“Keep in mind that we’re not counting, here, the high school principal (heartfelt commencement speech) or the man of God (sermons). Although they always bring a sparkle to UD‘s eyes, these cases [of plagiarism] are too measly to be worth noticing.”

Or not. Apparently Sermon Stealing is worth noticing (by the New York Times!) on a sort of high-season basis, when one instance of it goes viral and prompts urgent discussion about the morality of getting emotional in front of the flock and testifying to someone else’s love of Jesus as if it were your own.

This latest shock and awe that ill-educated inspirationalists copy their betters will blow over in a sec, and the Bible Belt Industrial Complex will resume operations.

Nothing is real. Nothing to get hung about.

While plagiarism accusations have proven a number one reason for political resignations in the Merkel era, they usually centre on politicians’ doctoral thesis. Baerbock’s [plagiarized] book, entitled Now: How We Can Renew Our Country, is a mass-market nonfiction title in which the Green politician lays out her political philosophy, ghostwritten by a journalist.

Somewhere, under the pile of plagiarism, ghostwriting, and vacuous title, lies – I think – a person, a Green party leader… Does she have a name, or did her parents hand that too off to a ghostwriter?

Oh, Baerbock. Does it say “Baerbock’s book” up there? In what way is a ghostwritten plagiarized pre-pulped poopoo platter Baerbock’s book? And since when does the Green Party endorse wasting paper on plumped up platitudes?

University President Resigns Due to Excessive Weirdness

Who knows why the University of South Carolina president, addressing a proud contingent of students and parents on an important day, referred to the students as lucky graduates of the University of California? Who knows why he for the third time (reportedly) recycled in this speech a plagiarized paragraph from a speech by a famous Navy Seal? Who knows why (according to some observers) he slurred his words throughout?

I don’t know why. But let me speculate about Bob Caslen, who has now resigned. Let me begin with the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips:

These are parts of ourselves – that don’t want to live, that hate our children, that want ourselves to fail. Freud is saying there is something strange about humans: they are recalcitrant to what is supposed to be their project.

I think anyone reviewing Caslen’s odd behaviors (which, according to some, predate this speech) would want to entertain the possibility that he hates his job (the university bestowed it unwillingly; he has been an unpopular president) and wants out; but rather than grasp that fact forthrightly (a military man, he has always done his duty) he has at it were allowed his unconscious to have its way with his situation. He has allowed his recalcitrance to what is supposed to be his project to emerge, and USC got the message.

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

For a wee bit more insight into the whole “unconscious” thing, consider the fact that in Donald Trump the USA experienced its first president with no apparent unconscious. He lost an election and this made him mad; to get the election back he sent a mob to the Capitol to kill his vice president (who made him mad), take out the Congress, destroy democracy, and get back what he wanted. When desperate allies called him from the besieged building, he blew them off and went back to enjoying the riot’s tv footage. Now THAT’S having no unconscious. Recalcitrant to his project? Just like Ubu the King, Trump was happily blowing up the world to achieve his project.

But this is very rare. Outside of select psychopaths, most everyone has an unconscious.

News from Trump Country

After referring to his institution as the University of California in this year’s commencement speech, the president of the University of South Carolina plagiarized, verbatim, a paragraph about personal ethics.

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

How do you achieve this outcome?

Let’s put aside things like a drop of the hard stuff. Without that it seems pretty unaccountable, no?

Here’s what UD figures, FWIW:

Like many busy people, the president of the University of South Carolina has a squad of speechwriters. Here perhaps are the two things that went wrong:

  1. He mentioned to one of them that he liked this one quotation a lot, and it seemed real pertinent, so could the ghostwriter work it in. Sure, boss. Only the ghostwriter (who may have been a student) stuck it in without attribution.
  2. I’m gonna go with an overly obliging spellcheck on the California thingie. Student’s typing the speech real fast and misses the fact that after she puts down the letters University of Ca the app figures she means California and helpfully fills that in for her. As to why the president went ahead and read California – that’s an easy one, eh? He’s never seen a word of the speech before delivering it, and he’s on automatic pilot, paying very little attention to what he’s saying, thinking mainly about the reception right after the speech… … …
We’ll have an old-fashioned plagiarism; excused in the good old-fashioned way…

[Sing along:]

I’ll vow it’s coincidental;

They’ll vote me rector on the very next day…

Elizabeth, a UD reader, sends me word of Jerzy Gwizdała, an economist at Gdańsk University, who just loves him some plagiarism.

