The Missing Link

At the Political Sword, HillbillySkeleton is basking in praise for her recent post ‘Post-Truth Politics.’ "Terrific Hillbilly, just terrific", writes commenter David Horton. Hillbilly’s reply is all modesty:

Thank you so much for your warm compliments. I am truly flattered. I can still see faults with what I have written, but I guess that’s always the case. I’d like to start my paragraphs with better words but just can’t seem to find them.

Some of Hillbilly’s post is very well written. As is this piece by David Roberts at Grist that Lenore Taylor cites in a recent opinion piece.

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murph the surf.
murph the surf.
10 years ago

A couple of points spring to mind- the observation made on the Grist site -that we have all moved to the right- is a salient one.
Generally though have I missed something here ?
Hasn’t political drama always been about differentiation and promoting tribal loyalty?
Like all good theatre special effects can be used to reinforce these points.
In the analysis offered by The HS isn’t the same mistake being made about middle class welfare , the mistake that others had so clearly explained here on CT?
It isn’t worth the effort to target the well to do in a well planned welfare system as the costs are immaterial.
When the leaders of the two main parties were initially Gillard and Abbot I made a few snarky comments on LP about the possibility that two ex student politicians who haven’t a great depth of life or work experience outside politics might just leave us with all huff and puff but no action.The only game is power and attaining it.
On climate change for examle I would not be surprised to see a complete about face on policy if the Coalition resumes power.And it will be explained to us that circumstances change so must policy as any right minded person would surely agree!

murph the surf.
murph the surf.
10 years ago

sorry just don’t see the reason for the outrage. Same with Mr Denmore’s campaign.

Fyodor
10 years ago

HS is disingenuous – she evidently did find better words to start some of the paragraphs. Others, she started just as she…um, found them.

Awseome find, Don.

murph the surf.
murph the surf.
10 years ago

ha – sorry i thought this was the weekend round up!

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
10 years ago

Is it plagiarism? At the very least it’s close to the borderline. The sequence of ideas and key expressions is the same paragraph after paragraph. It’s a shame really, because she’s done a great deal of work in applying Roberts’ analysis to the Australian political context. It would have been even more interesting (not to mention more honest) to have undertaken an overt comparative analysis of the US versus Australia.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Wow – post-sth, certainly, but perhaps pre-internet also..?

It’s not borderline, KP, imagine if that was one of your students!!

Awesome find, Don.

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

“Is it plagiarism?”

Yes — it’s pretty blatant in my books (I mean, entire slabs are copied word-for-word). If a student gave me that, and I ran it through our plagiarism detector, it would certainly pick it up and I would be obliged to bring the student in, tell them how bad plagiarism is and why I’m adjusting their mark because of this (if it was a postrgraduate student, they’d probably be failed entirely for it and have to go before a disciplary comittee). It’s worthwhile noting that even with 100 essays on the same topic, the amount of actual word-for-word overlap you find is generally pretty small.

Hillbilly Skeleton
Hillbilly Skeleton
10 years ago

What a load of sanctimonious claptrap you have come out with. In your dry, ivory towers it appears inspiration doesn’t pass your way very much, if one person in Australia seeking to bring the powerful words of another in America to the attention of their blog readers, who would otherwise not have known about it, is some sort of latter-day literary hanging offence, then you better get out the stocks and line me up for a pillorying in the Public Square. Guilty yer Honour!
For your information, The Political Sword’ is a blog, it is not a paper submitted to you in your dry and dusty University offices reeking of the ghosts of glories past as you daily polish your leather elbow patches and your egos. If I decide to write a blog inspired by a powerful blog I came across in my travels, then so be it. I don’t have to jump over any bar you may wish to set for me to hurdle in order to receive your approbation. If I want to write a Post Modern blog, which is how I saw it, that allows me to stand on its shoulders and make a point, powerfully, about the Australian political scene, I will. It definitely was not written as some furtive attempt to piggyback off the greatness of another blog for my own ego’s sake. I just wanted Australia to get the message. Simple as that. And all your second guessing otherwise, with pursed lips, is just pious piffle, frankly.
Sorry if my Learning Style is Musical and I improvise on a riff like the best Jazz musicians.As they’re my blogs not yours I think I’ll continue to do so, when the fancy takes me, as long as they create enjoyment for the people that read them. And they are not purloined, word for word, as you obviously must have realised. Please excuse me if my life experience has led me through an intimate connection with Rap Music by the likes of The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, for example, who always use a basic riff from some other artist, and create their work on top of it, using it as a structural framework for their original embroidery.
But I guess you old intellectual fuddy duddies just can’t get your head around that sort of concept, obviously. Which is your fault, not mine.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
10 years ago

What silly old duffers we all are in our “dry and dusty university offices”! Out there at the coalface among the truly evolved cognoscenti, wise beyond years through exposure to The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, basic honesty is just an old-fashioned fuddy duddy concept. Of course it isn’t so for journalists where, as in academia, plagiarism is formally treated as unethical behavour. But what would they know? And bloggers aren’t journalists, after all. They/we(?) march to the beat of a different drum.

