Revenge of the quote (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Thu Aug 16 14:30:24 UTC 2012

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
Behalf Of
> Joel S. Berson
> Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 10:07 PM
> Subject: Re: Revenge of the quote (UNCLASSIFIED)
> >
> >Zakaria did do some bad things with respect to his blog post that
> >stuff from Time Magazine, and has owned up to that -- no question.
> And, apparently, bad things in copying stuff from Jill Lepore into
> his book.  Or is there a refutation of that charge?

I should have (and meant to have) said "book and blog".

> >
> >And I'd respectfully disagree with Joel's statement:
> > > Something put in quotes should always be cited to its
> > > source.
> >
> >Obviously, there are many nonfiction books in political science and
> >recent history to which this generalization doesn't apply.  Bob
> >Woodward's "The Brethren", and Gene Kranz's "Failure is not an
> >are two that I've read that I was able to confirm do not have end- or
> >footnotes.  The current NYTimes best seller "The Amateur" by Edward
> >Klein (about Barack Obama in the White House) doesn't seem to have
> >or footnotes (although it does have a bibliography and list of
> >interviews).  Neither does Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman's "The
> >of Depression Economics".
> >
> >If the author decides to write a book without specific notes and
> >citations, that doesn't make the author wrong (but it certainly may
> >affect the perception of the book).
> My difference with Bill is, I think, that I consider the absence of
> citation of quotations somewhere between D and F on the scale of
> scholarliness and ethicalness.  [I assume Bill can demonstrate that
> Woodward, Kranz, and Klein actually do put some statements in
> quotes.  Or do I need to check the primary sources for that?  :-) ]

I guess Joel and I are talking apples and oranges.  I would a agree that
a book, to be considered "scholarly", must meet the accepted standards
of scholarship which includes full credit and citation of all quotes.
What I'm trying to point out is that some books intentionally don't fall
into that category, yet are still valid and useful discussions of their
subject.  Whether or not a book falls into one category or the other is
the decision of the author (and probably jointly with his publisher).
But once the decision is made, it is not fair to criticize the author of
a narrative, unsourced book by the standards of scholarship.

And to tie this all back to the original issue, Zakaria did write his
book by scholarly standards, but when wrongly criticized, he made a
defense of works that are not written to scholarly standards, confusing
the issue.  One would have thought he would have said, "Hey, Fahri's
wrong on this." And left it at that.

Plagiarism is certainly unethical, but I don't see any ethics issues
associated with not citing quotes when it's clear that it is a quote
(assuming that the quoting work is one of a class in which quotes aren't
footnoted, like narrative books, newspaper and magazine articles,
editorcolumns in periodicals, etc., which are the types of works that
Zakaria was defending.)

[And yes, I did check as far as I could through Amazon and Google Books
that the works I mentioned do have direct quotes in them.  I've been
bitten by Muphry's law in the past, and would like to not have it happen

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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