Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reflection of ch. 2 and Gladwell article

I found Gladwell's article very interesting because something similar, on a much smaller scale, happened to me. When I was a Junior in high school I thought the yearbooks were boring and so I had the idea to have everyone that wrote in my yearbook sign the cover somewhere, which gave it a cool, unique look. The next year when the new yearbook came out they had collected everyones signature throughout the year and filled the entire front and back cover with the schools signature. I know where the women in the article is coming from, there is this strange feeling that you have been robbed or deprived of something. In some ways however it can be flattering that they thought the idea was good enough to actually use the next year so why does it matter who gets the credit. I know where the idea came from and I was not upset enough to go talk to the yearbook staff. Even if I did complain and make a big deal out of it the yearbooks had already been printed and distributed, no person at the school would really care that much. Also an interesting question is, would I be able to charge them with plagiarism? If I did, which I would not, what would it achieve except cause controversy, embarrassment and little personal gain, if any.
It was interesting to me to see the variety of different views the people interviewed in chapter 2 had. Some of them believed that plagiarism wasn't that bad if they accidently wrote their sources incorrectly or if they just took an idea from something they read but no actual words. The thing that most people agreed on however was that if the person that plagiarized did it on purpose with the intent to pass someone else's work as their own on purpose it is different and wrongful. That is probably among the many reasons why it is so hard for punishments to be chosen for the accused. They should be forced to write essays until they get it right instead of being expelled or something ridiculous.
The other thing that I have been thinking about lately is that since their are so many different people in the world how can any ideas be original, someone has had to have thought about it before or written it down somewhere. Also the way we make our own ideas and the way we write is by the way were have been taught how to do it in the past, technically plagiarizing everyone we have ever talked to or learned from. Is it safe to write anything, is one persons pride valuable enough to ruin another person's life? To what extent do we take it?


  1. ideas do get recycled, no one's really original, things..ideas are always there, people just express them in new ways. sucks that that happened to you, but atleast youll always know[and perhaps your friends too] that the signiture idea was yours. and yeah getting expelled for plagiarism is too rough, an F on an assignment seems fine.

  2. Thanks for writing about your experience -- I think that's an interesting example. As you said, it's flattering that the people on the yearbook staff thought your idea was cool, but if just one person had come up to you and said "hey, we really liked that idea and we're planning to imitate it on this year's yearbook," it would have made a great deal of difference in how you felt about it.