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.

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