Monday, October 31, 2011

"Something Barrowed"

Plagiarism is not specifically about the what, but more the why. The rules of plagiarism delve deeper then simply yes or no. Malcolm Gladwell addresses this topic by use of examples including that of the play "Frozen", numerous musical numbers, and musical sequences. His main focus on Bryony Lavery's play "Frozen" and its large similarity to Dorthy Lewis's literature pieces proves that plagiarism is not a black and white idea like society tends to view it. He touches on the fact that ideas are constantly thrown into society and used to form new ideas or mold old ones. He asks if it is possible to take credit for words, for ideas. If ideas such as cancer research are "stolen" than that is for the common good of the world but if an individual steals an article on cancer, than it is taking more seriously. For this reason is why plagiarism is more about the why and not the what. The complexity of plagiarism does not come from its nature, but rather from the question as to where to draw the line between useful searching and straight up copying.
Gladwell made me really think about the topic of plagiarism in a new light for the first time. I always viewed it as a lazy person finding the easy way out. As he addresses the topic, I now see that it is much more then someone taking the easy way out. It holds complexity that is difficult to determine. The answer to whether something is copied is not a yes or no question as I had always assumed it to be, but rather, how much is copied and for what reasons? I had never even considered the thoughts and ideas of cancer treatments being an indicator of plagiarism; however, it consistutes as an idea stolen. Words are a difficult thing to monitor let alone give credit to. Because we as humans constantly vocalize and socialize, we continuously create new sayings everyday. The odds that the way in which we choose to put our words together don't coinside with others is hard to determine. I was a little confused on who was talking by this passage? It seemed to flip flop from referring to "my" work and then speaking in 3rd person.

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