In the wilds of the blogosphere HillBilly’s effort is just a “Post Modern blog (post?)”, particularly post modern in its remarkable capacity to “bring the powerful words of another in America to the attention of their blog readers” without actually mentioning that they ARE the words of another. And even more post modern in being “truly flattered” by praise for words and thoughts that actually weren’t hers. But maybe not so post modern after all. Lewis Carroll summarised HillBilly’s school of logic in Through the Looking Glass almost exactly 140 years ago:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

Fyodor
10 years ago

It’s the vibe, Ken.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

I too love the Beastie Boys:

So many wack M.C.’s you get the T.V. bozack
Ain’t even gonna call out your names ’cause you’re so wack
But one big oaf whose faker than plastic
A dictionary definition of the word spastic
You should have never started something that you couldn’t finish
‘Cause writin’ rhymes to me is like popeye to spinach
I’m bad ass move your fat ass ’cause you’re wack son
Dancin’ around like you think you’re Janet Jackson
Thought you could walk on me to get some ground to walk on
I’ll pull the rug out from under your ass as I talk on
I’ll take you out like a sniper on a roof
Like an M.C. at the fever in the D.J. booth

FDB
FDB
10 years ago

“I just wanted Australia to get the message. Simple as that.”

Personally, I can’t see how linking to the original piece would have destroyed the message.

Perhaps you can explain, HBS?

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
10 years ago

Let’s start with a generous-spirited hypothesis that HillBilly’s initial error in failing to acknowledge the source of her post was inadvertent (if badly misjudged). A sincere mea culpa would have fixed it as far as I’m concerned. The sort of arrogant obfuscation she has engaged in instead (both here and on my Ministry of Truth thread) suggest either a more sinister explanation (when caught out resort to bullying, bluster and obfuscation) or a spectacular degree of obtuseness.

Let’s make a really basic point here. Plagiarism is intellectual theft, not only for academics and university students but for journalists as well. The Shakespeare analogy just doesn’t cut the mustard. Stoppard had no need to footnote Shakespeare because his source was known to everyone with even a passing knowledge of the English literary tradition. It was in large part the point of the work. HillBilly’s source, on the other hand, was quite unknown until Don Arthur uncovered it. Self-consciously and openly referencing well known works is an accepted practice in numerous artistic disciplines e.g. pastiche and collage in visual arts; rap remixes, parodies etc in modern music. Covert and wholesale copying of essentially unknown works is quite a different animal. Basic honesty requires acknowledgment. If HillBilly simply acknowledges that she made an innocent error there would be no furthher issue to my mind.

FDB
FDB
10 years ago

Of course that’s correct Don.

Why then do I anticipate another round of doubling-down?

john
john
10 years ago

Monty anyone

First City Gent No, no, it’s just that we wanted a block of flats, not an abattoir.

Mr Wiggin Yes, well, of course, this is just the sort blinkered philistine pig ignorance I’ve come to expect from you non-creative garbage. You sit there on your loathsome, spotty behinds squeezing blackheads, not caring a tinker’s cuss about the struggling artist. (shouting) You excrement! You lousy hypocritical whining toadies with your lousy colour TV sets and your Tony Jacklin golf clubs and your bleeding masonic handshakes! You wouldn’t let me join, would you, you blackballing bastards. Well I wouldn’t become a freemason now if you went down on your lousy, stinking, purulent knees and begged me.

Second City Gent Well, we’re sorry you feel like that but we, er, did want a block of flats. Nice though the abattoir is.

Mr Wiggin Oh (blows raspberry) the abattoir, that’s not important. But if any of you could put in a word for me I’d love to be a freemason. Freemasonry opens doors. I mean, I was…I was a bit on edge just now, but if I were a mason I’d sit at the back and not get in anyone’s way.

Fyodor
10 years ago

Why then do I anticipate another round of doubling-down?

Shits & giggles.

*searches for Campari, settles for Pernod*

john
john
10 years ago

The American piece is , I think, better than either Australian pieces.

However there are some differences between here and there that were not ( I thin), noted in the mirrors. One is America has neither compulsory voting or preferential voting thus small passionate minorities can punch well above their weight.
In the reps the balance is not with Katter or with the Greens.

And importantly in Australia the Carbon trading scheme was definitely ultimately defeated in the senate by Green votes. The hard man was able to use the same tactics that worked in the republic vote, link up people who wanted it all with people who wanted nothing = no compromise = no vote.

Policy hardness and tactical flexibility do matter here.

FDB
FDB
10 years ago

“*searches for Campari, settles for Pernod*”

*searches for put-down*

*realises house contains only cask wine and grenadine*

*pulls head in*