Jerzy plagiarizes in the absolutely classical professorial mode, a mode familiar to any reader who’s been on board University Diaries for any time (check out my PLAGIARISM category if you need refreshing): You steal from the work of smarter, more industrious, students; you steal repeatedly, from a variety of such sources; you steal almost entirely verbatim; you expand your markets by translating the plagiarized material into various languages and publishing in foreign outfits; when cornered, you brush it off as a not very interesting, and very minor, set of coincidences.

Entire sections of [a student’s paper] were “copy-and-paste” plagiarized from [the student’s] PhD thesis. 

Gwizdała also translated sections of [the same student’s] PhD thesis to English in 2018, sent it to the University of Gdańsk Publishing House, and had it published as a book chapter. 

The student notes JG’s response:

Gwizdała issued a statement in which he claimed that the alleged plagiarism instances were just an “ostensible (seeming) coincidence of some excerpts (pozorna zbieżność pewnych fragmentów).”

And after all, stealing from… students… peons … isn’t really stealing… They should be honored that we … incorporate their work into our own…!

Here is King Jerzy, reveling in his finery shortly before he was stripped of it. Not that the Polish university establishment has found the balls to fire him; he has been “suspended” from all duties. So his punishment seems to be that he pulls down a full salary (?) while sitting on his ass.

**********

And why old-fashioned? Because it was all a coincidence has become threadbare, and is rejected by most modern plagiarists. The next time Jerzy gets caught, UD would advise him to use one or more of the following:

  1. My assistant did it.
  2. I suffer from cryptomnesia.
  3. I have substance abuse issues.
  4. I have problems at home.
Just a handy reminder of two of UD’s most venerable truths:

1.) Plagiarists almost never plagiarize just once. Plagiarism is a compulsive, prolific act.

2.) In America, school superintendents are notorious career plagiarists. I’m not sure why this group in particular is always rising to the top; but in years of blogging, I’ve covered school superintendents more than any other group.

School Superintendent’s Apology for Plagiarism is a Run-on Sentence.

The guy probably earns around $200,000, but he’s too lazy/semi-literate to write a brief thank you note to the school community without plagiarizing it. Almost the entire letter is lifted from other sources.

Like a lot of people who do this (and for some reason school superintendents are particularly keen), he adds to his admirable traits a certainty that the fools he works with will never detect the theft.

His apology demonstrates why he stole. The man can’t write.

I know this behavior is not acceptable and minimizes my intent to tell you that I understand that last Spring and this school year have been very challenging for all of you and let you know that I truly do appreciate everything that all of you are doing to meet the needs of all our students and families and supporting each other.

The man can’t write, and he runs an entire school system. Why don’t the people of Rochester Minnesota think they deserve better than this?

Pity Magali Roques, a perfectly innocent cell biologist at the University of Bern.

She shares a name with naughty serial plagiarist Magali Roques, a medievalist who steals from just everybody. Naughty Magali plagiarizes at so high a level that she is reported to be “the sole philosopher recruited by the [prestigious] CNRS for a junior position last year.” Details here.

Can anyone be surprised that in high school Jessica Krug was already a plagiarist?

[As a high school senior, Krug was] disciplined for having plagiarized a piece that ran under her name in the school’s literary magazine.

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear…

… when UD spent so much time covering academic plagiarism that she evolved a tripartite motivational structure for the act:

ATELIER

AMBITION

ADDICTED

See details here.

