Imagine Our Gal Tara's utter surprise Monday when she opened up the blog of one of her alleged "cyber friends." She saw The Plagiarist's Post, adorned with the same title, uttering the same poignant words that she herself had penned more than one year ago.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Burn Her At the Stake!
Someone in the Blogosphere finally perturbed & outraged Mrs. Scribe enough for her to utter an epithet.
The time? Late afternoon, Monday. The place? The kitchen. The reason?
The Plagiarist lifted an entire poignant post from Our Gal Tara R., representing it as her own. No credit to Tara. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.
Tara's original post rings true. She comes out right up front and spills about that ugly, gnawing feeling we've all had as parents: Guilt. The Original, entitled "Mom Guilt Never Ends," reaches right down inside us and pulls our guts inside out. The piece begins in with a down-to-earth declaration that cannot be denied:
"When I signed on for this mom gig I was unprepared for the amount of guilt that it involved." Simple. Declarative. So very true. Tara R. wrote that. On September 25, 2007. On her blog, If Mom Says OK.
Imagine Mrs. Scribe's chagrin that a grownup doesn't know that copying without credit is cheating. We all learned this lesson in elementary school. Well, most of us, anyway.
The rules are quite clear at Our Humble High School. Lifting prose from another person is a crime, plain & simple. The Modern Language Association (MLA), whose style manual most Veteran Scribes rely upon, lays down the law in black & white.
"Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work," the MLA says, "you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit."
See how we inserted Credit where Credit is Due? Not that difficult. But a perusal of The Plagiarist's site shows she is shallow, with ideas about knee-deep to a grasshopper. And that's being kind to the grasshopper!
After seeing The Plagiarist's Post, Tara went from baffled to just plain pissed. "A co-worker told me that maybe I should see this as flattering," she said in an e-mail to Mrs. Scribe. "I tried to explain to him that for a writer, and especially a journalist, stealing someone's words was never flattering...If she had given me attribution I probably would have left her a nice comment, thanking her for the recognition."
For those of you Bloggers out there who don't know it, your work is protected under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Blogger, where The Plagiarist makes her home, details our right to protect ourselves from such smarmy ilk as she. Click Here for more info. Tara turned us on to this Blogger service, BTW. See? Credit where Credit is Due. It's not brain surgery, people!
Tara also informed the Blogosphere in a recent post that she had "prepared my written, formal complaint to Google/ Blogger regarding what I believe to be the blatant theft of my property, my words, my memories."
The Plagiarist needs to Pay. She should be burned at the metaphorical stake, we say. Tara, however, has a much more level head.
"I'm very glad I decided to pursue my complaint," Tara says. "She is either a complete idiot or incredibly shameless."
Editor's Note: The artist's rendering that accompanies this post is called "Witch Hunt," by MedeAthena.