Ben Domenech

by Kieran Healy on March 24, 2006

The Ben Domenech plagiarism trainwreck is summarized nicely by hilzoy at Obsidian Wings. (The discovery of an entire column ripped out of a PJ O’Rourke book is the icing on the cake.) The two most entertaining things written about it so far are, first, the in-the-bunker defences being rolled out at RedState, and second, this comment at Sadly No!

No matter how brief Ben’s Post gig was, it’s still going to look good on his (Ctrl)C (Ctrl)V …

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about kinds of plagiarism by college students:

Like hepatitis, plagiarism comes in several varieties.

  1. Google Plagiarism. Find a paper or discussion online. Pros: Copy. Paste. Done! Cons: Professor may also know about Google.

Sadly for Ben, the “may also know about Google” problem goes for thousands of bloggers as well. Never mind the joys of Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature, which allowed for the lift from O’Rourke to be confirmed.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Outside The Beltway | OTB
03.24.06 at 2:56 pm
Tim Worstall
03.26.06 at 6:11 am

{ 77 comments }

1

Patrick Banks 03.24.06 at 12:21 pm

“We Must Defend” & “We Must Attack”. Good lord, is that the best they can do? What are those RedStaters anyway – a bunch of Daleks? If so, it looks like the Doctor just showed up & is going about blocking their eyestalks with his hat & scarf.
Suck it up, wingnuts. Your! Vis-ion! Is! Im-paired! You! Can! Not! See!

2

Nabakov 03.24.06 at 12:30 pm

Unfortunately for Ben D, the “may also know about Google” problem goes for many bloggers as well. Not to forget the fun of Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature, which allowed his lifting from O’Rourke to be confirmed.

3

FMguru 03.24.06 at 12:32 pm

No matter how brief Ben’s Post gig was, it’s still going to look good on his (Ctrl)C (Ctrl)V.

4

Kieran Healy 03.24.06 at 12:43 pm

I think you’re both right.

5

roger 03.24.06 at 12:46 pm

People are going through his college paper movie reviews? That’s ridiculous. I think the WAPO could have found a much better conservative blogger than Ben D. (Daniel Drezner comes to mind), and that is what is sad about the Red State blog. But I have to say, the pettiness of the attacks on Domenech are simply… bullying.

6

lemuel pitkin 03.24.06 at 1:02 pm

I hardly ever look at sites like Red State, and what strikes me most about it is the bizarre ’50s tough-guy idiom the commenters all speak in.

“My God. Be grateful I’m not a moderator here, boy — you’d be out on your ear so fast your head would spin.”

“Sorry, son; I’ve been at this far too long not to be able to smell a troll at thirty paces.”

I didn’t think anyone talked that way outside of bad sf stories.

7

Hektor Bim 03.24.06 at 1:03 pm

roger,

I view this as a further justification that simple politeness can do wonders. Domenech has adopted the persona of a partisan attack dog, so no one should be surprised that he has a lot of enemies, least of all himself. I don’t feel sorry at all for Domenech, especially since the fault is in himself.

8

james 03.24.06 at 1:07 pm

the pettiness of the attacks on Domenech are simply… bullying.
posted by roger

Roger, as one of the people involved in the Ben Domenech imbroglio, I would disagree with your characterization.

After “falafel fetishist,” plagiarism is the one of the most damning accusations that can be made in the field of journalism. Nothing petty about it. Especially when it appears to be on the scale in which Ben engaged. It is not only his movie reviews at the Flat Hat–a *movie review* for goodness sake. He plagiarized while writing for NRO and the New York Press. It would not take a huge stretch of the imagination to consider the possibility that this carried into the classroom. I find all of this quite offensive especially given that he has used his past “writing” to gain advantage over others. Why, it’s given me the vapors.

If I wanted to be petty, I would have posted an article he wrote when he was 13 for a Christian home school magazine.

