Skip to main content

Why copy someone else, when you can copy yourself, risk-free?

To this conundrum, Hegemann has added a heaping dollop of generational special pleading, and the story has prompted teachers to offer multiple examples of students who don't seem to understand what plagiarism is or that it's wrong. Kids these days, this Cassandra-ish line of reasoning goes, have unfathomably different values, and their elders had better come to terms with this because children are, after all, the future. You can't tell them anything! It's as if people under 25 have become the equivalent of an isolated Amazonian tribe who can't justly be expected to grasp our first-world prohibitions against polygamy or cannibalism -- despite the fact that they've grown up in our very midst. (Laura Miller, Plagiarism: The next generation, Salon, 16 Feb. 2010)

The equally bad variant

You need all As to get a good grad school. Experimentation might at some point lead to something great AND polished, but at first it'll be but an inkling, look awkward, feel raw, and draw the occasional "10" but also more than a few "5s" from the Korean-Swiss-American-whatever judge. Who can risk Bs while you get the hang of it, when it may just be enough to count you out for good, and embarrass you while your more professional-minded friends stick with the familiar and certain and collect their ready baskets of achievement accolades? Almost no one. If you abandon the effort, and repeat the already known, even you're hippie parents will secretly be relieved to have an easier time now bragging about your brilliance.

So the cynical smart student -- the one we apparently want -- learns not to plagiarize, which is risky, but to put forth the solid but familiar-boring, over and over again -- that is, not to grow. The grad school gets the writing sample beginning with, "This essay will problematize . . . " know they've got a savy careerer, and invite her/him on in.

Plagiarism is an interesting topic. But let's not let those who get As but who aren't fundamentally interested in self-growth, know their doing anything but a (socially approved/desired) variant.

Link: Plagiarism: The next generation (Salon)


Popular posts from this blog

Superimposing another "fourth-wall" Deadpool

I'd like to superimpose the fourth-wall breaking Deadpool that I'd like to have seen in the movie. In my version, he'd break out of the action at some point to discuss with us the following:
1) He'd point out that all the trouble the movie goes to to ensure that the lead actress is never seen completely naked—no nipples shown—in this R-rated movie was done so that later when we suddenly see enough strippers' completely bared breasts that we feel that someone was making up for lost time, we feel that a special, strenuous effort has been made to keep her from a certain fate—one the R-rating would even seemed to have called for, necessitated, even, to properly feed the audience expecting something extra for the movie being more dependent on their ticket purchases. That is, protecting the lead actress was done to legitimize thinking of those left casually unprotected as different kinds of women—not as worthy, not as human.   

2) When Wade/Deadpool and Vanessa are excha…

"The Zookeeper's Wife" as historical romance

A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.

The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …

"Life" as political analogy, coming to you via Breitbart News

Immediately after seeing the film, I worked over whether or not the movie works as something the alt-right would produce to alienate us from the left. Mostly the film does work this way  -- as a sort of, de facto, Breitbart production -- I decided, though it's not entirely slam-dunk. There is no disparagement evident for the crew of the space station being a multicultural mix, for instance. Race is not invisible in the film; it feels conspicuous at times, like when the Japanese crew member is shown looking at his black wife on video conference; but the film maker, wherever he was actually raised, seems like someone who was a longtime habitat of a multicultural milieu, some place like London, and likes things that way. But the film cannot convince only as macabre relating to our current fascination with the possibility of life on Mars -- what it no doubt pretends to be doing -- because the idea of “threat” does not permeate this interest at all, whereas it absolutely saturates our …