Just words: Is it plagiarism, homage, or business as usual when public figures "forget" to footnote?

Margaret Lee mlee303 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Feb 22 09:57:08 UTC 2008

When Hillary Clinton first announced that she was running for the Presidency, she said in her speech, "I'm in it to win it." She repeated these words the other day after the most recent primaries; however, she neglected to acknowledge that this phrase comes from the African American community.

  --Margaret Lee

Salikoko Mufwene <s-mufwene at UCHICAGO.EDU> wrote:
    Hillary Clinton’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, hired Barbara Feinman Todd, who directs the journalism program at Georgetown University in Washington, to ghostwrite her 1996 New York Times best seller, It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us, a book whose on-tape version won a Grammy for Clinton in 1997 and whose title is not her own words but an homage to the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” (Although it was no secret that Feinman Todd ghosted the book, she's not acknowledged in the credits.)

It takes a village to run a campaign, as well, and the modern version of that village includes not just fund raisers, but also speech writers, media advisors, press secretaries, spin doctors, money launderers, and even dirty tricksters. It might include fact checkers, research assistants, and librarians, but even if it does, their job is not to crank out footnotes, because there’s no room for citations in a sound bite.


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--  **********************************************************  Salikoko S. Mufwene                    s-mufwene at uchicago.edu  Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor  University of Chicago                  773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924  Department of Linguistics  1010 East 59th Street  Chicago, IL 60637, USA  http://humanities.uchicago.edu/faculty/mufwene  **********************************************************
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Margaret G. Lee, Ph.D.
Professor of English & Linguistics
Department of English
Hampton University
Hampton, VA 23668
margaret.lee at hamptonu.edu   or   mlee303 at yahoo.com

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