President Trump's proposed tax cuts. The budget resolution contains a provision allowing Senate Republicans to pass a tax bill with no Democratic votes.
Trump's tax plan is still being developed, but Democrats are warning voters that all signs point to it benefiting the wealthiest Americans and corporations. An amendment was crafted by House and Senate Republicans so they don't have to spend weeks reconciling the Senate budget with the version the House has already passed. Both the House and Senate tax-writing committees are trying to release their draft legislation by early November. Catherine Garcia
In an op-ed for The New York Times published Thursday, actress Lupita Nyong'o described several uncomfortable encounters she had with Harvey Weinstein, saying she's speaking up to "make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance."
Nyong'o said she first met Weinstein in 2011 while a student at the Yale School of Drama, and was warned he "could be a bully." He invited her to screen a movie at his Connecticut home, and he led her into his bedroom, where he said he wanted to give her a massage. "For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe," she said. Nyong'o turned the tables and offered him a massage, because "it would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times," she wrote. When he said he wanted to take off his pants, Nyong'o headed to the door. "I didn't quite know how to process the massage incident," she said. "I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled for, but not overtly sexual." Months later, he overtly propositioned her at dinner, and she said no.
After 12 Years a Slave came out in 2013, Weinstein approached Nyong'o and told her he had "treated me so badly in the past," she said. "He was ashamed of his actions and he promised to respect me moving forward. I said thank you and left it at that. But I made a quiet promise to myself to never ever work with Harvey Weinstein." Now that other women have come forward with Weinstein stories, Nyong'o said she can see there "is clearly power in numbers." While she wishes she had known then that she wasn't alone, Nyong'o is thankful for those who have shared their stories. "Now that we are speaking," she said, "let us never shut up about this kind of thing." Catherine Garcia
At least two potential candidates for U.S. attorney positions in New York have been personally interviewed by President Trump, including one person who, if nominated and confirmed, would have jurisdiction over Trump Tower in Manhattan, two people familiar with the matter told Politico.
It's unclear when Trump met with Geoffrey Berman of the law firm Greenburg Traurig and Ed McNally of the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, Politico reports. Berman is seen as a possible candidate for U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which oversees the area where Trump Tower is, and McNally for the Eastern District. White House Counsel Don McGahn has been tasked with leading the process of filling the U.S. attorney posts, and an administration official told Politico Trump asks for regular updates on the Southern District position.
Trump also personally met with Jessie Liu when she was a candidate for U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, documents submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee show, and she was later confirmed by the Senate. "To be very blunt, these three jurisdictions will have authority to bring indictments over the ongoing special counsel investigation into Trump campaign collusion with the Russians and potential obstruction of justice by the president of the United States," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told Politico Thursday. "For him to be interviewing candidates for that prosecutor who may in turn consider whether to bring indictments involving him and his administration seems to smack of political interference." Catherine Garcia