Newspaper Fail and Plagiarism Doesn’t Matter

From the Failblog:

Plagiarism much? Did anyone get fired for this?

It doesn’t matter. Even if there was disciplinary action for such a gaffe, it’s clear that there is punishment not for plagiarism, but for doing it badly. If the same article were printed but the “Click here to compare them” were omitted from the copy-and-paste job, we wouldn’t even know about this.

Dumbass Behavior Consequences Theorem – It doesn’t matter if you do something bad, it only matters if you get caught.

Plagiarism is so easy, and so common, it shouldn’t even be a crime. People that care about plagiarism and worry about the “theft of ideas” should get their heads straight. Ideas can’t be stolen, only credit for them. People that worry about citations and who thought of what first are just amateur arbitrartors of merit, as if the words “deserve,” “justice,” or “fair,” have any real meaning in a universal sense. This merit arbitration extends to opportunities like attending college. The idea that I should be some kind of sentinel of truth so other people can know who to hire or pay is laughable.

The plagiarist, in plagirizing, isn’t learning to write better or improving skills other than fraud. As such, because the goals of educational institutions include learning and skill improvement, teachers should discourage/prevent/outlaw plagiarism. If the goal is to get paid, however, clearly plagiarism is a reasonable option. Jayson Blair, Jim Frey, and Stephen Glass are famous and have opportunity because of plagiarism. These people wouldn’t even be a footnote if it weren’t for the idiotic posturing that we should care.

Also, as of June 7th, the Honolulu Advertiser is no more. Small violins, etc.

  1. August 6th, 2010

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