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

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Feb 22 14:51:28 UTC 2008

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:31 AM, Dave Wilton <dave at wilton.net> wrote:
> No one accused Walter Mondale of plagiarism when he said, "where's the
> beef?" in 1984. (Inept use of a popular cliché, perhaps, but not plagiarism.
> While the phrase was originally from a Wendy's commercial, it had become a
> popular catchphrase by the time Mondale cribbed it.) But eight years later
> Joe Biden was knocked out of the race for failing to acknowledge Churchill
> as a source of some of his words.

I believe it was four years later, and it was Labour Party leader Neil
Kinnock that Biden was borrowing from.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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