November 3, 2013

"If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know it’d be a duel challenge."

Said Rand Paul referring to charges of plagiarism in his speeches.
"I think the spoken word shouldn’t be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you’re giving a scientific paper. I’ve written scientific papers, I know how to footnote things, but we’ve never footnoted speeches, and if that’s the standard I’m going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things.... If it’s required, I’ll do it, but I think I’m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters, and I’m just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my character.”
Video at the link. Note that this is about speeches, and my post earlier today about Paul and plagiarism was about his book. I think he is being "targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters," but that is politics, so I'm not going along with "unfairly." He has a political future, so he has opponents, and they're going to use whatever he gives them.

Don't plagiarize. It will be used against you.

58 comments:

Titus said...

I kind of like him. I am more concerned about that thing on his head. Is that real?

Happy Diwali!

jacksonjay said...

SlowJoe Biden and Doris Kearns Goodwin survived plagiarism Quite nicely!

AJ Lynch said...

This is must be why Obama has never written much except for his autobiographies.

Lem said...

Don't plagiarize. It will be used against you.

You left out, specially republicans... but I'll take it. Something is better than nothing and all that.

rehajm said...

SlowJoe Biden and Doris Kearns Goodwin survived plagiarism Quite nicely!

...and Tony Blair was shameless in plagiarizing Bill Clinton. Given the quantity and quality of the guilty the debate should be less about the deed and more about the punishment. At this point we've decided the appropriate measure is somewhere between death by hanging and a slap on the wrist with apology.

Lem said...

BTW, if "sourcing" a speech is so important... shouldn't the source's authority, or lack thereof, count towards exculpating, or if you prefer, entirely exonerating the senator?

Last time I checked, Wikipedia could be edited by "anybody".

Lem said...

Never mind.

rhhardin said...

Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It closely grasps an author's sentence, uses his expressions, deletes a false idea, replaces it with the right one.

- Lautreamont, rewriting Vauvenargues's idea.

rhhardin said...

You have to lay out guest list, rules about attending physicians, and so forth, if you're going to have duels.

If one of the duelists is a physician himself, is he obligated to help the other fellow?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The idea of dueling is that you can do something dishonorable and kill anyone who says so. I wonder if Rand realizes he has just invited a thorough cite checking of the scientific papers he has written. If he has written any, that is. If he has not, well, swords or pistols?

victoria said...

Don't plagiarize, it's wrong.Why compare it to anything else. Wrong is wrong

Vicki from Pasadena

Freeman Hunt said...

What's the problem? This proves that he would fit right in as President.

somefeller said...

Talking about dueling over this kerfuffle (even in semi-jest) isn't the best move. It invites ridicule and keeps a story most people won't care about alive for another day and with a new angle. I'm surprised Rand Paul made that comment. He's smarter than that.

Illuninati said...

Althouse said:
" I think he is being "targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters," but that is politics, so I'm not going along with "unfairly." He has a political future, so he has opponents, and they're going to use whatever he gives them."

Agreed. Along the same vein, his complaint that he is being treated unfairly is also politics and therefore is a fair complaint.

John said...

What constitutes plagiarism?

I've taught at the university level for 30 years and face this question.

The definition I use in my classes and require of my students is that if they are not your own words, you have to let me know. That might be by a footnote or, since I have my students write business style rather than academic style papers a simpler indication.

If a student wrote "All progress is made by a lazy person looking for an easier way" (without quotes)and left the impression that it was his/her own words, I would nail them on it. They would get a zero on the paper. No exceptions, no excuses.

If they did it twice, I would give them an F for the entire course. Maybe even for a first offense if it were egregious enough. I've had several students over the years who have been unwise enough to see if I really meant that.

OTOH, if they said something like "As Heinlein said: "All progress..."" that would be fine with me.

If they don't know who said it, that is OK too. Just say "As someone once said:"..."".

I might have commented on the way Paul credited the paragraphs but, since he did call it out in the endnotes, I would not give him a zero on the paper. Not for plagiarism, anyway.

