August 10th, 2023
The Great Sabatini

He strides like a colossus across the American landscape, doing battle with George Santos for the country’s most powerful young MAGA voice; and, like Santos, the way he got there is nothing short of amazing.

And inspirational. A man who cannot spell Friedrich or most other words wrote a college thesis about Nietzsche! And although almost all of it was plagiarized, with several references made up, he passed with honors!

Anthony Sabatini achieved this feat by choosing an extremely old, give-a-shit thesis director who obviously didn’t cast even a teeny weeny bit of one eye on Sentence Number One (where Freidrich appears – and Nietzsche’s first name will be rendered in this way throughout) before stamping CUM LAUDE on the pile. (Says here this thesis person commuted a thousand miles for eight years to Sabatini’s university (?), so maybe therein lies an explanation for a respectable scholar granting a stupid unethical student honors.)

June 28th, 2023
This one’s AMBITION.

Recall UD’s tripartite plagiarism scheme (details here):




A very successful public intellectual from Poland is credibly accused of plagiarism.

This case, as reported, has Ambition written all over it. A young man in a hurry seems to have been far too fast-lane to bother actually writing portions of his work, starting with his graduate school thesis.

Some of the plagiarism is apparently straightforward translation from English language sources; some of it seems to draw on other sources.

This is the long, Polish-language essay about the plagiarism; not only do you have to translate it, but you can’t get far in the text without subscribing to the newspaper. But anyway it’s a close analysis of the guy’s apparently prolific lifting.

Of course he’s hysterically screaming about suing the people who claim that he plagiarizes — and good luck with that, panie.

June 6th, 2023
“They have no U.S. historians in the department.”

The purge of the last intellectuals at Hillsdalesur-Mere (formerly New College) has outdone itself: No professors of American history remain in the history department.

President Richard Corcoran, himself under pressure because his last name reminds people of Johnnie Cochran, quickly appointed his replacement, “a man whose distinguished research career speaks for itself.”

March 6th, 2023
There are three forms of plagiarism: ATELIER, AMBITION, and ADDICTED.

It’s a list of categories UD introduced in 2012, and it has held up well over the years. Details of each type here.

The case of busybusybusy USC professor David B. Agus – known hereafter as David B.OGUS – seems overwhelmingly to have been ATELIER; his downfall, that is, probably involves his having hired an atelier of underlings to write his books for him cuz he’s too important to actually sire the little whippersnappers himself.

But, as UD always has occasion to say on these, uh, occasions, you can’t get good help these days. You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think, as Dorothy Parker pointed out; likewise, you can pay an atelier to write your book, but you can’t make it not plagiarize.


A little Keck School of Medicine context: This school has the world’s most comically disreputable faculty: Drew Pinsky, Rohit Varma, Carmen Puliafito (oh wait; he wasn’t faculty: he was DEAN), etc etc etc; the larger institution has been right there out in front of the Varsity Blues scandal, a humongous political bribery scandal, and of course SCADS of sports scandals.

I mean to say that USC cannot really afford its latest Dr Bogus. But it’s got him.


UPDATE: Cherchez la femme! The big mean lady who wrote books with my name on their covers is responsible for

more than 120 cribbed passages in three titles, some of which went on for pages. 

So UD was right – it was Atelier.

Her advice for Dr. Bogus should he try for a fourth title: Read your employees’ work before you append your name to it. Use a plagiarism-detector. Seek new hired help.

February 21st, 2023
‘There is a sick and twisted irony to making a computer write your message about community and togetherness because you can’t be bothered to reflect on it yourself.’ 

This wise Vanderbilt student is of course right that when two high-ranking university deans get together to write the university community a letter about the most difficult and sensitive subject of all – the very real threat/trauma of mass shootings on campus – they probably shouldn’t just push a button and plagiarize the whole thing from a computer program…

Hey, fellow dean! What’s that app… You know the one … that take care of each other thing… that stay strong we’re all in it together thing… Get it going, will you? Only be sure to erase that thingie on the bottom where it says it was plagiarized!

Yeah so the dummies did NOT delete the snippet at the bottom that gave the game away… Both of them have er temporarily stepped down but UD‘s figuring they’re going to turn on each other — that’s their only option — and each one will swear she sweated over a heartwrenching way-personal uber-authentic cris de coeur but the other one rejected it and they were under deadline and..

The irony on top of the irony noted by the student is that as campus massacres become more and more common, we can expect many schools to start using the safe and inclusive environment template.

February 20th, 2023
Judge Reverses.

[Mexican] Supreme Court Justice Yasmín Esquivel has been tarnished by evidence a thesis she presented in the 1980s was a near-exact copy of one presented a year earlier…

She … claims the earlier thesis copied her later work.

January 12th, 2023
So here’s one for Scathing Online Schoolmarm to Scathe Through.

The occasion couldn’t be more banal: A recently appointed school superintendent plagiarized her dissertation, and the community wonders what to do about a flagrant academic cheater overseeing the academic progress and ethics of the community’s children.

