Posts Tagged ‘real arguments from fictional characters’

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?

Continue reading