And questioning whether the Post should be employing someone who referred to Coretta Scott King as a communist upon her death is not petty.

Ben is a big boy now. He deserves to be treated like one.

But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

9

Doug T 03.24.06 at 1:12 pm

This is obviously further proof that the Washington Post has a liberal bias. In a clever bit of jiu-jitsu, they apparently gave in to Conservative calls for balance, but by choosing a writer who they knew would soon be discredited.

Thus, they make all conservative bloggers look bad (“if even the Washington Post can’t find one who isn’t a plaguirist…”) and can then fire him and avoid bringin on a conservative voice at all.

Very clever and nefarious on their part.

10

Sebastian Holsclaw 03.24.06 at 1:14 pm

Just because your political enemies throw up lots of charges to see what sticks doesn’t mean that when something sticks it automatically isn’t real. Redstate appears to be defending him on the basis that lots of the charges were ridiculous. That is in fact correct, but it says absolutely nothing about the charges that appear to be true. If you are a conservative and Michelle Malkin can clearly see you screwed up, its over.

11

Steve LaBonne 03.24.06 at 1:17 pm

Roger, the SOB is only, what, 24? College wasn’t some time in the dim dark past, it’s recent. And he plagiarized a hell of a lot more than movei reviews- for example, he cut and pasted an entire column by P.J O’Rourke. This is not a “youthful indiscretion”- this college dropout can’t write for crap, and would never have been in a position to attract the notice of whatever numbskull at the Post hired him had he not engated in this behavior. I’m so Goddamn sick and tired of people whining that we must be ever so careful to avoid “bullying” ignorant, hateful wingnuts who do absolutely nothing but engage in REAL, and very ugly, bullying themselves. Your prim Miss Manners act is very much akin to the Post’s idiotic version of “balance”. Get a clue.

12

Ted 03.24.06 at 1:36 pm

I’ll be attending Christopher Hitchens’ “Stand Up For Plagiarism” rally this afternoon at Xerox headquarters (at least until I’m strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer). Who’s with me?

13

roger 03.24.06 at 1:38 pm

My prim “Miss Manners” act? If only. I’m always having to keep Emily Post within reach as I navigate the difficult salad fork conundrum, wolfing down Caesar salads with well known plagiarists and chuckling over the Instapundit’s latest boutade…

This has nothing to do with balance, and everything to do with what is in play when criticizing somebody writing a blog. I would read a stylish, intelligent conservative blogger at the Post, even if I wouldn’t agree with him or her. I won’t read Red State b/c the man has adopted the faux barroom argument style as his prose template. But I don’t think most of the personal commentary on the guy that I’ve read in Atrios and elsewhere stinks. It is a case of flocking to pick somebody to death, and actually, my politics is pretty clear about that: I’m against it. As a bonus, Miss Manners agrees with me.

14

roger 03.24.06 at 1:39 pm

Oops. “But I do [not don’t] think…”

15

reuben 03.24.06 at 1:50 pm

Roger,

Surely Miss Manners approves of the school bully getting his ass kicked, no?

16

Jeremy 03.24.06 at 1:55 pm

at least until I’m strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer

Nice try, Ted, but the egg on Belle’s face will require a little more scrubbing.

17

Slick Nick 03.24.06 at 1:55 pm

On Domenech’s own website (hisname.com), he has a little page of praise from others. It’s mostly tongue in cheek. But he is told by one conservativie not to take his stuff without attribution anymore. Hmmm….

18

Barbar 03.24.06 at 1:56 pm

Mocking moronic political operatives is not only not rude, it is quite healthy and I daresay it is part of our patriotic duty to do so.

19

Jeremy 03.24.06 at 1:59 pm

20

reuben 03.24.06 at 2:02 pm

From the post on his resignation:

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations.

Yes, I’m sure they do.

21

Glenn Bridgman 03.24.06 at 2:14 pm

Hahaha, classic.

http://www.redstate.com/comments/2006/3/24/104029/267/29#29

Apparently even malkin has now been subverted.