A local newspaper

“examined and cross-checked the 164-page paper” after receiving a tip that the manuscript contained “questionable credits and attributions.”

So, point one: A 164 page doctoral dissertation? Even in the benighted field of education, this is pretty pathetic, given that around half (?) of that is going to turn out to be intro, notes, dedications, etc. Let’s assume actual writing takes up 85 – 90 pages. This is far from thesis length.

Even so, the author felt compelled to lard it up with stolen language.

 … 35 sections of the dissertation matched the phrasing from sources “word-for-word” and are misidentified or unidentified. The paper fails to properly quote from The Journal of School Nursing, The Journal of School Health, a U.S. Surgeon General’s Report and other sources, according to excerpts highlighted in the newspaper’s article. The story also featured a trio of interviews with professors with expertise in plagiarism — with two saying the exact matches of sentences indicate copying and the third saying they believed the dissertation should at least “be corrected if possible.”

This ain’t just plagiarism; it’s Potty Plagiarism, it’s Brown Spots on the Wall by Hoo Flong Dong, it’s lemme hurl words here and hurl words there and let my utterly indifferent and irresponsible dissertation committee figure it out. Cuz yeah responsibility here is shared by the tenured layabouts who didn’t bother reading this and just went ahead and passed it and therefore passed this woman along to her date with destiny in the form of a group of reporters who actually examined the thing.

The plagiarist refuses interview requests – who can blame her? – but does treat the school district she oversees for $226,000 a year to some of her actual prose by way of defending herself to them. Here goes, kiddies.

 I’d like to be as open and transparent as possible on a topic that reminds me being in public leadership requires perfection (and undue scrutiny and judgment), sometimes at the expense of the progress and grace that I often encourage our community to extend to self and others. I only hope that I can model what I expect of our community, display the capacity to adjust, and take the Michelle Obama approach … ‘When they go low, we go high.’

S’wonderful the way she opens by announcing she’s about to be as open and transparent as possible, and then immediately plunges into thickets of nothingness. Where is the word “plagiarism”? What the fuck is she talking about?

We’re not going after her semi-literacy here; she wouldn’t have woven her thesis of many colors if she were able to write. We’re going after her contemptible self-flattery (“My title, accolades, credentials, years of experience and degrees only matter on my resume.” Which is why I’m bleating about them here.) and victimization and plagiarism of the integrity of Michelle Obama in service of her own ass-covering. No one says her job requires perfection, and there’s nothing undue about scrutiny that reveals a person just hired to supervise the ethics of hundreds of schoolchildren has the scholarly ethics of an alleycat. “Grace” is fine, grace is excellent, grace is preparing us for: Whatever I’ve done Jesus forgives me. They go low – those hellish scum had the gall to uncover my plagiarism – but I will go high! I will point my finger to heaven where all is forgiven!

September 22nd, 2022
Wotta Shocker.

A plagiarist guilty of massive amounts of plagiarism turns out to be guilty of even more. What makes Paul McCrory super-plus appetizing is that it’s all been in the service of keeping concussed athletes on the field.

June 22nd, 2022
Australian Plagiarist John Hughes: THE RUNNING TAB, as of June 22, 2022.

Plagiarism, as I’ve told you a million times, is a boring, endemic affair — so endemic, in most of the world, that it’s only mentioned at the very tippy-top. Prime Minister, President, King, Pope, Archbishop, Star Of Stage and Screen – maybe someone will try to make something of that. But probably not. Probably not even that. Plagiarism is a non-event, like graft.

There’s still a tiny slice of the world – the US, Europe, Australia – where people actually seem to give a shit if intellectuals and scientists and artists plagiarize. They seem to think there’s something wrong with stealing someone else’s work – ideas, creative vision, words – and passing it off as one’s own.

Piles and piles of plagiarism go unperceived — there’s so much of it — but on a regular basis some idiot performs such prolific and high-profile copying that it’s not only discovered. It becomes a story.

Such is the ongoing saga of novelist John Hughes, who at this writing has, in his latest novel, plagiarized from F Scott Fitzgerald, Svetlana Alexievich, Tolstoy, Remarque, Eric Newby, WB Sebald, Amos Oz, Loren Eiseley, Saul Bellow, and Nadezhda Mandel’shtam. You and I know that still lurking in his pages are… Let’s see. He seems to like angst-ridden early/mid twentieth century fiction tossed with a petit goût of global conflict … Look for Thomas Mann, for goodness sake, and Günter Grass and Iris Murdoch for starters… If there aren’t some decoupled Auden couplets somewhere in there my name ain’t University Diaries

June 17th, 2022

I’ve told you a million times that no one’s a onetime plagiarist. Find one instance of plagiarism in someone’s work, and I promise, there’s tons more where that came from.

We recently covered the case of the Australian novelist who plagiarized – a lot – from Nobelist Svetlana Alexievich in his latest novel. This discovery inspired a yet closer look at the work, and gevalt.

[The novel has been found] to contain sections that were nearly identical to extracts from the Great Gatsby [and] Anna Karenina, [as well as the] Nobel laureate’s nonfiction work.

