A Plagiarist's Brain
(with apologies to Homer Simpson)
What drives an individual to steal the work of someone else and claim it as their own? Particularly someone in a position of trust, like David Boyer who writers for years thought was a legitimate publisher until his sordid underside was exposed. He solicited manuscripts from writers, all the while concealing from the fact that he steals writer's manuscripts and claims them as his own. Worse, he is now going after young writers. What in the world goes through his mind? Is he evil or mentally ill?
The answers to these questions are important to us as a writing community, because to a considerable extent it should govern how we deal with such a problem.
But before we get to that, there is something cognitively uncomfortable about a fifty year old plagiarist and scam artist soliciting young writers (for manuscripts, that is). This seems to be a common tendency of swindlers, scam artists, thieves and con men. When in trouble, look for "marks" that are more gullible.
This is to some degree a practical necessity for David Boyer because his reputation as a plagiarist and someone who does not pay royalties is spreading around the genre community (not limited to just horror anymore). And since several large writing organizations have broadcast that he has stolen other writers works, and that complaints have been filed to the Attorney General of Indiana, where else can he get more people to con than eager young writers who perhaps have not had the money or confidence to join the SFWA or the HWA.
Boyer and other con men (plagiarists, deliberate copyright violators and other intellectual crooks) frequently operate under multiple identities. There is a practical element in this behavior as well, as it somewhat makes it easier for them to operate incognito, but it also places a logistics burden on the plagiarist who is thereby required maintain those identities. This makes them prone to mistakes. Many people misinterpret this as a desire to get caught, but in too many cases it is a reflection of the con's lack of organizational skill. It is true that their deficient organizational skills are sometimes rooted in a con's weak sense of credible identity. Long distance it's difficult to ascertain which of these applies most accurately to Boyer. Perhaps both.
In part II, we'll discuss which of Boyer's behavioral mechanism can shed light on his psychology or moral vacuity.
I'm open to new ideas on this topic and would really appreciate your opinion as we continue.