Hah.

22

Michael Dietz 03.24.06 at 2:28 pm

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations.

“Appreciate” here no doubt having its approved, Bush-press-conference usage: “I appreciate the criticism of traitors who would hand our freedoms over to Islamofascism,” etc.

23

Tim Worstall 03.24.06 at 2:30 pm

Soo, anyone know where to send my resume?

24

reuben 03.24.06 at 2:35 pm

Tim

No need to send a resume. Just start being vile to everyone who’s to the left of you, and the Post may well be in touch.

25

jim 03.24.06 at 2:35 pm

“Professor may also know about Google.”

What the students (and others) don’t realize is because most sentences are unique, if you’re checking a piece to see if it’s been plagiarized, it suffices to google for one sentence in the piece. If it was plagiarized, there will be one result from the search and it will be the piece’s source.

Once plagiarism is suspected, it unravels with astonishing speed. As Mr. Domenech now knows.

26

Uncle Kvetch 03.24.06 at 2:54 pm

This is obviously further proof that the Washington Post has a liberal bias. In a clever bit of jiu-jitsu, they apparently gave in to Conservative calls for balance, but by choosing a writer who they knew would soon be discredited.

Doug T, I honestly can’t tell whether you’re being facetious or not here. But it really doesn’t matter, because I fully expect this to become the official right-wing talking point within the next 48 hours.

27

Andy 03.24.06 at 3:03 pm

The discerning talking point will be that Domenech was a patsy set up to discredit the Bradys and Howells of the Post by Dana Millbank. I really hope to witness the serious use of this sort of defense so I can say pwned or suchlike.

28

P O'Neill 03.24.06 at 3:23 pm

Sadly for Ben, the “may also know about Google” problem goes for thousands of bloggers as well

“An Army of Davids,” if you will.

29

Patrick Banks 03.24.06 at 3:24 pm

p o’neill, I only one thing to say about that:

Heh.

30

Simstim 03.24.06 at 3:28 pm

Uncle Kvetch: Brad DeLong’s been pushing that line from the start, but I’m not sure he can be described as right-wing.

31

Cryptic Ned 03.24.06 at 3:35 pm

How about this: We’ll agree that Domenech was set up as a patsy by the Washington Post, if right-wingers agree that Karl Rove was behind the whole “obviously forged yet meticulously sourced documents” thing.

32

Rob 03.24.06 at 3:50 pm

I’m waiting for all those who said hiring people like Jayson Blair calls into question affirmative action will start to say the same for hiring people like Ben Domenech.

(Of course they were both college drop outs…)

33

lemuel pitkin 03.24.06 at 3:59 pm

Domenech has a defense up at Red State. It actually sounds kind of plausible. But the comments … man, the comments:

“Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech.”

Wow.

34

Glenn Bridgman 03.24.06 at 4:09 pm

Lemuel, I thought it sounded plausible at first brush, but on second reading it’s real flimsy. Why would he list his stint as movie reviewer on his CV if those pieces were consistantly compromised? It’s so much misdirection, meant to give cover to a rhetorical retreat.

35

lemuel pitkin 03.24.06 at 4:15 pm

Yeah, I’ve gone through that same process in the last 15 minutes too. Never mind.

I still think the commenters there are scary nuts, tho.

36

neil 03.24.06 at 4:15 pm

Amusing, lemuel… I got banned for posting the comment right after that one:

Awww, the poor widdle major media columnist got a prank call? How awful that must be for him!

Ben, maybe it’s time for you to go softly into the dark night, instead of continuing to dig a hole deep enough to fit all your buddies in it with you.

Secretly, I hoped he wouldn’t really follow the advice!

