“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.

Veteran’s…

ministrations.

“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… 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.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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.

” … [T]he media and Democrats have chosen to politicize punctuation over policy…”

The played-for-a-sucker state of Maine offers an alliterative definition of plagiarism, a definition similar to Zygmunt Bauman’s. For Bauman, what others call his plagiarism is merely trivial punctuation error, the sort of thing only trivial people would notice. In the same way, when the state of Maine discovers (via the pissed actual authors) it has given almost a million dollars of taxpayer money to a consultant who plagiarized rather lengthy sections of a report he submitted to the state on the subject of welfare (shades of James Feinerman – though he used Wikipedia), it plays the punctuation card. Plagiarism is an imperfect placement of parentheses (UD is trying to keep the alliteration going); a picayune pleonastic protuberance; a paltry parsing of prose… The consultant himself puts it down to “footnoting problems,” but the real problem is that the consultancy guessed wrong. It guessed the original authors wouldn’t read the consultancy’s obscure little report, or wouldn’t care that they were plagiarized.

**********************

UPDATE: You knew this was coming. You knew it if you read this blog. I have almost never reported a case of one copied source. Plagiarists are career copiers.

[T]he authors took information from as many as five other sources, without attribution or with improper citations of the original source…

Among their many plagiarized sources: the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service.

Well, what’s public service, after all? Providing plagiarizable material to a guy being paid – well, so far he’s been paid $500,000 and I’m not sure the state’s going to be able to get that back – a guy being paid to produce a report about the state welfare system … I mean, the guy’s firm is private, not public; its job is to make money with the least labor output. The Muskie School is there to provide a Public Service… Really, to provide for the public welfare, if you will… And it has done so!

It has written his report for him!

MAINE: THE CONSULTANCY WELFARE STATE

**********************

What a waste.

Waste, embarrassment, lots of things of interest to people who pay taxes in Maine. If I lived in that state, I wouldn’t be happy to know that I was subsidizing a plagiarist.

**********************

Funny the way incredibly stupid public statements come back to bite you on the ass.

“While we do not excuse errors in the report, we are also concerned that the media and Democrats have chosen to politicize punctuation over policy, instead of evaluating these critical reform recommendations on their merits,” Mayhew said in an email to the Press Herald on Wednesday.

Seriously, Commissioner? You pay a guy almost a million bucks for a report that is dead on arrival, then you learn belatedly that he plagiarized parts of it, and now you’re dismissing any and all criticism of this boondoggle as a partisan plot to “politicize punctuation?” What’s next, a statewide ban on semicolons?

Fifty Shades of Plagiarism

CNN ran the material through plagiarism-flagging software, according to the CNN source. That initial scan, says the source, turned up “two or three things,” which caused a deeper examination of “all of [Marie Louise Gumuchian's] work.” That uncovered an “insane” number of problems, according to the source.

Fifty stories plagiarized. Probably more. The investigation is ongoing.

As UD always says, plagiarism is like Lays Potato Chips. Bet you can’t copy just one.

As UD also always says, Gumuchian’s next move is too obvious for words. It’s just a matter of which mental disorder she chooses. She’s probably studying the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual even as we blog.

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