And now this: The culture blog www.gefuehlskonserve.de found out that Hegemann plagiarised – mainly from Strobo, a sex, drugs and clubbing novel by blogger Airen (b. 1981) published last year by SuKuLTuR, a small publishing house in Berlin. Not only did she borrow humorous collocations like “Techno-Plastizität" (techno plasticity) or "Vaselintitten" (Vaseline tits), she lifted whole lines and scene setups.
Helene Hegemann says she’s sorry, she knows it was wrong “not to mention all the people whose writings helped me”. And yet she stands by her novel: after all, “there’s no such thing as originality anyway, there’s only authenticity”. What’s more, she’s only a “lodger” in her own mind: “I help myself to whatever inspires me.”
The virtual poets' society
So people are now crying scandal, but the spreading hullabaloo over the “Hegemann case” is basically a knee-jerk reflex: we think the aura of authenticity is incompatible with a little cribbing. Yet Axolotl Roadkill constructs an aura that no longer acknowledges any distinction between fact and fiction. Helene Hegemann belongs to the "Virtual Poets’ Club” evoked in Strobo: "We’re part of a strand that occasionally slipslides into fiction. It’s all pretty schizophrenic." Incidentally, it was Carl Hegemann who developed the theoretical superstructure for this hybrid artistry: "A reality is no longer encountered, but brought forth by the ‘members’ of a culture.” In this sense Helene Hegemann did what she knows how to do best: she cut-and-pasted together a novelistic existence for herself.