That’s what S/He said!!

The idea of plagiarism is one that comes up frequently in academia. We are always told that using someone else’s ideas as our own is not good, for ethical reasons, however, under the right circumstances it can be acceptable. In The New Yorker article about Quentin Rowan, we see an instance where it is not acceptable. Over the years, in all the pieces he’s written, he has copied word for word verbatim from multiple sources to compose his books, essays, etc. His excuse was that he wanted to please everyone and make them believe he was a great writer. This facade reasoning is not unique to Rowan, generally when people plagiarize or borrow from others, they want their readers to believe that they are just that good. In The Chronicle article, the Hamilton College president, Eugene Tobin, had been using plagiarized materials in his speeches for nine years. His reason is not noted, but it’s possible he had the same reason as Rowan. These two articles demonstrate how plagiarizing can greatly damage your reputation and aid in losing your career, but what about the people who borrow words and phrases on a daily basis? In everyday conversations, we quote someone else, whether it be with song lyrics, movie lines, or phrases, whose origin is unknown, but should we lose too because of it?

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