A recent high-profile case falls cleanly into AMBITION. A UC Irvine professor is young, smart, already remarkably successful, and admirably ambitious for her education reform ideas to gain traction. She picks up significant material from other sources without bothering to quote it, giving the reader the impression she herself wrote it.

If this woman is like most other plagiarists, more instances of this behavior will almost certainly be found among her published works.

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

So far a typical Ambition case. What distinguishes this person from other non-attributors is not her silence in regard to press inquiries – everyone caught doing this sort of thing is very tight-lipped – but rather the random appearance of a colleague of hers at Irvine, who has written a threatening, semi-literate email on her behalf to Retraction Watch.

UD must say – this doesn’t seem to me a red-letter day for women’s liberation. A woman is challenged, and in gallops some guy to snarl for her.

Self-plagiarist…

bombs.

Jane Lee, the Chinese Nationalist Party Candidate for Mayor of a Major City in Taiwan…

… plagiarized 96% of her university thesis.

(I think this means one hundred percent? I mean like let’s say she came up with her name and some acknowledgements all by herself; that still leaves the entire document.)

Here she is crying her eyes out like a big girl and saying fuck! everyone does it around here….

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

(UD thanks Chris.)

Psychotic Retraction

The committee called for 2528 papers to be retracted from 541 journals.

And I’m pretty sure they’re just getting started.

(Headline source.)

Some sort of distemper has gotten into the Armstrong line…

… as that name generates one shameless POS after another. There’s Lance Armstrong, of course; and now there’s Charles Armstrong, career plagiarist. Both men enjoyed hero status in their professions for decades, even as both were absolute and, to use the word again, shameless frauds. Lance doesn’t need a link over his name; everyone knows what a shameless (there it goes again) liar and cheat that American hero turned out to be. Charles, thanks to enablers like Columbia University and Cornell University Press, has a lower profile, but reputable historians have been trying to tell anyone who will listen (which didn’t, for ages, include his publisher and his employer) that he’s been fabricating and stealing forever. Charles was obviously also helped along by a disciplinary community that failed to detect (willfully overlooked?) gross irregularities in his work.

But shameless. Let me tell you about shameless. When Armstrong, back in 2016, began fielding attacks on his latest book, it went like this:

Soon after the allegations were made public, Armstrong responded … that he “did not comment on any specific issues critics have raised with the book”. On December 30, 2016, Armstrong finally directly addressed the issues raised by the critics, stating: “For those who find the book flawed, inaccurate or insufficiently researched, the answer is simple: write a better book.”

Wee lads and lassies! Obscure jealous persons! Write a better book!

The fucker got away with it for so long; his main victim endured years of ridicule and neglect for daring to question The Great and Powerful Oz. Even now, Columbia has punished him by giving him a full year sabbatical and allowing him to “retire,” while Cornell Press has said jackshit about an episode (the fools even printed a revised version that Armstrong promised was all cleaned up) that reveals a great deal about the quality of their reviewers and editors.

All plagiarism is multi-plagiarism.

In her big ol’ lawsuit against some Brazilian woman who’s been publishing romance novels plagiarized from a thousand sources (earlier post about the Brazilian bad girl here), bohemoth-of-the-bodice-rippers Nora Roberts uses the term “multi-plagiarism” to describe the crime.

While UD prefers the alliterative poly-plagiarism, she’s not sure we need either term, since in her experience (and faithful readers know we’ve been studying and tracking plagiarism on this blog for centuries), most plagiarizers not only plagiarize repeatedly from book to book, article to article, art installation to art installation; they also plagiarize far and wide within the work, gathering many prose patches in order to realize the rich tapestry, the coat of many colors, that is the stupendously simulacral artifact.

And if you think about it from the copyists’ point of view, the more bricolaged the book the better, ja? Less likely any particular plagiaree will notice… Wise word thieves also make an effort to steal from the obscure dead rather than from enraged, high profile, rich, and extant people like Nora Roberts…

Like her many Harvard precursors, Miss Brasilia blames everything on It’s hard to get good help these days.

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