37

Jaybird 03.24.06 at 4:34 pm

As a pro-choice, anti-Ashcroft, pro-marijuana, anti-death penalty, third-party voting kinda guy who supported the War in Iraq, I’m used to being called a rabid right-winger who is responsible for America slowly becoming a theocratic fascist state.

I opened up a diary on Redstate yesterday talking about my views and, as it turns out, they don’t understand exactly how right-wing proto-fascist I really am. Any advice for me?

(To be perfectly honest, I think that the site is currently in a state of conflicting loyalties and is trying to figure out which ideals it needs to embrace the closest. Understandably, “loyalty” is in the lead at the moment. We’ll see if “journalistic integrity” catches up before the end of the month.)

38

Glenn Bridgman 03.24.06 at 4:36 pm

39

neil 03.24.06 at 4:41 pm

Well put, jaybird. Obviously, ‘personal resonsibility’ does not even rank.

I wonder if his Flat Hat editor will be looking into a libel suit? Domenech has accused him in print, twice. Not everybody has Domenech’s sweet connections so this editor really needs to stand up for himself, and fast.

40

Backword Dave 03.24.06 at 4:44 pm

Jeremy, what egg on Belle’s face?

[To clarify: so Hitchens was citing a well-known source. Does that make the sentiment right?]

41

Jaybird 03.24.06 at 4:56 pm

You know, I have more faith in Redstate than that, actually. I think that the Personal Responsibility thing will kick in slowly over the next month or so.

People will begin to resent the damage that he did to them and their cause (and resent themselves for holding “personal loyalty” as a higher principle than “integrity”) and there will be a lot of bile in-house. I don’t know that it’ll be public, but I suspect that it’ll be there.

I’ll compare to the Minstrel cartoon that what’s-his-name put up. That ex-Kos guy. Him. There was a huge furor over whether or not it was, well, I don’t want to say appropriate… let’s say “helpful”. The picture came down (in such a way that the guy could save face).

He’s still the guy who did the Minstrel cartoon thing. (Yes, I know he’s black and black people are allowed to say the N word and use minstrel imagery and it’s racist to say that they shouldn’t.)

42

abb1 03.24.06 at 5:07 pm

Who is Ben Domenech? Why do you bother reading all that crap, plagiarism or not?

43

Jaybird 03.24.06 at 5:20 pm

Ben Domenech is one of the founders of Red State who was picked by the Washington Post to be a Partisan Blogger for their website.

“Why do you bother reading all that crap”

Well, for me, the political thing is one hell of a hobby and, until very recently, he was one of the people who had a good deal of influence when it came to shaping the debate.

I suppose if I wanted people who backed me up in what I thought, I’d spend more time on pro wrestling boards.

Kane kicks ass, by the way. Pity he and Big Show are going to lose the belts at Wrestlemania.

44

John Quiggin 03.24.06 at 5:56 pm

Brief, but long enough for Deborah Howell to totally discredit herself.

45

yabonn 03.24.06 at 7:17 pm

Lemuel at 6 :

“I didn’t think anyone talked that way outside of bad sf stories.”

This intriguing tribe also uses grittyspeak : litotes, allusions to Hardship. Maybe a military acronym thrown in. And the facts : cold and hard, sonny.

46

Jim Miller 03.24.06 at 7:35 pm

So, now can we get rid of Molly Ivins?

Fair warning: I am really, really hoping someone will argue that her plagiarism is fundamentally different from Domenech’s.

47

tom bach 03.24.06 at 7:48 pm

I have in the past been lenient with student plagiariers, based on wholly subjective grounds (preception of contrition and rapidity of admission for example) and on more objective grounds (the actually had no idea that the were cheating, when they provided the proper cite to a direct quote with making the directness of the quote obvious. I will, I think, continue to deal with student plagiarists on a case-by-case basis.

Fof the various professional writers, academics and other plagiarists, Ivins included, fire the bastards.

