The Folly of Online Plagiarizing
In this age of the cybernetic internet, where we can even find a link to Borges's infinite "Library of Babel," temptation becomes ever more alluring to "plagiarize," which I define as follows:
verb, transitive: 1. To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own. 2. To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another).These are my own definitions. Honest.
verb, intransitive: To put forth as original to oneself the ideas or words of another.
Just kidding. I've borrowed them from The Free Dictionary. But just in case I were trying to hide what I had borrowed, not citing my source, you'd need only copy a clause from 'my' definition --- say "To appropriate for use as one's own passages" -- and Google it. Instantly, up comes the online source . . . all 768 of them.
Obviously, I didn't use 768 sources, and you wouldn't know that I used specifically the online Free Dictionary, but one need not know specifically which source I used. Just knowing that I used an online source suffices for catching me in the act. Or after the fact, but just as caught.
My internet-savvy students (Korea being the world's most 'connected' nation) seem oblivious to the obvious: catching plagiarism is just as easy as plagiarizing.
Actually, it's easier.
Why? The plagiarist had to go to the trouble of locating a source relevant to some chosen theme and read it enough to see if it fits (though it almost never quite does fit since fitting it would require more work). I need not think about any of that but simply go to Google and type five, six, seven, or eight words in a sequence into the appropriate box, and Google finds what I'm looking for -- as we've just seen.
I bring this up because I've just finished grading 14 essays, 3 of which were egregiously plagiarized, especially the last one that I marked yesterday evening, which had multiple sources all woven together with hardly a word added by the student, aside from the occasional "and" or "the," which reminds me of Mary McCarthy's remark about Lillian Hellman:
"Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'"
So listen well, students: if you plagiarize, you'll face a McCarthization from me like hell, man.