John Henry

rhhardin said...

I'd go with sabres.

rhhardin said...

In a duel involving three people, the worst shot is well advised to fire in the air until one of the good shots shoots the other guy.

rhhardin said...

If he kidnaps the child or slave of another, we'll know it's serious plagiarism.

A. Shmendrik said...

Fair enough. But given the bias evident in the editing, and the lack of rigorous sourcing in many Wikipedia entries, what is to stop opponents of given politician or public figure from transcribing a speech in real time (or transcribing an advance copy), editing it into an existing Wikipedia page, and then claiming that it existed first and the presentation was plagiarism of that supposedly preexisting page/entry? I understand that they time stamp entries, but if they are going to go as far as they have to bend objective truth in terms of content, I don't know if I trust them on the time stamp either. And this is the kind of thing that could be used 3-4 days out from an election (Bush DUI story anyone?) which might take the mainstream media 5-6 days to correct. Just sayin'.

Paddy O said...

Wouldn't any use of speechwriters technically be plagiarism?

Fandor said...

Imagine Andrew Jackson in this congress. One could only imagine the body count if dueling was legal.

Lem said...

If he kidnaps the child or slave of another, we'll know it's serious plagiarism.

Maddow seems to imply the word plagiarism is set in stone... also, that at least in terms of prioritization, the Obama lie, or "misspoke", as the NYT is calling it, is not as up-worthy... or something

Lem said...

the word as well as the concept.

Lem said...

Which begs the question, if something is set in stone... could it be dead?

Inga said...

He wants to duel with Rachel Maddow? Wow, that was a really intelligent comment.

Big Mike said...

but that is politics, so I'm not going along with "unfairly."

One persistent thread through your posts, Professor, has been that Republicans need to be perfect, or very nearly so, and with Democrats it's all "just politics." In 2008 you seem to have spent a lot of your "cruel neutrality" figuring out what's wrong with McCain, but what did you do to figure out what's right with Obama? He was a lecturer on Constitutional Law, which is your field. Did you examine his scholarship? Did you analyze whether he had ever completed anything he started? I suspect "no" is the fair (cruelly neutral?) answer to both.

I think if you seriously examine "cruel neutrality" you'll find that it means taking your thumb off both sides of the scale.

Beldar said...

Biden, of course, is a serial offender, continuing to plagiarize even after it destroyed his first presidential bid.

surfed said...

Dueling is illegal in Kentucky?

Curious George said...

"Just words?"

Ann Althouse said...

"Agreed. Along the same vein, his complaint that he is being treated unfairly is also politics and therefore is a fair complaint."

Good point. I agree.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Plagiarism is too easy not to do. Just don't do it. In a speech it is not hard to indicate that you are quoting someone. In writing it is not hard to indicate that you are quoting someone.

The monolithically Democratic profession of journalism--as opposed to opinion columnists--is going to enforce the rules unfairly. That doesn't mean you should make it easier for them.

Carnifex said...

I'd like to see a return of tar and feathering. Treat a politician as they should be treated. Just below maggot, right above hookworm.

Bob Ellison said...

This reminds me of a story. This guy comes in and says he jumped his motorboat eighty feet. We said no way. He gets all mad, yelling eighty feet!

I don't remember what happened after that.

Titus said...

My hubby and I are going to India for the holidays and taking Qatar Airlines! I can't wait.

Qatar is the most fab airline around.

Fly Qatar! Everything is amazing.

Gahrie said...

I am coming around to the point of view that maybe we need to bring dueling back.

maybe people in Washington would be less willing to lie if there was a price to be paid....

John said...

From Wikipedia. Demmies have always been more fun than a barrel of toads:

Preston Smith Brooks (August 5, 1819 – January 27, 1857) was a Democratic Representative from South Carolina, serving from 1853 until his death in 1857.

