27 April 2005

Melody for president

Power Pundit has a post (content of which has mostly been taken from another blog) that discusses Melody Townsel's plagiarism in college 20 years ago. Power Pundit concludes the post by saying that the plagiarism "blows her credibility out of the water." When I first read this, I thought it was a parody. We're talking about 21 years ago, after all, and plagiarism doesn't exactly count as high crimes in my book. But Power Pundit seems to be blogging this with a straight face. Some conservatives, while supporting the Bolton nomination, have a hard time going along with this latest witch-hunt. My advice to Power Pundit? Step onto a college campus sometime my friend. Throw a rock and try to hit someone who hasn't plagiarized. (Or hasn't raped, killed, snorted coke, or gone AWOL). Of course the post is completely ridiculous. If that's the biggest dirt Melody has in her life in the last two decades, we need to elect her president.

13 comments:

Katharine said...

::waving hand:: To my knowledge, I've never plagiarized. That's a big issue for me as a writer just because what I write (for my own soul) has to be my own. This doesn't make me a special human being, it's just who I need to be for myself.

With that said, this situation with Townsel has amused me because I'd be raking in money if I took every offer I got to write papers and books for others. There is a tremendous effort afoot everywhere these days to buy papers - high school papers, college admission essays, and yes, all the way up to CEO reports. We're not talking a few lazy students: we're talking all the way up to the best paid people in America. (Hint: Dr. Phil doesn't write most of his own books; many regularly appearing columnists DO NOT write their own columns). So to hold Melody - some 20 years ago - to a standard few meet today is just... laughable. Look at Craig's List in the writing section at least once a week and see how many companies are soliciting writers to write everything for others.

I won't do this work myself - except in special circumstances where the person DOES have something to communicate and simply can't write well enough to express themselves. But there are a lot of writers out there who earn their living writing for others. And those writers are paid extremely well simply to shut up about what they did.

Karlo said...

I didn't mean to imply that plagiarism isn't a sleazy thing to do. Simply that the statute of limitations should run out at some point. We're all going to be in a heap-o-trouble come judgment day if Allah or Jehovah is half as harsh as some of these Republicans tend to be.

Katharine said...

Oh, Karlo, you didn't imply at all. I'm simply amazed that this is just such a topic (not here but in various circles) when plagiarism with papers has become more standard than actually writing them yourself. A Frank Luntz probably does author his own stuff but even a Bill O'Reilly does not.

But you're absolutely right on the punitive nature. In high school and college, we're still forming. We make mistakes. Yet this crowd wants to hang a Townsel for something 20 years ago while rewarding a Tom DeLay for never doing anything ethical.

Ever notice that the most judgmental people also have the most reason to worry if someone starts applying the same standard back to them? I say this as a person who used to be rather sacrimonious and judgmental, too.

Karlo said...

There seems to be an abundance of people "without sin" quite willing to throw the first stone. As a Jewish guitar player called Bob once said:

"But I would not feel so all alone.
Everybody must get stoned."

Karlo said...

Speaking of plagiarism, I just noticed that my post on the Chinese strike has been plagiarized (without any attribution or link whatsoever!) from the following blog:

http://yeung027.blogspot.com/2005/04/workers-seek-re-edjumication.html

I suppose that imitation is the greatest form of praise. Even so, it makes me wonder how many other psuedo-Karlos populate the internets.

Karlo said...

Hey Katherine. Let's have some fun. Let's go over to the psuedo-Karlo and start asking him questions about the post (pretending we simply don't understand). We'll force the psuedo-Karlo to confess. He'll end up being banned from humanity for the next 21 years!

Karlo said...

It gets even better. It turns out that Yung Wing Chung's post prior to the plagiarized post was related to ETHICS.

http://yeung027.blogspot.com/
2004/11/tuesday-november-02-2004-
yeung-wing.html

Katharine said...

I went, I saw, I posted. ::grin::

Karlo said...

Okay. The great sting is on.

bw said...

For the record, the plagiarism Melody committed 20 years ago is not as important as the fact that she's being untruthful about it now -- specifically, when she refers to the second incident at "another college." That was no review of a local play that was called into question; nor was it a casual submission as she implied. She was, in fact, the editorial page editor of the college publication, and the article that forced her to leave that position and the paper was a two-page (broadsheet) commentary on world hunger -- of which more than 80 percent was plagiarized word for word from Newsweek and Time.

Karlo said...

Don't you think, though, that there has to be some limits when we assess people's past. I haven't followed the mudslinging, so I can't discuss it, but I would see the problem as not being with Melody's answers but with the questioners who feel that her pecadillos from 2 decades back matter. It's interesting. She's geting grilled over the broiler for some 20-year-old transgression and yet most of the U.S. population is perfectly willing to forgive the prez for lying to the people about U.S. intelligence--a mistake that led to a needless war.

Alicia said...

It seems that Bush could hold up the severed head of John Kerry and no one would care...talk about your Teflon president! What does this guy have to do to be held accountable for his gross misdeeds?

Karlo said...

I don't know. At this point, I think they could find out that he was at the head of some Satanic cult and the conservatives would find a way to justify it.