22 July 2008

Death to plagiarists

I've mentioned Kate of sweet/salty here before, and encountered her blog when she first had given birth to her twins sons, prematurely, about a year ago. Her honest writing, willingness to share profound pain, and clear and present words kept me reading, and I came to care about her and her family. Today, she posted about her writing being stolen from her, and I am sickened by it. I mean, I am a veteran of plagiarism. As a college English instructor for the last ten years, I have encountered dozens, maybe a hundred, examples of blatant plagiarism, and hundreds more of so close to plagiarism I can smell it (if not prove it). Each time I catch a cheater, I'm furious and feel betrayed and disgusted, and I never look at the student the same way again.

But what Kate describes in today's post? I can't even fathom it. Shaun's stance is generally "What did you expect? The internet's a big place, and people are assholes." Which, okay, it's true, but seriously? What is wrong with people? In the time it takes this Nico guy to alter her words, he could have written about his own life. The same is true of my students. For me, though, this stealing seems worse even the stuff my students pull.

Ugh. What do you think? Is this worse than academic cheating? What should this guy's punishment be? I mean, I'd like to brand him with a "P" on his forehead, but I suppose that's a bit extreme...


Don't steal words. It sucks.

I mean, it makes me think of this story, which ends with the words "The key in this thing is you've got to lock your doors when you go to bed at night."


Megan said...

I'm imagining an episode of "America's Most Wanted." Do you think Kate could get some good head shots of this jack@$$?!

What trash. What worthless, disgusting, thought-stealing trash.

Deron Arnold said...

I would guess that the rampant plagiarism in today's society is because so few people know how to write. They feel they have no choice but to steal because they know they won't come up with anything on their own.

Maybe they're too lazy. Maybe they're too involved with video games.

Plus, writing isn't emphasized in schools enough. What already overburdened teacher wants to spend his/her evenings correcting 30 bad essays?

I suspect it's also due in part to a general decline in morals, but I will stop ranting as I sense I am already a bit too windy.

P.S. It's hard posting comments to an English teacher. I constantly fret about the sneaky grammatical or spelling error or the dangling preposition.