Category Archives: plagiarism

October 20, 2013, 11:41 am

Cheaters: And The Cheating Cheat Factories That Help Them Cheat

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Cute, cynical Dave.

Dave Tomar, The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat  (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012), $16.00 paper; $9.99 ebook.

Reading this book solved a small mystery in my teaching career.

Every once in a while, even without Turnitin.com, a paper screams: “plagiarized!!!!” About a decade ago, I received one of those papers. Only partly coherent, grammatically idiosyncratic sentences were sutured to others that flowed beautifully, delivering a punchy argument that the rest of the paragraph had lurched towards in an often obscure way. What I suspected was something called “mosaic plagiarism,” in which the students’ own writing is used as filler in between quotes lifted from books that have no quotation marks around them.  I went to the library to check a couple of the books…

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December 7, 2011, 8:32 am

If I Had College-Age Children, I Would Give Them This Advice for the Final Weeks of School: Don’t Cheat

I imagine this conversation would occur sometime during Thanksgiving, perhaps as we were washing up the endless number of dinner dishes and de-greasing the kitchen.  No, no: let’s put it in a neutral location, as Tenured Radical and the returning college student are having a final cup of coffee at the airport while waiting out a flight delay.  This is how it would go:

Spawn of the Radical: Esteemed Parental Unit, you have taught at a selective liberal arts college for two decades. What advice do you give for the hellish, final weeks of school?

Tenured Radical: I am so glad you asked, Spawn.  (Ruminates briefly.) OK, here goes.  First piece of advice? Don’t plagiarize, buy a paper off the internet, pay someone else to write for you, or retype an ancient term paper secreted away in the files of your Greek organization.  I will be far more sympathetic if you simply fail the class…

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August 31, 2009, 6:16 pm

Plagiarist Barbie?

Readers of this blog will recall that the release of the Johnny Depp flick Public Enemies brought up bad memories of having had my book mined for research and argument by another author, repackaged and sold as a work of mass-market nonfiction, and then sold again as a film. Injury turned to insult when a person associated with the Depp film called me for some free consulting about Depression-era costume design. Shortly after I wrote the post about getting bushwhacked, I received a phone call from an old college friend, M.G. Lord who had just had the strange experience of seeing passages of a book she had written pop up in a book she had been sent for review.

Lord is a journalist, essayist, critic and the author of several books, one of which — Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll — joined the lively canon of Barbie Studies in 1995. Her account of the life and…

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