Wednesday, 29 August 2007

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Some Good News on the Honesty Front I admit that as an academic, nothing bothers me more than plagiarism. I don't care where or why it happens, it always riles me up. (Despite my empowering of them.) When I found that this post had been plagiarized, I wrote another in which I mocked Onika (MAYOR OF SEXYTOWN!) for accepting praise for my work. Fair enough. Checking my mail—as always, I'm about a week behind—I find that the plagiarist herself wrote me. Here's her response: I just wanted to let you know that I apologize for using your blog. I got my ring stuck on my finger and came across it while I was looking for "advice." I thought it was funny and I changed some stuff and posted it. I should have made it clearer that I took most of it from you but I really didn't think it was that big of a deal. People have taken things that I wrote and done this too. People have started to write me and implied that I steal your work all the time. I've never seen your blog before. Anyway, I'm sure you'll post this so everyone can laugh at what a shameful loser I am. So have fun. Hope everyone gets a good laugh. Despite the momentary wavering—"I really didn't think it was that big of a deal"—this is a refreshing admission of guilt. I'm constantly having that dread conversation with student plagiarists, in which I have their "original" work in one hand, and a hard-copy one of the first two returns in a Google search for the novel/play/poem I've assigned in the other. Not only will students refuse to admit what they've done, they'll babble complete nonsense like: "What do you mean by exactly the same? Maybe this Henry James plagiarized me?" "'The first share of Charlotte Perkins Stetson's intellectual and professional indebtedness was undoubtedly to the Nationalist movement promulgated by Edward Bellamy and his 1887 novel Looking Backward' sounds like something I would write." "Of course I know what it means: 'promulgated' means, like, to attack something a lot." So, Onika, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but we won't be laughing at you for having the guts to admit what you've done. The stakes may have been close to nil, but that makes it all the more admirable. You could've done what all those cowering students with they could've: run and hide. You didn't. That says a lot about you.

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