05 May 2006

Plagiarism: Guilty as Charged

There have been a lot of stories lately concerning the plagiaristic misconduct of authors and journalists. Plagiarism is so easy now that very few students will make it through sixteen years of schooling without committing the one deadly sin of academics. Schools have still to catch up with the revolutionary technological changes that make stealing a paper infinitely easier than writing one.

Since beginning my blog, I have often found myself wondering, "Did I just make that up, or have I heard it somewhere?" There is a part of me that is firmly of the belief that anything clever or funny that passes through my head must be something that I have heard before. Maybe. For example, I have become 99.9% positive that a joke I posted a couple of months ago about saying, "We're in" whenever I log onto my computer must have come from another source. I am sure that my reference to finding hay in a needlestack in my last post has been made somewhere else. Maybe? Probably?

In one of my posts about United 93, I connected Shanksville with Gettsyburg. I am fairly certain I am not the first one to make that connection.

I just read too many things to know if I am being clever or merely stealing some else's cleverness. What if, after I publish the sixth book of my seven part series in my Mary Blotter series of How-to-be a Witch and Influence People tomes (jk) and Universal has just purchased the film rights for seven figures, someone goes back and discovers I have an unattributed "Beans, beans, good for your heart" joke? I could be brought down in an instant.

To save myself from that eventuality, I make this universal disclaimer: None of the work posted in the The Ohoopee Letter News or the Ohoopee Online, nor anything I have ever written, said, or thought, are my own words, thoughts, or ideas. They are someone else's.

There. That takes care of that. I feel as free as a bird, now.

Hasta la vista, baby.


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