Brooks was a fervent advocate of slavery. He is primarily remembered for severely beating Senator Charles Sumner (Free soil-Massachusetts), an abolitionist, with a cane on the floor of the United States Senate, on May 22, 1856. This was in retaliation for an anti-slavery speech by Sumner


Brooks beat Sumner so badly that he he was out of the Senate for almost 3 years.

John Henry

Terry said...

I've been reading U.S. Grant's autobiography. He didn't think much of the Southerner's habit of settling scores by duelling (Grant was writing about his memories of Louisiana and Texas in the 1840s). He thought it was a damn bit of foolishness. Grant didn't think too much of Texans, either. He considered them slavery-endorsing adventurers and freebooters who more or less invaded the Mexican state of Texas, set up slavery, and when it suited the purposes of the Texans, seceded from Mexico and applied for annexation so they could add one or more slave states to the Union.

ken in sc said...

This man is saying that he would be willing to fight for his honor, if it was legal. This resonates with the people who support him, in the region that supports him.

It's a Southern thing, you wouldn't understand.

ken in sc said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, it goes back to the Anglo-Saxon idea of trial by combat. It is the belief that God will favor the righteous one and give him victory.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Duelling in theory had to do with honor, but in practice it had more to do with vanity--and in the South it sometimes led to Hatfield-McCoy style vendettas with people shooting from behind trees at families on their way to church and what not, not very honorable at all.

Duelling is the mark of a shame-based culture, like honor-killing in the Islamic world. Imagine "To Kill A Mockingbird" ending with Atticus Finch calling out people who call him a n*****r-lover. The moral message would be somewhat confused. Honor is something you have even if no one knows you have it--but duelling is all about proving the point publicly, and the winner may not be the honorable one. Aaron Burr's career subsequent to his duel with Hamilton included treason and espionage against the United States.

I knew a guy who used to try to score points in arguments by offering to bet $10,000 that he was right. Nobody likes to take a risk that huge over a point so small, so he would declare victory every time his bet was refused. Imagine a jackass like that who's known to be good with swords or pistols. He'll be insufferable, and end up shot in the back. Not a lot of honor in that.

ken in sc said...

Of course, Gabriel you are right. But it still resonates with Southerners. People admire those who are willing to risk their own safety for some point of principle.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Risking safety for a point of principle is honorable. Duelling frequently involved none of those things--neither risk, nor principle, nor honor.

Having shame and obloquy heaped on one for doing what one privately believes is right when the mass of society against one is honorable, and frequently involved the risk of safety. Duelling is all about fulfilling other people's expectations.

Lem said...

How about that Ted Cruz speaking apparently off the cuff for hours and hours.

I say apparently because maybe Ted spoke so much, they are still checking ;)

Jim S. said...

Plagiarize!
Let no one else's work evade your eyes!
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes!
So don't shade your eyes!
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize!
(Only be sure to always call it please "research")

-- Tom Lehrer

Lem said...

If you plagiarize, at least you are plowing safe ground and there is a good chance you could strike oil... Ladies and gentlemen... I've traveled over half our state to be here tonight. I couldn't get away sooner because my new well was coming in at Coyote Hills and I had to see about it. That well is now flowing at two thousand barrels and it's paying me an income of five thousand dollars a week. I have two others drilling and I have sixteen producing at Antelope. So, ladies and gentlemen... if I say I'm an oil man you will agree. You have a great chance here, but bear in mind, you can lose it all if you're not careful. Out of all men that beg for a chance to drill your lots, maybe one in twenty will be oilmen; the rest will be speculators-that's men trying to get between you and the oilmen-to get some of the money that ought by rights come to you. Even if you find one that has money, and means to drill, he'll maybe know nothing about drilling and he'll have to hire out the job on contract, and then you're depending on a contractor that's trying to rush the job through so he can get another contract just as quick as he can. This is... the way that this works.

Man: What is your offer? We're wasting time.

Ok, I lifted it from There Will Be Blood (2007) what the hell, get off my back, what are you going to do?, catch me if you can... whatever... who's line is it anyways?

