Posts Tagged ‘Plagiarism’

Louie Louie Louie: Oh Louie/Tickets

As Season Two of Louie continues on FX, John S and Josh will be offering NPI readers their reactions to each episode. At the end of the season, they will rank the episodes. Get excited.

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The Drawing Board: Plagiarism

Is plagiarism bad? People have discussed it before, but I can’t exactly tell you what they said, now can I? I guess I could, if I put it in my own words. But I don’t have any words. I got mine from a dictionary written by this guy—I don’t want to say his name because you bastards will probably tip him off that I’m stealing his words. Or I could cite the source, but I don’t have my own system of citation, and I’m not about to just rip off the Modern Lang…er, I mean, no one.

That first paragraph is what’s called satire. We learned about it in 10th grade. It’s when you say something really smart, but then you trick people into thinking you want to eat babies for food. I’ll spare you that part and just tell you: The really smart thing I was trying to say is that plagiarism isn’t easy to understand, and it’s not necessarily bad. I bet we’ve all benefited from plagiarism at some point in our lives. I know I have. Let’s just say that without plagiarism, this would be my very first column.

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Aggravating Aggregators

Maury Brown is the most recent to address the growing “problem” of aggregating websites. In case you are new to the Internet, these are sites that simply collect and link to other sites, contributing little or no original content.

Brown outlines the unhappy reactions of those who are producing original reporting— mainly, newspapers.

Now, this dilemma is not new, but one particular part of Brown’s piece interested me. In discussing MetsBlog.com, a blog devoted to (you guessed it) the New York Mets and one of the most popular of the so-called “aggregating” websites, Brown mentions that many Mets beat writers resent the site’s popularity.

Recently, though, Matthew Cerrone, the blog’s founder, tweeted this response to critics: “WFAN just cited a newspaper report on air. I tried to click the link, but it was radio, so I guess I can’t read the original report.” Continue reading

Plagiarism Symposium Part IV: Words Ain’t Got No Owners, Only Users

Here’s a word, Josh, that I find intrinsically cringeworthy: plagiarism, from plagium, “kidnapping.” What I detest about plagiarism is the insinuation that words and ideas can be “kidnapped,” and the succeeding one that they can be owned with some exclusivity.

I, it would seem, come at this issue from an idiosyncratic angle—much of my career having been spent in what some would deem ideological plagiarism. These “some”—the ones who denounce my ongoing quest to write Don Quixote word-for-word as Cervantes did—are ignorant of the process of artistic development. Let me, for the sake of the ignorant, parse down my astronomically lofty goal to a simple question: Is it more impressive for Miguel de Cervantes—a 17th-century Spaniard, a Catholic, a man with a rich military history—to write Don Quixote than it is for Pierre Menard—a 20th-century Frenchman who does not speak Spanish, who does not practice Catholicism, and who has no military history, let alone a rich one—to do so?

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Plagiarism Symposium Part III: Which Words Are Your Own?

Josh, first of all I agree that there is a wide spectrum between unoriginality and theft; perhaps I was a little too Manichean in my wording.

With that said, though, I think intent is often hard, if not impossible to determine. Take the Mencia/Lopez examples. The jokes in question are pretty standard “Mexican-culture-is-funny” jokes. I think Josh will agree that neither of them “owns” or has propriety over this genre of jokes.

Within this genre there are obviously a wide variety of jokes, but they often overlap to a very large extent, without any obvious malice or dishonesty. When jokes are obvious or unoriginal, they often sound the same without any ill intent. Take, for example, this video:

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Plagiarism Symposium Part II: My Own Words?

Through the lens of Infinite Jest (on a moderately-related note: I, along with co-blogger Tim, have officially begun our infinite summers… maybe this should have been a footnote), John S digs into some really interesting issues surrounding plagiarism in creative endeavors.

John admits uncertainty on why David Foster Wallace’s possible plagiarism makes him feel betrayed. In his process of understanding what is causing this feeling of betrayal, he first looks at music and comedy. Let’s examine comedy more closely: John rightly implies that Carlos Mencia’s jokes sound an awful lot like George Lopez’s (and many other comedians). John’s conclusion is that: “The real ‘crime’ in situations like this is unoriginality or parallel thinking, not theft.” I have to respectfully disagree. Isn’t there something between unoriginality and theft?
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