Dustin Parkes

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Dustin Parkes’ 26th Dream

I had a dream last night. That’s not all together uncommon. Human beings have dreams. What is uncommon, at least for me, is that my dream last night should be so vivid in my memory this morning. I’m not one to remember my dreams, which is pretty great for my friends, because they never have to tolerate boring stories about my dreams.

So, please understand that it’s rare for me to write about my dreams. In fact, it’s only the 26th dream that I’ve ever remembered in my life, and it’s the first I’ve ever bothered to share with anyone else. That’s partly why I ask that you indulge me here with reading about my 26th dream.

Anyway, in my dream, I was laying in bed with my bedroom set like it normally is except for a large mound of rope on the floor. It was the type of rope I would imagine to be common in shipping yards or the type used to tie up a mythical giant: big, a dirty yellowish colour with some oil stains soaked into the braided fabric.

It coiled from the mound, and led out my bedroom door. I can’t explain the reason behind the motivation in my dream, but I felt compelled to follow this rope, to see where it originated or concluded, for I did not know which end of the rope was in the mound on my bedroom floor.

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Damien Cox’s latest piece on baseball at his Toronto Star blog brings up an unpopular question.

And for the following unpopular question, blame plagiarism in the mainstream media and all the nonsense it has spewed over the past decade.

Don’t blame me.

When it comes to Damien Cox, how is it that as he approaches his 49th birthday, he’s suddenly become a more prolific writer at The Toronto Star?

Chance? Healthy living? Diet? Better computer? Comfortable office chair?

Anyone reading about the Dave Fuller citation case this week, which of course brings up all of journalism’s tawdry plagiarism history, should at least be willing to wonder about Cox’s sudden transformation into a prolific wordsmith.

This is a writer, don’t forget, who in addition to writing a column for the Toronto Star, also works on a blog at the newspaper’s website and contributes to both ESPN.com and The Hockey News, all while finding time to appear as a regular on TSN’s The Reporters and That’s Hockey.

It’s a wonder that with all of his writing that Cox has the time to go down to the hockey arena or the baseball park and ask the tough questions that inform his tough opnions.

It’s quite a story, huh?

Makes one remember Stephen Glass, who went from a young writer at The New Republic to a rising star of journalism over a three year period.

Things happen in writing, I guess.

The great news for Cox is that the more visible he remains to the public, the better chance he has of publishing another book. That would motivate any writer to find a way to get his name out there.

The newspaper industry, we know, has quietly become known as a bit of a nest for alleged plagiarists over the years. Zachary Kouwe wrote for the New York Times. Gerald Posner has been implicated. Ditto for Mike Barnicle.

And now comes Cox. Toronto Star readers will, of course, angrily respond to the suggestion that everything isn’t on the up-and-up.

Maybe Damien Cox is just one of the great individual stories in journalism this season. This could be his career year, and he could deserve nothing but credit and praise.

But the fact is that the newspaper industry’s history, and the Nixonian way in which publishers have chosen to deal with the issue over the years, should compel any intelligent person to wonder when a writer suddenly starts producing more content than he ever has in his career.

Toronto Star fans won’t like it. But you’ve got to at least ask the question when it comes to Damien Cox.

For the fact that we do, blame newspapers.