Lem said...

Its interesting that Maddow seems to be invoking a seemingly arcane eye for an eye, regressive justicetatorial regress of grievances here. While clearly demonstrated, if not by appearance, which I'm not supposed to talk about, surely by political beliefs, benefiting from a more expansive, generous and unstinting American political scene. Maddow Is Unwilling to be as generous with her progressive notions at least as far as extending them to the political opposition... I guess that's the nature of politics.

Never mind.

Lem said...

Death to ... (I was going to dramatize)

Never Mind.

MadisonMan said...

He showing a little too much umbrage IMO.

A laugh and a "Yeah, I probably should've" followed by a "Political operatives have to find something" might have worked.

Lem said...

A laugh and a "Yeah, I probably should've" followed by a "Political operatives have to find something" might have worked.

Maddow may have rubbed Rands Achilles. Everything is ID today. Is he just his father's son? a doctor with political aspirations?

Who is Rand Paul? touch of insecurity there with the over reaction maybe?

Pay attention Ted!

Mark said...

Fly Qatar! Everything is amazing.

Emirates is better. Out of your price range, probably.

Carl said...

Who gives a woodpecker's squirt? Politicians are supposed to represent broad points of view with agility and poise. Anyone who wants intellectual originality for them -- or who thinks they should be careful to lay credit where precisely it's due -- is obsessing dangerously over minutiae, and likely to miss something quite important (e.g. his favored candidate is a crook, psychotic, stupid) in consequence.

By all means, when we hand out Nobel Prizes, let us be sure the brilliant originality is known to arise between those two ears. But should we care where a Senator digs up his words, and whether he attributes the thought accurately? Give me a break. I expect almost everything a Senator says that isn't 100% extemporaneous in response to a surprise question is scripted, borrowed, or ghostwritten anyway. If his talent were intellectual originality, he wouldn't have gone into politics.

Carnifex said...

I notice no one is charging the HNIC with plagerizing from Marx, or Mao!

Bias in the media!!!111!!!

(you heard it here first)**

**media bias is a term I heard somewhere else**

that's so I don't get accused of plagerism.

MayBee said...

Senator/Candidate Obama was also accused of plagiarism:
http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-502323_162-3850012.html

MayBee said...

I scrolled down and saw Althouse had already covered the Obama accusations.

Ace had an excellent piece a few weeks ago about our politics being dumb because we allow ourselves to be distracted by silly stuff like this. These terribly unimportant "outrageous".

Mary Beth said...

surfed said...

Dueling is illegal in Kentucky?

11/3/13, 6:39 PM


Yes, and when our governors are sworn in, they swear that they have never participated in a duel.

SGT Ted said...

Democrats have no credibility in complaining about lying or thieving, including plagiarism.

Terry said...

Hello! JOE BIDEN anyone? Plagiarism in law school? Plagiarism in his 1987 presidential run?

anon2 said...

"...every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together..."

I guess MLK Jr was a plagiarist too as he didn't cite his source. The accusations of plagiarism lobbed against Rand Paul (and other politicians such as Biden) are like a "foolish consistency" - they are the "hobgoblins of little minds".

Plagiarism by students in school is akin to looking at illicit notes during an exam or using a calculator to complete arithmetic homework - it undermines the assessment tool. Plagiarism in the commercial realm is problematic when a creator's isn't properly compensated for her work.

But telling a joke to a friend without clarifying where I got it? Repeating a sentence in a political speech (written by a team of writers that I don't acknowledge)? Putting my name on a ghostwritten book that was improperly formatted? These aren't moral shortcomings or otherwise evidence of dishonesty. Our current definition of plagiarism is remarkably modern and not very helpful outside of the classroom. Whether or not plagiarism is wrong (or even if the use of someone else's idea/created work should count as plagiarism) depends on context - the mindless (or more likely opportunistic) way such accusations are lobbed is not helpful. Even i the lobbing is "just politics". Peter Morgan and Glenn Reynolds have written helpfully on this subject.