48

Tom T. 03.24.06 at 7:59 pm

John Q, I don’t see how Howell has discredited herself. She claims that her beat is only the print Post, and she wrote about Froomkin in that context: that Post print reporters “don’t like WPNI columnist Dan Froomkin’s ‘White House Briefing,’ which is highly opinionated and liberal. They’re afraid that some readers think that Froomkin is a Post White House reporter.” (her words). She goes on to quote some reactions from Post print reporters.

The Domenech controversy, by contrast, doesn’t impact her print beat because the print reporters aren’t complaining about him; Domenech was always tagged as nothing more or less than an opinion writer for the .com entity.

49

RETARDO 03.24.06 at 9:30 pm

“[To clarify: so Hitchens was citing a well-known source. Does that make the sentiment right?]

Funny Hitchens was brought up; back when he was sane he wrote a really cool defense of plagiarism — or at least, some kinds of plagiarism.

I think I’m with Kieran Healy on this: there are different kinds of plagiarism. Just speaking for myself, only the worst kinds (which it appears that Domenech did engage in) are worth the kind of institutional death penalty that we’ve been hearing so much of all day.

I just think it sucks that such a reactionary as Domenech was hired in the first place. But he was. He should have been sacked when the Corretta Scott King comment was attributed to him.

It’s a pity that it took evidence of plagiarism to get rid of him: it’s both too high and too low a standard. But then people tolerate Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn and Rush Limbaugh so I guess anything goes. Be a liar, a character assassin, the ideological scum of humanity and it’s okey-dokey; steal a few words and it’s beyond the pale.

50

rilkefan 03.24.06 at 9:49 pm

jim miller, failing to footnote a sequence of three rewritten sentences once amidst six proper cites hardly deserves being called sloppiness, much less plagiarism. A few such examples in a prolific output would be sloppiness. It appears the Corner is pulling plagiarized material out of Domenech’s work there more or less at will.

51

John Quiggin 03.24.06 at 9:55 pm

Umm, Tom T., an ombudsman is supposed to deal with complaints about reporters, not complaints by reporters.

If she wrote a piece saying “Print reporters think the Democrats are terrible” would that be part of her “beat” too?

Her justification for writing about Froomkin was that he was a writer for the Washington Post, and her complaints played a large role in getting Domenech appointed.

52

sara 03.25.06 at 1:50 am

On a purple (political) note, the Domenech Affair demonstrates the illiteracy of everyone connected with Ben who promoted him, and especially those at the Washington Post.

I prefer to believe that they’re illiterate and can’t spot plagiarism than that they are all Republican partisan hacks who spotted Ben’s indiscretions and promoted him anyway.

53

c 03.25.06 at 2:17 am

All I can say is when I was a young feller, loons wrote their own stuff. Some of them were strikingly original. Now it’s just cut and paste, echo, ditto, and refry — loondom has really declined.

54

bad Jim 03.25.06 at 3:31 am

The liberal blogs do seem to be effective at removing right-wing college dropouts from positions for which they’re clearly unqualified. First George Deutsch, a GOP operative turned NASA flack intent on protecting us from such politically incorrect news as global warming and the Big Bang, who resigned once it was revealed that he hadn’t actually graduated from Texas A&M, and now Domenech.

How do these guys get jobs in the first place? Has all of Washington turned into the Coalition Provisional Authority, where the only criteria for being hired are one’s political credentials?

55

Tim Worstall 03.25.06 at 5:06 am

Reuben,
“Just start being vile to everyone who’s to the left of you…”

You mean I actually have to insult everyone? Tough job that, think I’ll withdraw my application.

56

dave heasman 03.25.06 at 8:02 am

“Fair warning: I am really, really hoping someone will argue that her plagiarism is fundamentally different from Domenech’s.”

One example from 1988 where she quotes and acknowledges the author copiously versus a dozen or so in the past year, all unacknowledged and claimed as original.

Have you found anything more recent than 1988? It won’t be for want of trying, will it?

