In the past week of Foundations of College Writing, which in actuality was only Wednesday and Friday, we covered two things: plagiarism and how to not do it, and ePortfolio. I am not able (or maybe not willing) to go into great detail about either, but I will do my best. At least you have the grand opportunity to hear my opinion. Oh joy.
On the subject of plagiarism: it is a terrible thing; thousands, if not millions plagiarize every day and most don’t even know it. I feel bad for both parties involved: those who are doing the dirty deed, and those who have the misfortune of writing something so powerful and moving that someone would feel compelled to relay that idea or quote to another person without giving credit to said writer. As the Spanish would say, “iAy, que pena!” Or as we Americans would so gracefully put it, “That sucks!” In any case, plagiarism is very inconsiderate regardless of situation, despite my sarcasm. Fundamentally, it is stealing. Consider the episode of Spongebob Squarepants where title character Spongebob and friend Patrick “steal” a balloon. Now that you’ve considered it, forget it completely. I highly doubt there will be a day similar to National Free Balloon Day except with famous pieces of writing.
Back to the subject of stealing: plagiarism is most definitely intellectual theft, plain and simple. It may not seem like such a big deal to some, and I may be one of those some, however it is serious (or so I’m told). It really doesn’t seem that bad to me simply because nobody has ever taken my quotes or ideas because, well, I don’t have very many! This is not to say that I don’t think or don’t speak/write, it is to say that I am no exemplar when it comes to those matters. If ever I become talented enough to be plagiarized from (is that even the right use of the word?!), I’m certain I will be offended. Maybe not offended enough to sue or make a big deal out of it, but the point is there indeed. What bugs me about the whole plagiarism thing is: everything you say or think has already been said or thought. 999 times out of 1000, the things we do are not original. Someone has already “been there, done that, and got the tee shirt” if you will. So this begs the question: is everything we do plagiarized? And if so, is it then necessary to cite every little detail? All I have to say to that is: Damn. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought about this (ß reinforcement of prior point) and I know I won’t be the last. If you, dear reader, are sitting there and thinking, “Wow, this guy makes a good point,” be aware: you just might be the first person to think that about me. Congratulations! You have not plagiarized. If, as you were reading this, thought, “Wow, this guy should stop writing right now,” be aware: you are definitely not the first person to think that about me. You have plagiarized. May you be struck down where you stand. So, in summation, plagiarism is bad and you should never do it. But if it does happen, rest assured: you won’t die. You may be kicked out of school or sued, but you will not be killed. In the words of my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, “So it goes.”
Although I haven’t said more than one word about it, I haven’t forgotten about good ol’ ePortfolio. Regrettably, I will not be writing about it seeing as how I got carried away with the above tangent.