Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Public Speeches, Aggregation and Plagiarism - Again

"Genius borrows nobly."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

So this past week, I gave my thoughts on the recent plagiarism scandals involving one of the country's senators, Tito Sotto.

While it's already troubling that they blatantly refused to give a sincere apology to the offended party, the senators camp released further statements, in an obvious attempt to save face. Unfortunately, not only are these statements batshit insane, it also creates a mockery of the integrity of the classroom and shows us that crab mentality is also deep-seated in the Upper House, which is not a surprise.

What really irks me about this new batch of statements from his chief of staff, Hector Villacorta, is that how the senator's camp is rationalizing the situation. I've written an entry about this behaviorr previously and have tried to lay out my thoughts on how rationalization can be destructive if left unchecked. Below are a couple of the statements Villacorta released.

... the Bible reached us today because the monks copied from the Greeks. Everything really started from a little copying.

Even our image was copied from God. We are all plagiarists.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not exactly a paragon of virtue or whatever, but it really rubs me the wrong way when people bring God into their side in an argument, especially when the points they're defending are unmerited and just plain wrong. I really wish that they put careful thought before they released these words.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the first statement is pretty retarded, given the fact that biblical stories weren't copied but handed down. Passing down of stories is common in virtually all cultures that have ever existed and only a moron would think that this is the same thing as plagiarism.

For the sake of logical discussion (because religious debates aren't really my forte), basic catechism dictates that God created people, not the other way around. The second statement is therefore rendered fucking moot, because metaphorically speaking, it's pretty goddamn stupid to call the book a plagiarist because it copied its contents from the author.

Furthermore, two wrongs do not make a right. Just because someone does something wrong and it goes unnoticed, it does not mean that it automatically becomes acceptable behavior. It is this very behavior that keeps most of our country in a perpetually medieval mindset.

Lastly, Villacorta adds the following statements below.

We cannot draw up a speech that says ‘according to this blogger who quoted this author.’ It’s simply too awkward. Besides, what would the Senate President say? A whole gamut of ‘according to’ would also not make the speech credible. This is the Senate we are talking about.

How in the fucking hell would giving credit where it is due be awkward? What I think is awkward is for a lawyer to find himself mired in an indefensible plagiarism scandal. A lawyer, of all professions. In their efforts to make themselves sound credible, look where it has landed them instead. I don't think the opinion of the Senate President is the greatest of their worries. If the country's higher-ups think behavior that is unacceptable in the academia is normal, I find it hard to accept said higher-ups eligible for further positions in office.

After all, as the saying goes - small things lead to big things. A little dishonesty might just be a good gauge of bigger things we commoners cannot see.

NOTE: Sorry for swearing so much. If there's anything I couldn't stand, it's fuckwits who try to defend a point that is unanimously wrong on all levels. OK, there's a lot of things I can't stand, but this one is something many people can't stand, so I guess it evens out. Or something.

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