[KB] Democracy and the Parliamentary

Edappel8@cs.com Edappel8 at cs.com
Tue Feb 19 11:51:19 EST 2008


       One more short piece of grist for the mill: What about Obama's 
apparent "plagiarism" of passages from speeches by Gov. Deval Patrick?  Joe Biden was 
pilloried in the media for lifting a bit of a speech by Neil Kinnock a couple 
of election cycles back.  He was put way down for that demeaning offense.  Is 
Obama, the "Great Orator," to be treated any differently?  What about the 
ethics of taking the "soaring sections" of another speaker's addresses and 
passing those perorations off as one's own?

       Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr., was a notorious plagiarist.  He even 
pilfered a vast section of his doctoral dissertation from a book by Harrison 
Wofford, later a short-lived senator from Pennsylvania.  In his book Voice of 
Deliverance, Keith Miller of Arizona State extenuates King's appropriation of other 
people's words and works.  King was only following the settled cultural 
practices of African-American pulpit oratory, Miller offers.  Can't fault a man for 
that, he intimates.

       Whatever your cultural background, you KNOW you do not plagiarize a 
thesis, dissertation, journal article, or academic book, to which you attach 
your name as researcher and author.  But, of course, King was a saint and a 
member of an oppressed minority, so you don't hear or read anything about that 
embarrassing matter.  And I presume that Obamaniacs will come to the rescue of 
Saint Barack in this case, too.  Not that plagiarizing speeches is in the same 
league as what King did.

       Don't get me wrong about King.  I view him as a great and brave man, 
movement leader, and orator.  He did, though, have some clay in his feet.  For 
conservatives, it was his sexual promiscuity.  For liberals who ever allow 
themselves to thing about it, it was his academic dishonesty.

       So the question is: Are the very eloquent words of other speechmakers 
mine to take and pass off as my own without attribution?  Many preachers do it 
regularly, White as well as Black, our daughter for one, I'm sure.  What 
about presidential candidates, and especially those who use those passages again 
and again as their trademark symbolisms?

       Inquiring minds want to know.



       Ed

       

        

         

              
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