The guy’s still lying about it, which is unusual. All plagiarists begin by denying it, and then, in a day or two, they say ah fuck yeah I did it. This guy continues lying through his teeth.

June 10th, 2022
Hugely plagiarized book by person who lies about having done it intentionally…

… is withdrawn from contention for a literary prize.

June 9th, 2022
‘The verbatim takes from my book are outrageous.’

That’s one word for it. Others that come to mind: Contemptible. Sickening. Lowest of the low. And above all: Unbelievably stupid.

When you add to this the fact that one of history’s most disgusting and prolific plagiarists continues to lie out of his lying ass about not at all having intentionally plagiarized huge gobs of his novel, you have to conclude that the Nobel laureate the fucker plagiarized (that’s her reaction to the extensive theft in my headline) was far too mild in her use of the word outrageous.

Consider also the sacred nature of the subject matter in (of course) both books: The unspeakable suffering of women during the Second World War. I mean, why don’t I just lift actual agonized testimony and stick it in my work and call myself its author.

Let’s sweeten the pot even more: The plagiarist has been nominated for Australia’s highest literary prize.

And why do I say stupid?

How many times must I explain this to you. If you are going to plagiarize, you need to squirrel around until you find an entirely obscure book published in 1923 in another language… The book has been moldering on the shelves of the Lower East Winnipeg Public Library for generations, waiting for you to translate it and publish it as a work of fiction written by yourself. Get it? Let’s review: Author long dead so not able to read your plagiarism and label it outrageous. Author totally obscure so not a Nobel laureate everyone is going to pay attention to. Crossover from one language to another just to make absolutely certain no one will find the plagiarized source. Are you getting all of this down?

May 10th, 2022
At least the Duke plagiarist put shoes on those feet. The original quoted material was kind of gross.

Plagiarizing a momentous, hugely public, sure to be filmed and widely broadcast, commencement speech runs all sorts of obvious risks. Take the Canadian med school dean, some of whose audience, quickly identifying the source of the talk while he talked, started reading along out loud from the original as he shared poignant personal memories.

More recently, there’s the Arab-origin student speaker at Duke who found another Arab-origin student commencement speaker – this one from Harvard – and just went ahead and pilfered/proclaimed aloud all of her private thoughts/memories.

So at the Duke Chronicle you’ve got two stories covering this curious affair: The first adoringly applauds an intimate evocation of minority angst; then, fast on the heels of the rave review comes a cold clinical side by side analysis of the two speeches with the obligatory yellow highlighting.


The foot thing? The Harvard lass quoted an Arab-American writer who described how we learn:

“…running barefoot, the skin of our feet collecting sand and seeds and rocks and grass until we had shoes, shoes made of everything we’d picked up as we ran.”

This seems to ol’ UD a singularly icky bit of writing, featuring little logic and mucho weirdness – shoes made of sand seeds rocks and grass? getting stones between your toes as a learning experience? – but okay, the Harvard speaker quotes it, and then revises and extends:

“[Sarah] Abushaar related the quote to her and her fellow graduates’ four years of “running through Harvard Yard” where the “skin of [their] feet [collected] a world of experiences.”

Still don’t like it. Skin of our feet? Still kinda dumb and gross.

Who cares. But Priya Parkash cleans it up nicely:

“Over the last four years, the sole[s] of our shoes have collected a world of experiences…”

Babe, she doesn’t even go there — she sees what UD saw, which is that the whole bare feet crunching down on stones that somehow enrich our experience thing doesn’t work, so as she plagiarizes through the document she brings a bit more sense to the metaphor or parable or whatever it is. She puts shoes on those feet.


Still, once you’ve walked a mile very much inside someone else’s moccasins, there will be serious implications, especially when you’ve gone and made Duke, already a little shaky when it comes to its status vis-a-vis schools like Harvard, feel positively parkinsonian.


Not that you can’t make poetry out of retentive feet.

And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.

I’d have plagiarized that.

May 6th, 2022
‘Peru Prosecutors to Probe Plagiarism claim against President’

Alliteration-wise, this is good; but we can do better.


? Something like that? … Anyway, it’s fun to see the dude pushing all the buttons everyone else in a high position pushes: This is a nefarious plot to bring down his utopia of joy and justice; standards for scholarship were different then; it was duly vetted and passed by a thesis committee and then a rigorous group of examiners; cheap gotchas like this tarnish the dignity of all Peruvians…

April 5th, 2022
“What I’ve learned from my ten years of plagiarizing.”

“As I depart WNYC and the Gothamist, I want to share with you lessons I’ve learned from my ten (amazing!) years of plagiarizing articles.

First: You can get away with it! After having me on the staff for ten years, they found four plagiarized pieces only six months ago, and nothing much happened. In fact, I was reassigned to “mentor staff members.” LOLOL.

Second: You can only get away with it for so long before you do have to sue. Recently, a squad of people has been investigating everything I’ve (let’s go with “I’ve”) written over a decade, which is so unfair because I’ve been plagiarizing all that time! So I’m slapping New York Public Radio with a lawsuit for racism.

Wish me luck!”

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