Monday, December 26, 2011

A Dill's Gem: Made Of Paste

JUST in case you missed it, A Dill Horin confirms the trope that, while the right regards the left as misguided, the left sees only wickedness in those who dare to disagree.
I was surprised because, let's face it, as regular readers of my column might suspect, I hang out with people the forces of evil would describe as ''politically correct''.
The forces of evil? It is not a pleasant to hear oneself described in such terms, to be told point-blank that one's opinions are the result not of faulty analysis or even misguided preconception, but of  blind hatred, bigotry and industrial-strength intolerance -- all traits, just by the way, that Horin demonstrates with her every column.

Would it be evil to suggest that Horin owes her Silly sinecure not to merit or the originality of her ideas but to being part of the push -- "the mates I hang out with" -- who are happy to sling her cheques for never, ever calling their shared view of the world into question, especially her friends in the caring-industrial complex? These are thoughts she often takes down to reproduce verbatim, often with only a slight nod to their origins. There is one example of A Dill's enlightened poaching of other's words which went to press last year -- so long ago the Professor would normally be inclined to let it go without comment. But as Horin is tossing about the word "evil", let us in response think of a term to describe someone who appropriates another's work. "Light fingered" comes very readily to mind.

The article in question detailed Horin's admiration for Wayne Swan ("a better treasurer than Paul Keating") and hailed the economic stewardship of the then-Rudd government. To make her point, she referenced in passing an article in The Atlantic by Don Peck, who described the longer-term impacts on US families and individuals of recession and diminished opportunities. Consider the similarities:

PECK: One recent survey showed that 44 percent of families had experienced a job loss, a reduction in hours, or a pay cut in the past year.
A DILL: A survey found 44 per cent of American families had experienced a job loss, or a cut in hours or pay in the past year.

PECK: ...unemployment and underemployment ... reached 17.4 percent in October, which appears to be the highest figure since the 1930s.
A DILL: The proportion of Americans unemployed or under-employed hit 17.4 per cent last year, the highest since 1930

PECK: One recent survey showed that 44 percent of families had experienced a job loss, a reduction in hours, or a pay cut in the past year.
A DILL: A survey found 44 per cent of American families had experienced a job loss, or a cut in hours or pay in the past year.

PECK: The unluckiest graduates of the decade, who emerged into the teeth of the 1981–82 recession, made roughly 25 percent less in their first year than graduates who stepped into boom times.
A DILL: ... graduates who began to look for work in the US during the teeth of the 1981-82 recession made 25 per cent less in their first year than those who graduated in boom times.

PECK: ... it’s as if the lucky graduates had been given a gift of about $100,000 … or, alternatively, as if the unlucky ones had been saddled with a debt of the same size.
A DILL: Even 17 years later, they were still earning 10 per cent less on average than the luckier graduates, the equivalent of carrying a $100,000 debt

PECK: Experienced workers holding prestigious degrees are taking unpaid internships
A DILL: Experienced workers with prestigious degrees are taking unpaid internships

PECK: According to a recent Pew survey, 10 percent of adults younger than 35 have moved back in with their parents as a result of the recession
A DILL: 10 per cent of people under 35 have moved back in with their parents, according to a Pew survey.

Is it plagiarism? Almost, but not quite.

But it is certainly slack if one considers – and it is a dubious proposition to be sure – that a weekly pulpit on the opinion page of a premier broadsheet is a privilege. Some might think such a gift worth honouring with at least a little dash of originality -- but not, apparently, those in the Silly sheltered workshop who weave their baskets with other people's reeds.

8 comments:

  1. “Is it plagiarism? Almost, but not quite.”

    Is it copied verbatim? Almost, but not quite.
    Is it plagiarism—the taking of another’s work or ideas and passing them off as her own? Definitely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Correct Deadman. That's plagiarism.
    End of story.

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  3. A plasterer's labourerDecember 26, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    A DILL: ... graduates who began to look for work in the US 'during the teeth' of the 1981-82 recession
    During the teeth?
    Soungs more like Julia 'I feel a sense of high dungeon about this Taliband hyperbowl'Gillard is her writing coach.

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  4. She can't even rework a sentence without mangling it!
    "...into the teeth of the 1981-82 recession..." packs a lot more punch than her nonsensical "...during the teeth of the 1981-82 recession..."
    What the hell did she mean?

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  5. Maybe it's not considered plagiarism at Silly/Phage while they give away their newspapers for free?

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  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 26, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Clear plagiarism. University professors of the wrong political complexion have gone down for less.

    Could it be that the same irreproachable standards don't apply to 'quality' journalism?

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  7. Quite so. And this is the content that Greg Hywood has convinced himself people will pay to read. We just have to get the platform right.

    The self-delusion is staggering. There is nothing intelligent, original, engaging, insightful or valuable in the writings of people like Adele Horin. People are not going to pay to read it.

    There is this conceit at Fairfax that because a person is a staff columnist, what they write is of value. It is pure bootstraps. There is nothing of distinction in Adele Horin's articles. A million Sydneysiders could write as engagingly. Hywood has to realise that part of revitalising Fairfax is to get away from that bootstraps mindset. A good starting point would be to cast a critical eye over the columnists whose narrative is: conservatives are bogans at best and morally evil at worst.

    Mr Hywood, while ever your columnists spout that sort of facile conformist tripe, you will offend and alienate at least half the population, and probably rather more than half.

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  8. Bunyip,

    Might I just say this in the dill's favour?

    Alan Shamsey would regularly compose a sentence max in his weekly 'columns', which were usually massive slabs of some other sucker's words/work.

    He got away with this for at least a decade before being pensioned off, if I'm not incorrect.

    If envirofax are good at anything, it's 'employing' idiots who know how to abuse the system.

    Bring on the long overdue liquidation!

    ReplyDelete