Monday, November 04, 2013

Again? It's Happened Again!

What, what?--you must be saying.  What has happened again?

A famous (or at least well-known) person has been caught plagiarizing.  Who, who? -- you say, waiting breathlessly.  Go ahead--breathe--I want to work up to this latest incident.

Now that I am no longer teaching, I do not have occasion to lecture students on the evils of plagiarism.  This topic was a regular cautionary lecture for me to deliver, usually early in a semester, and certainly as part of the instruction on conducting and using research. 

I have written about the topic in this blog--multiple times, I discover when I do a quick search on "plagiarism."  Here's how I railed on the topic previously:

Every semester I try and try to impress upon my students the need for absolute academic integrity. I use several examples of famous people who have been accused of plagiarizing--e.g. accusations made against J. K. Rowling (settled in her favor), against Doris Kearns Goodwin (who indicated that the plagiarism had been inadvertent due to a careless assistant), and against Stephen Ambrose (proven). I even used an essay written by Anna Quindlen about Wayne Newton plagiarizing her, until the students said--who's Wayne Newton, so I abandoned that example.

So, the long and the short of it is--yes, famous people do plagiarize.  And, if they are big enough, they own up to it.

So, herewith--it has happened again.  Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky, has been caught plagiarizing.  Several times, he has used wording, obviously obtained from Wikipedia, and has not credited the source.  Rachel Maddow has done a fine job in her show of "outing" the senator for his intellectual thievery and dishonesty.

And how does this tough, no-nonsense senator respond?  HE WANTS TO CHALLENGE RACHEL TO A DUEL.  Seriously.  Here's an MSNBC story on his response.  And, again, I have to say SERIOUSLY.  Senator Paul makes it sound as though the only reason he doesn't challenge Rachel to a duel is

"... I can’t do that because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then."

I am flabbergasted practically beyond words. Senator Rand Paul is upset because 1) he was caught plagiarizing; 2) he can't admit that he was plagiarizing; 3) he thinks he is being unfairly targeted and picked on for plagiarizing; and 4) he wants to challenge Rachel Maddow to a duel, but he can't because, then, he couldn't be the senator from Kentucky?

NEWS FLASH to Senator Rand Paul--you SHOULDN'T be a United States senator if you are so intellectually dishonest that you plagiarize, and then refuse to own it, and decide that you should challenge the person who publicized your dishonesty to a duel!


Climenheise said...

The struggle for many people is that what Paul did would have been fine if he had used quotation marks; so then people wonder, "what's the big deal?" There are parts of the world where plagiarizing is not only acceptable, but a sign of humility and respect. North America is not one of them. Perhaps Rand Paul was signalling his desire to move to a place where plagiarism is acceptable?

Anvilcloud said...

A duel? Really? Words fail.

Jayne said...

One word... Okay, two. Ego. Power. 'Nuff said.

Ginnie said...

Just another example of the folly of our trusted servants. It leaves shaking my head ...

PS:thanks for the comment on my latest entry. To answer your question...Lisa and her husband and another teacher from the U.S.have a once-a-week session where the students teach them Chinese. Lisa tried to learn it before she left but found it very difficult.

NCmountainwoman said...

I thought Rachel Maddow was pretty gracious when he 'fessed up. Interesting that he should think it's no big deal. And apparently his quotes came from Wikipedia for heaven's sake.