Thursday, August 30, 2012

Plagiarism Sh*t

Let me make this clear. This is not a blog about the RH Bill. There are enough know-it-alls and self-righteous people talking about that particular topic without me joining into the foray. Instead, this entry aims to tackle a certain issue that is  close to the heart of just about anyone who has been to college or high school.

Let's talk about plagiarism.

Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work,[1][2] but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries.[3][4][5][6] The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as anideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement, while in the previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged to "copy the masters as closely as possible" and avoid "unnecessary invention."[7][8][9][10][11][12]

THAT, my friends, is plagiarism. And I'm not talking about the definition I just wrote down either. In copying part of a Wikipedia entry verbatim and not even bothering to cite it (or even removing the links and in-text citation for Christ's sake), I have willfully committed plagiarism. Pretty much, this was what Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III did when he presented his "turno en contra" speech against the RH bill a few weeks ago and what sparked an ongoing public outcry to do everything to Sotto from having him resign to taking him to court. So, what's the big deal?

I can't speak for the other millions of Filipinos stomping their hooves and snorting their noses, but I at least know the reason why I am angry. It's not because I am pro-RH bill and want to discredit one of the biggest threats to the bill. It's not because I consider plagiarism to be a condemnable act and am shocked that the senate seems to take the matter too lightly. It's certainly not because I have never committed plagiarism in my entire life of writing.

Simply put, It is because I hate shameless people. No, wait, that doesn't have as much impact as I want it to have.

Translate: Ayaw ko sa mga taong makapal ang mukha.

In my opinion, Sotto could have avoided a lot of grief these past few weeks if he had just come out and apologized outright--and personally-- the first moment that Pope called him out on his plagiarism. Sure, that doesn't make anything right, but it would have at least shown that he recognized his mistake and acknowledged that yes, he's just as proficient at writing speeches as the average high schooler and yes, he was caught red-handed (scratch head sheepishly). Instead, he hides under the desk and has his staff take the blame and Attorney Villacorta start a battle for him, furiously scrubbing his hands clean of any wrongdoing in the situation. This is why even weeks after his speech, the media is still needlessly talking about plagiarism and bloggers, leaving the real issue of the RH bill buried under the confusion.

I am sure I am not the only who palmed my face in shame for the shameless display.

Here are a few more things about the topic.

*Plagiarism is common practice in the Senate and is not a criminal act.

 -Fine, whatever. Just have the decency to apologize to the real author when he/she calls you out. Don't start a war against bloggers and make the people ashamed to have put you in Senate. Also, way to set an example to the students nationwide. I can already imagine myself saying "Eh kung si Sotto nga ma'am..."

*The plagiarism is a ploy by Sotto's detractors in order to discredit him and strengthen the pro-RH stand.

-You know what, out of the millions of people in the Philippines, this might very well be true. Still, this is a real issue which should be dealt with nevertheless. Maawa ka na, nakakahiya ka.

*Sotto is a victim of cyber bullying.

-Oh, yes. Bullying. Because everyone is THAT immature.

*A blogging bill should be made.

-Oh boy...

I am ending this with the reminder that I have written this with not an ounce of pro-RH intentions. I am just sick and tired of hearing Sotto in the news every other day just because he doesn't want to say sorry. It's true that the people are making mountains out of mole hills, but I think it can be safely said that a big part of the fault lies in Sotto.

Right now, I'm supposed to be getting some exercise, but got stuck in this chair writing about plagiarism of all things. Dying of a heart attack because someone copied someone else's work without permission just isn't the way to go.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

If there's one thing I could say, it's that the British certainly know how to put on a good show.

I swear I know that guy--third person waving from the left.
This post comes many days after the London 2012 Olympics Opening ceremony and yet I still feel all giddy and excited from having watched even just the replay of it. Even now, "And I Will Kiss" is still on repeat in my phone's playlist, a song that accompanied what had to be one of the most impressive and dynamic Olympics opening scenes ever to have been conceptualized. 

It's weird coming from me, because I rarely have high regard for anything that can be considered as "hype", and yet here I am devoting an entire blog post just to say how awesome I think the ceremony was.So have I taken the effort to start this, then so shall I finish.

The opening was a special kind of history lesson that showcased everything from the British industrial revolution to children's literature, to the evolution of British music and culture, and even a bit of  James Bond action with Queen Elizabeth herself.

Whoever made these chimneys is permanently on the naughty list.
Above all else, though,  my most favorite scene would be the transformation of the stage from lush green pastures of the stage to loud and chaotic industrial structures as Isambard Kingdom Brunel heralded the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.  This portion of the show was named Pandemonium, and to anyone who watched, it would be pretty obvious why.  One moment everything was peaceful and calm, then a blink and a thousand drumbeats later, the stage is thrown into controlled chaos.

As the people rolled up the grass and tore off all the natural aspects of the stage, you could see how Britain developed through the years, growing wealthier and more productive but at the cost of disfiguring the beautiful rural areas of the past. All the while, important historical figures and groups that have contributed to British history march, only stopping for a brief while as the entire stadium paused to honor the sacrifices made in both World Wars. 

Now that's how you open up the Olympic Games.
The real star of this part of the show, though, is a ring--well, five of them, actually. Pandemonium came to a climax as the stage was set up and actors worked together in order to forge a single ring. You could almost feel the heat and smell the smoke as the forged ring rises to the top of the stadium, ultimately meeting up with four others to form the familiar symbol of the Olympic rings. Just seeing them bursting into sparks and fireworks as they are melded together must have given someone somewhere seizures I'm sure of it. All in all a very goosebump-inducing sight which I would have paid to see live.

The second best part of the entire ceremony for me was the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. It's yet another reinforcement of the "Coming Together as One" idea that they seemed to be advocating as 7 different athletes each lit up a single petal of the cauldron. Actually, it wasn't so much a cauldron as a collection of 204 different torches/petals that rise up and come together as one gigantic flame. I read somewhere that the designer of the cauldron was not supposed to use moving parts for it, and believe me I'm glad he broke that rule.  
The London 2012 Pyrolympics has a better "ring"to it. LOL Pun-demonium!

With all the sparks, the flames, and the fireworks, though, I'm completely convinced that the games should have been named the London 2012 Pyrolympics instead. Always next time, though.

All in all, the 2012 Olympics Opening ceremony was a very good watch. I'd go so far as to say that it was loads more fun than the one held in Beijing four years prior, but perhaps that's just personal bias coming in to the mix. i certainly haven't covered everything about this and if you have the time, I recommend that you watch a video or a replay of it. Sure it's four hours, but it would be four hours well spent in my opinion.  You can check out this blog as the best quality full version video of the event is embedded on this page

Also, here is the song to Pandemonium. Turn your headphones up and enjoy the brilliant drumwork!