Friday, November 9, 2007

Good plagiarism and bad plagiarism

Fortunately, a few people are not letting the president of SIU slip entirely gently into his good night over the "unfortunate" or "accidental" "oversights" in his plagiarized thesis. Last week a law professor (no surprise there) from SIU presented an artful but disingenuous rationalization of the work of the mealy-mouthed committee by introducing in a letter to the Tribune the novel concept of two types of plagiarism. The bad type is where you really meant to be dishonest; the good type, of which the president was guilty, is where you don't really mean to be dishonest - honest. In the latter, it is completely forgivable to just leave out the quotes because it wasn't really intended to leave them out, or something like that. The author rather took the paper to task for apparently being unaware of the two types, although his letter was the first time in history the notion had ever been introduced. It was reassuring that this act of mental gymnastics got a hammering by the Tribune readership. A recent editorial in the Daily Herald by an emeritus of our mighty COD continued the well-deserved lambasting of the whole sorry crew. Read it here:

I wonder though if the president feels any shame about the affair. I somehow doubt it. Powerful people rarely do; there is always so much hubris associated with them. Look at the odious Ryan off to Oxford proclaiming his innocence and crying "victim" after he was gifted a multi-million dollar defence. Look also at the man with the "wide stance." They are always innocent in their own eyes.

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