…that has to be asked, these days, when anyone even slightly high-profile plagiarizes:
Might [Fareed] Zakaria … have fobbed off the drafting of his ill-fated Time article to an assistant or intern … and given the draft his glancing approval before letting it run under his byline in Time?
There are, of course, varieties of plagiaristic experience (as William James might put it). UD has simplified the matter for you with her tripartite A scheme. There’s:
Jim’s assuming Zakaria’s is the atelier method, a variety made famous by busy Harvard law professors who, to use Jim’s word, appear to fob off much of the writing of their books to student assistants. Other busy Harvard people (Doris Kearns Goodwin) also seem to have gotten to P in this way. You get there not out of ambition (see #2). On the contrary, all of your ambitions have already been realized. Rather, you get there out of grandiosity. Having more than achieved your ambitions, you decide you’re too important to do your own work. Atelier is très pomo, being all about one’s transubstantiation into a simulacrum.
2., Ambition, is when you’re still young and struggling to be grand. This is Jayson Blair, Jonah Lehrer, Johann Hari, Stephen Glass, Glenn Poshard, Baron von und zu and unter von Googleberg or whatever his name is (put these names in my search engine for details). This is all those eager young German, Romanian, Czech, etc. PhD students panting toward political careers and totally not interested in actually writing something. This is saying yes to every project and assignment that comes your way, and therefore making it impossible to do everything.
Bringing up the rear is Addicted, in which, having been caught plagiarizing, you explain that you do it because you’re a drug or alcohol addict. Addicted is a tricky one, because successful plagiarism takes a steady hand and mucho planning. It’s not the sort of thing you can do staggering down the street. James Frey, Q.R. Markham (again use the search engine), and plenty of others blame their stealing on a deep-seated insecurity which drives them to drink and then the drink clouds their judgment yada yada.
One other thing to keep in mind about plagiarism is the More Principle. There’s always more. Once the guy (Doris alone holds the banner aloft for the girls) is found out, anyone who wants to discover more of his plagiarized work only has to look.