57

Jim Miller 03.25.06 at 8:52 am

Dave Heasman asks: “Have you found anything more recent than 1988?” [on Molly Ivins]

Sure. Just Google “Florence King” + “Molly Ivins” and you will find a case of her borrowing, quite recently, from Clive Davis. The effort to find that example was trivial.

(And, four or five years ago, I saw a report of her borrowing much of a column from an alternate Texas newspaper. I haven’t bothered to chase that one down, but those who pursued Domenech will, I am sure, want to go after this new quarry — assuming plagiarism is what they care about.)

Those who don’t want to go on a plagiarism hunt can just read her columns regularly, as I did at one time. You’ll see that nearly everything in them is borrowed, usually with attribution — but not always.

58

Barry 03.25.06 at 9:00 am

“You mean I actually have to insult everyone? Tough job that, think I’ll withdraw my application.”
Posted by Tim Worstall ·

Heck, you’d have a quota – for quantity, (low) quality, and (nonexistant) factual basis. Good, solid, well-deserved insults would be punished – quite harshly, too, judging from these people’s output.

59

Tom T. 03.25.06 at 1:35 pm

John Q, that’s certainly one interpretation. Howell seems to be saying, though, that she sees her beat as covering journalism controversies at the print Post, which would indeed include complaints by Post print reporters — about journalism-related topics. She’s excluding the .com, and presumably Slate, Newsweek, Express, or any of the Post’s other outlets.

As I read her, she’s saying that she wrote about Froomkin (who is not a print reporter) because he was causing unrest among the print staff, particularly national political editor John F. Harris, and she would presumably say that it was complaints from Harris et al., not from her, that got Froomkin relabeled as Opinion and led to the hiring of a conservative opinion writer.

Besides which, even under your formulation, keep in mind that Domenech was never labeled as a reporter.

By the way, the sarcastic “ummm” seems needlessly impolite. I was disagreeing with you civilly and wasn’t trying to be snide.

60

Natalie Solent 03.25.06 at 2:05 pm

Jim Miller,

It was Clive James, not Davis, that Molly Ivins “borrowed” from: see here and here.

61

Natalie Solent 03.25.06 at 2:23 pm

…and, of course, from Florence King.

62

Jim Miller 03.25.06 at 5:09 pm

Natalie – Thanks for the correction.

63

Natalie Solent 03.25.06 at 5:19 pm

My pleasure. I don’t think any of the regulars will benefit from it, though. There’s only thee and me here. Let’s help ourselves to the Crooked Timber whisky while no-one’s looking.

64

rilkefan 03.25.06 at 7:10 pm

Ok, she twice misattributed the line “Arnold looks like a condom filled with walnuts”, which she thought a friend said. I’d say your bringing this up in this context reflects worse on you than on Ivins, though I appreciate the linkage so I was able to see how silly your attack on her was.

65

k 03.25.06 at 7:58 pm

I have to agree with rilkefan. Looks like jim miller and natalie solent got into the whisky some time ago. The attack on Ivins is quite strained, but even if it were spot on it in hardly exculpates Domenech. It is a transparent attempt to change the subject. Though, I did find the comment about Ivins columns that “nearly everything in them is borrowed, usually with attribution” amusing. Borrowing with attribution?! String her up! My God, if no one stops her, next thing we know she will quoting people and footnoting the quote!

66

k 03.25.06 at 8:20 pm

Tom T., if Froomkin is out of her jurisdiction then she doesn’t have much business criticizing him, whether he annoys the Print reporting editor or not. She is supposed to represent the readers not the reporters. Trashing a fellow journalist at a different news outlet because her friends don’t like him is pretty unprofessional. It is the kind of thing I would expect from Mickey Kaus. But, of course, the excuse that they are different outlets is hard to accept. If they really are different and should be treated so, how is that Froomkin column suddenly got labelled Opinion and they went out and hired Domenech to “balance” him? The incident was a ham-handed effort to slap Froomkin down so the White House Post reporters could score brownie points with the White House.

