A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...

Posts tagged "plagiarism"

Feb 04, 2013
I suspect that many of my enthusiasms and impulses, which seem entirely my own, have arisen from others’ suggestions, which have powerfully influenced me, consciously or unconsciously, and then been forgotten…. There is no easy way of distinguishing a genuine memory or inspiration, felt as such, from those that have been borrowed or suggested

Sep 04, 2012
The paradox of plagiarism is that it actually requires a lot of care and hard work to pull off successfully.
— David Foster Wallace, The Pale King (via)

Aug 01, 2012
The human plagiarism which is most difficult to avoid… is the plagiarism of ourselves.
— Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past


“Unoriginality was much more ancient than I had originally suspected.”

Over at the NYTimes, Drew Christie has a fun video op-ed called “Allergy to Originality.”

When reading a 1976 oral history book called I Wish I Could Give My Son A Raccoon, he came across a line that seemed really familiar: “We’ve always been hewers of wood and the drawers of water.” He went home and checked his bookshelves:

I grabbed off the shelf a copy of Cormac McCarthy’s 1985 masterpiece, “Blood Meridian.” Right there in the first paragraph of the first page was the line: “His folk are known for hewers of wood and drawers of water …” I thought I had uncovered some secret, cracked a code. As McCarthy himself said in one of his rare print interviews, given to The New York Times in 1992, “The ugly fact is books are made out of books.” After a little more research, I found out this same line about hewers of wood and drawers of water appears in a much older and more well-known book, the King James Bible, in Joshua 9:23. At first I thought McCarthy had copied this woman’s line, but in reality, she had likely taken it from the Bible as he probably did. Unoriginality was much more ancient than I had originally suspected.

Filed under: originality, plagiarism

(via Aiden Livingston)

Jul 30, 2012

Jun 27, 2012

On the “self-plagiarism” of writers


Show me an artist/writer who has not re-used dialogue or images or music or gestures and I will show you an artist who has no obsessions—aka, a pretty shitty artist. You know who was an awesome writer and wrote kickass dialogue? Shakespeare.

From Hamlet:

POLONIUS: What do you read, my lord?
HAMLET: Words, words, words.

From Troilus and Cressida:

PANDARUS: What says she there?
TROILUS: Words, words, mere words.

I could dig up more examples, but really, I rest my case here.

Exactly! As Hitchcock said, “Self-plagiarism is style.”

(via maudnewton)

May 10, 2012
The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism.
— In 1903, Mark Twain sent his friend Helen Keller a letter, addressing plagiarism charges that had been made against her a decade earlier.

(Source: explore-blog)

May 03, 2012

Mar 22, 2012
I cannot explain how Playgiarism works. You do it or you don’t. You’re born a Playgiarizer or you’re not. It’s as simple as that. The laws of Playgiarism are unwritten. Like incest, it’s a taboo. It cannot be authenticated. The great Playgiarizers of all time — Homer, Shakespeare, Rabelais, Diderot, Rimbaud, Lautréamont, Proust, Beckett, Federman — have never pretended to do anything else. Inferior writers deny that they playgiarize because they confuse Plagiarism with Playgiarism. It’s not the same. The difference is enormous, but no one has yet been able to explain it. Playgiarism cannot be measured in weight or size. It is as elusive as what it playgiarizes. Plagiarism is sad. It whines. It cries. It feels sorry for itself. It apologizes. It feels guilty. It hides behind itself. Playgiarism on the contrary laughs all the time. It exposes itself. It is proud. It makes fun of what it does while doing it. It denounces itself.

Mar 12, 2012

“Banksy on advertising”: a plagiarism

UPDATE: turns out this wasn’t plagiarized after all, just poorly attributed. Read more→

It looks like that wildly popular Bansky quote on advertising was plagiarized from a piece by Sean Tejaratchi in the zine Crap Hound. Tejaratchi color-coded the passages lifted (pink = indirect; yellow = direct) but the Bansky piece wasn’t color-coded or annotated, so I took the liberty of clearing things up a bit by adding color outlines to the Banksy piece from the original book and annotated numbers to both. Compare and contrast.


It’s hard to know how to feel about this. My first thought was, “Hey, Banksy reads Crap Hound!” Then, “What the fuck is going on?” Then, “Am I a real person? Am I actually happening?” And finally, “Am I a beautiful flower angel sent from heaven to inspire Banksy?”

As problems go, it’s a pretty nice one to have. I like Banksy’s art and ideas. I’m flattered he liked my writing and my sentiments, and I’m happy others liked the quote enough to post and forward. I’ve seen forums where people are debating the passage, including rebuttals from ad-agency twats. It’s on wikiquotes and a hundred blogs. My essay never would have had that impact on its own.

The downside is that Banksy’s name is always on it. Seeing my writing credited to someone else makes it a little less magical. Same with knowing that one day (maybe soon, since the issue in question is being reprinted), I’ll get to hear how I ripped off Banksy.

The fact that he’s an “elusive mystery artist” doesn’t leave me many options. I found contact info online, but so far I’ve only received bounced messages.

My goal is to set the record straight online. There will be no lawyers or threats of legal action. I’ve tried not to jump to conclusions, or angrily denounce Banksy, or the Internet, or the terrible unfairness of the universe. Maybe a ghostwriter was responsible for lifting it. Maybe an attribution was lost in layout. (On the other hand, my words were rearranged and tweaked. How does that happen accidentally?)

Good for Tegaratchi. Here’s hoping this helps a little with setting the record straight.

(Thx to jndevereux.)

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