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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Feb 22 15:28:03 UTC 2008

It takes originality to run a municipality.

  It takes existentialism to endure presidentialism.

  It takes a magician to coach a politician.

  It takes a speechwriter to help you preach tighter.

  It takes an image consultant to make the crowd exultant.

  It takes democracy to remove kakocracy.

  It takes analysis to impart paralysis.

  Use ad lib.  More on request.


Margaret Lee <mlee303 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Margaret Lee
Subject: Re: Just words: Is it plagiarism, homage, or
business as usual when public figures "forget" to footnote?

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

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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