Yay! It’s the final one everyone, in theory we have made it!
So, I can relate to the author, Hollis Phelps and his editorial, Žižek, plagiarism and the lowering of expectations. Phelps explains his disappointment in realizing his intellectual hero is in fact as human as he is.
Writing is hard, and it is even harder to keep work original. If a topic is popular or current, there is a lot of information written on it. When it is a topic which is of interest to you, then chances are you will read as much information as you can find on the subject. If you have a paper to write on the subject, it is very easy to start mixing original ideas with sources you have read. So as Phelps says, you cite, but as he says, “Cite too much, and your work is derivative; cite too little, and you get accused of not knowing the literature, sloppiness, or in some cases plagiarism” (Phelps). It really is a Catch-22.
As a student, it is hard to find the balance with how many quotes to include, how many citations, and at what point it will be the professor says, ‘too many quotes and not enough original thought’.
Does original thought really exist anymore? Is it possible somewhere, someone has already iterated what is flowing from my fingertips and without scouring everything ever written I am plagiarizing someone at this very moment? If I am, I apologize, it is not my intent and I don’t wish to be held accountable for stealing someone’s ideas due to a lack of resources in researching.
Now I do not want to be so pompous as to assume my ideas are so grand they could be confused with someone else’s, but I do want to toss this out there.
A great writer or researcher does have the resources to find information and put together a masterpiece, but as the author says, “…the actual production of scholarship often depends on others, whose work often remains largely unacknowledged (Phelps). It seems even as an academic, he is willing to accept there are certain levels of acceptable plagiarism that does occur in everyone’s work and basically to keep oneself within the acceptable levels one must remember to cite-at least most of the time.
So this brings us to the second article, “The Disruptive Power of Collaboration: An Interview with Clay Shirky” conducted by Clay Shirky with Michael Chui. The interview is a discussion of “sharing and how it changes everything” (Shirky). Shirky explains how, “when communications tools come along and they change how people can contact each other, how they can share information, how they can find each other—we’re talking about the printing press, or the telephone, or the radio, or what have you—the changes that are left in the wake of those new technologies often span generations” (Shirky). I take this statement to mean with new innovation allows for new ways of communication but also gives individuals the abilities who would have not have done so previously to communicate and share information. I also tie this comment back to the Phelps editorial. Fifteen years after his original article was written, Stanley Hornbeck gets his due respect for the original thoughts in regards to his critique of Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements. For eight years, Žižek was able to take credit where credit was not due and never once did it occur to him prior to being called out on it to admit he plagiarized another’s work. One can go back and forth but let’s be honest, if he’s the scholar he claims to be, then yes he was aware. Shirky believes sharing changes the playing field, eventually it won’t take eight years for a person to be able to realize someone else had taken credit for their work. Once Pandora’s box was opened, I am sure additional writings were communicated amongst those who care for further scrutiny of all of Žižek’s “work”.
As an observer, it makes for interesting reading.
Phelps, Hollis. “Žižek, Plagiarism and the Lowering of Expectations.” Inside Higher Education. July 17 2014.Web. .