Charming post by UD‘s buddy Carl Elliott on the burgeoning culture of ghosting (which has a tendency to shade into plagiarism) in the American university bureaucracy.

The trend is getting pretty embarrassing. On more than one occasion, UD has felt that various officials of her own university would lend more dignity to important events if they read their speeches beforehand, so that we didn’t have to watch them struggle through new words and phrases.

But there’s something Carl overlooks in his review of ghosted speeches and columns by university administrators and faculty, and that’s credit. If Carl had agreed (he’s notoriously burdened by conscience) “to lend my name to an article which the public relations office would ghostwrite, but which would be published under my byline,” he’d have been able to list this publication, and many others (he was asked to underwrite a series) in his annual report to the dean, on his cv, etc. Med school professors do this all the time – they take credit for research articles written by other people in and around their labs. Which is why high-profile faculty members of this sort will list, I don’t know, 7,000 publications on their cvs. An entire industry of ghosted books, ghosted articles, and ghosted speeches written by pharma-paid copywriters, public relations people, and grad students, churns away for these people.

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One Response to “‘As Ginsberg says, “faculty members who plagiarize must do so at their own expense.”’”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    Our now (mercifully) departed President Backslapper used to mumble his way through remarks written for him by Gilligan’s PR office. More or less as a rule, he never read through them beforehand, leading to a good deal of unintentional comedy. On one occasion, he repeated the same information more or less verbatim four times within five minutes: evidently the flack was napping at the keyboard herself. Backslapper himself is so obtuse that he did not even notice.

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