67

John Quiggin 03.25.06 at 8:46 pm

Tom T, sorry for being snide. That said, k is exactly right here. Having used her column to push criticism of Froomkin, which led directly to Domenech’s hiring she can’t just walk away.

And I find it hard to believe there aren’t any print journalists at the Post who are more upset about the brand being trashed by the appointment of someone like Domenech than by the fact that Froomkin writes a liberal opinion column.

68

Natalie Solent 03.26.06 at 8:36 am

She didn’t “misattribute” the comment, rilkefan and k, she passed it off as her own. She said,

“I went out to California to look at this race and came back saying, oh, Gray Davis makes Mr. Rogers look like he was on steroids, and Arnold Schwarzenegger looks exactly like a condom stuffed with walnuts. This was not the most profound observation I have ever made about serious public affairs, but it’s irresistible.”

When pressed with the fact that Clive James made that quip first she then said she had first heard it from “a civil libertarian in Vermont” – but that does not really answer the objection.

69

Natalie Solent 03.26.06 at 8:38 am

And there’s still Florence King.

70

k 03.26.06 at 12:03 pm

Natalie, it is still pretty weak tea. It’s a joke, a throwaway line. I have seen your joke about getting into the whiskey in comments sections in some form or another before but I would find it quite odd if you had preceded by saying “as someone in a comments section once said…”

If you are really going to be that picky then you should grant that Clive James never said, “Gray Davis makes Mr. Rogers look like he was on steroids,” as the “this” in the last sentence seems to refer the previous sentence as one observation. Tim Blair’s point on this is tendentious, at best.

71

Natalie Solent 03.26.06 at 4:00 pm

You wound me, sir! Although others may have thought of the same one, my joke was an independent creation – a thing you may find easier to believe when you reflect that it was a pretty obvious sort of joke to make, really. Just the sort of mediocre joke that lots of people could think up independently.

In contrast the condom-filled-with-nuts observation took a lot more talent to make for the first time. I maintain it was a meme big enough to have its unauthorised use count as theft. (Count the apparent inclusion of the remark about Gray Davis down to my bad grammar.)

Now I’m trying and failing to think of an original remark to finish off with before this thread drops off the main page…

72

k 03.26.06 at 6:46 pm

Natalie, I don’t think your joke was copied or unfunny, my point was that jokes and quips are pretty much public domain and expecting writers and pundits to track down the origin of every joke they use is unreasonable. Also, there is nothing wrong with your grammar, that is what the CNN transcript reports her as saying. You interpret it as her claiming authorship–I think that is a stretch. She is just telling a joke.

73

Jaybird 03.26.06 at 7:00 pm

I just wanted to say that I was totally wrong in my prediction. Horribly wrong. Jaw-droppingly wrong.

74

rilkefan 03.26.06 at 11:25 pm

Plagiarism, for the challenged.

jaybird, a link?

75

ogmb 03.27.06 at 1:17 am

People are going through his college paper movie reviews? That’s ridiculous.

People compare supposed 1970’s typewriter fonts with MS Word documents? That’s ridiculous.

76

abb1 03.27.06 at 2:10 am

On the “condom-filled-with-nuts” thing – I think this is one of these cases where the “intent”, the “state of mind” counts. If she read a signed column and lifted the joke from there without attribution – then it’s an instance of plagiarism. If she heard it in a bar – then it’s not. To repeat a one line joke you heard in a bar is not the same as copying someone’s 50-word paragraph.

77

Jaybird 03.27.06 at 2:31 pm

#42 above. I thought that they’d whip around and put a higher value on integrity than loyalty.

Boy, was I wrong. The admins over there are acting like a Kos thread in which Dean comments and a Gephardt fan replies. It’s Ugly. There’s no such thing as principled opposition. You’re either with us or you’re piling on.

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