ArtInfo was complaining last year about Carol Vogel’s tendency to…

… pick up other writers’ scoops without bothering to credit them; now, the New York Times reporter’s rather lax journalistic code has landed her in much bigger trouble.

The New York Times is reviewing an accusation of plagiarism against veteran reporter Carol Vogel, who was charged with lifting a paragraph from a Wikipedia article for a story about Italian Renaissance painter Piero di Cosimo.

UD is aware that it has become fashionable to dismiss plagiarism as of no importance. Everyone, after all, seems to do it. Yet think of it this way – The New York Times – America’s paper of record – is paying one of its senior writers a very good yearly salary to scan and lift Wikipedia pages for it. Speaking only for myself – a longtime NYT subscriber – I am not happy to hear that my subscription money is going toward this activity. I can read Wikipedia on my own; I don’t have to pay the NYT to have its reporters read it and then reproduce it for me.

Penny wise, pound foolish.

UD has said it a hundred times: When assembling your writing staff, be willing to pay more for quality people. Matthew Whitaker of Arizona State University has been burned twice:

Professor Whitaker didn’t apologize, but blamed his initial plagiarism on the people he hired to do his research and writing for him.

That was his initial plagiarism. He hasn’t fared any better with his latest crew of writers.

Remember: Diddle me once, shame on you. Diddle me twice, shame on me.

“So here’s my question to the Army War College, an institution that I have heretofore admired greatly — how in the hell did this piece of s**t result in the awarding of an M.A. degree?”

Plagiarism is hell.

Point One: When a particular instance is discovered, there’s almost always more from the same person. Plagiarism is a career choice.

Point Two: The panicked plagiarist almost always responds like a complete idiot to the discovery, as with the War College’s finest, Senator John Walsh, whose thirteen and a half page MA thesis…

Wait. Thirteen and a half page MA thesis…? Oy.

Anyway, back to the main event. Point Three:

The university that passed the plagiarized thesis now comes under heavy scrutiny. As in: Does the War College specialize in awarding MAs to thirteen and a half page pastiches of other people’s writing? Who pays for the War College? Zat my taxes?? Hold on, lemme check.

I don’t have to check! It’s the effing army! The Army!

So… okay… I saved on paper. What if he’d written a standard 50 to 100 page thesis? But beyond that…

Raise your hand if you WEREN’T…

… plagiarized by John Walsh.



“Only the Americans appear to take this sort of thing seriously.”

Puritanical little buggers that we are, we alone, complains this frustrated plagiarist-outer, take seriously things like an entire career founded on stealing other people’s writing. We alone not only manage to summon disapproval of plagiarism; we also act on that disapproval. For instance, Americans are notorious for firing or fining high school superintendents who plagiarize graduation speeches; and there are simply scads of American high school superintendents who plagiarize graduation speeches… Superintendents who do many naughty things… Whereas the British (Neil Harmon, languid tennis journalist who has just languidly copped to having copied, is a Brit) are all oh reaaaaaallly about it…

Or perhaps we are being asked to pity, rather than condemn, a person whose dissociative disorder is so severe that he writes about his decades of plagiarism like this:

It has been brought to my attention that I have severely compromised my position…, having used unattributed material to form part of my writing of the Wimbledon Yearbook.

Big thanks, chaps, for bringing the fact that I’m a plagiarist to my attention. I must say, something in the way I wrote did seem… odd… Yet I couldn’t put a finger on it until you were so kind as to bring it to my attention. Good show!

“[A]t least five other UIC nursing dissertations [had] higher plagiarism index scores than hers, and at least 30 other UIC dissertations [had] high or problematic plagiarism scores.”

The sport of competitive plagiarizing is upon us, in which people accused of plagiarism use the same software their accusers used, in order to demonstrate that everybody plagiarizes. In fact, some people plagiarize more than the accused do, so why are the accused being singled out?

How many of these objects of plagiarism claims, though, can lay claim to the title of provost? Your chief academic officer may herself be a plagiarist?

This must be Chicago State University, corrupt dropout factory extraordinaire. (Background here.)

So the provost is suing the school that passed and is now investigating her degree (privacy issues), which for CSU means another embarrassing high-profile lawsuit to go with the free speech one FIRE just filed against the school, and the just-concluded one in which a judge made CSU pay a whopping three million dollars to a campus whistle blower against whom the institution retaliated.

