[KB] Democracy and the Parliamentary

Drew Kopp kopp at email.arizona.edu
Tue Feb 19 13:34:21 EST 2008

And what "about presidential candidates, and especially those who use those passages again and again as their trademark symbolisms?"

I wonder, how many politicians actually write their own speeches?

And do those speech writers lying in the shadows, those slippery sophists, mind so terribly that they always fail to recieve public citations for their "best" work?

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Edappel8 at cs.com 
  To: kb at purdue.edu 
  Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 9:51 AM
  Subject: [KB] Democracy and the Parliamentary

         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.







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