I’m sure the taxpayers of Illinois, who pay for this school (I don’t think it has any students anymore… maybe a few…?), take comfort in the fact that the money they’re paying for the provost’s salary is going to someone who apparently plagiarized less than some of her classmates.

Greater love hath no man than this, that he…

… lay down a brief resume of a book for his friend.


UD can’t get too excited about the gathering Zizek plagiarizes from a “white nationalist hate group” magazine storm. As the editor of Critical Inquiry (which published what UD is pretty certain will turn out to be only the first widely known piece of plagiarism from Zizek) admits, the guy did indeed plagiarize, and from a most unlikely source…

Yet what is in this story that isn’t already there in the Jonah Lehrer, Johan Hari, Chris Hedges, Stephen Glass, Phil Jacob, Jason Blair, etc., etc., etc. story?

We seem to like to be fooled. Bernard Madoff’s returns were outrageously too good to be true. Didn’t stop everybody from investing with him.


UD thanks Dave for tipping her off to the story.

Nothing shows contempt like plagiarizing your commencement speech.

There they sit, the proud medical school graduates and their parents, the proud high school students and their parents, and there you go honoring their efforts by not even being willing to get off your ass and write your own speech. Fuck ‘em. The fools won’t notice I stole the speech because they’re too fucking stupid.

But even in the sorriest group there are always a few people who figure things out. (One audience found the speech online as it was being mouthed and they were able to follow along, word for word, in real time.)

Unlike the Canadian med school dean up there, who fessed up immediately and resigned, the Mansfield Massachusetts school superintendent seems to be trying to talk her way out of the thing. She didn’t plagiarize!

Let UD be as clear as she can be: This woman is an insult to the school and should be fired.


And off she goes.

“Education Minister Nominee Grilled Over Alleged Plagiarism”

Scathing Online Schoolmarm agrees that plagiarism is a very bad thing, but grilling seems to her an overreaction.


OTOH, assuming the nominee survives, SOS has doubts about his capacity for logic (a capacity for logic, like a capacity for independent thought, being a good thing in an education minister). When confronted with his spectacularly large plagiarism portfolio, the nominee said:

“(The theses) contain information that is widely available,” he said. “I don’t think that can be called plagiarism.”

This comment put SOS in mind of the Doonesbury collection titled “But the Pension Fund was Just Sitting There”

Plagiarism Capital of the World Appoints Plagiarist Education Minister.

It’s right and meet, I guess. If your country represents scholarly plagiarism to the world, you want the public face of your educational establishment to be a plagiarist. It’s the Korean way.

And Kim Myung-soo really fits the bill. He’s been stealing his students’ papers and publishing them under his own name for decades.

UD also likes the particular form of plagiarism favored by Korea’s intellectual elite. Pretty much everyone does it like Kim Myung-soo: You steal your students’ papers.

There’s an extra cramp of revulsion one feels in contemplating plagiarism that involves taking advantage of your superior position to exploit the hard work of an inferior who can do absolutely nothing about it, except to turn around and do the same thing to her underlings when she gets the chance.

“Roosevelt students lampooned the incident by wearing ‘Albany Class of 2013′ T-shirts.”

When the principal of your school is a career plagiarist, satire’s the only way to go.

Hedges Hedges…

… on the question of whether he’s a career plagiarist; and you would too, especially if you’re carrying around not only your own divinity degree, but honorary doctorates from two seminaries.

Still, this New Republic piece does seem to have the goods on Chris Hedges, prolific political writer…

The case, if proved, reminds UD of Johan Hari, another self-styled George Orwell (Hari even won the Orwell Prize, though he had to give it back) whose plagiarism bore the same reckless mark as Hedge’s apparently totally over the top use of other people’s ideas and prose.

Lots of other wonder boys come to mind here too: Jonah Lehrer. Phil Jacob. Stephen Glass. Jayson Blair. So many others.

“We’ve paid you just over half a million for this pile of moose dung. According to your contract, we still owe you another 400 grand. What do you have to say about that?”

Some are born plagiarists, some achieve plagiarism, some have plagiarism thrust upon them, and some charge states half a million dollars for plagiarism.

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