Faux Pas ou Faux Snobisme

All over the Loony Side Of Left news (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) is The Horror, the Sheer Stark Outrage, that Melania Trump has plagiarized Michele Obama!!! Quelle Horreur!…

But I watched her whole speech live, and on replay, twice. Frankly, it was very Donald Specific throughout most of it. Donald did this. His family (by name) did that. “I love my husband” and “My husband will do”{this and that great thing}. as more or less quote / paraphrases.

Yet the Loony Side Of Left news can’t let go of the Talking Point Du Jour of “Plagiarize Plagiarize Plagiarism!!!”

Look, dear Biased Clueless and Classless Main Slime Media: It is not possible to speak without repeating a thousand times a day phrases from the past. Worse, there are only so many ways to say “I love my husband” or “I love life” or even “I love my husband, my family, my city, my state and my country!” without doing it exactly the same way 10,000 or 10 Million people have said it before. Certain structures and orders of process are obvious and recurring.

Like a jazz riff, we may have heard it once, a decade back, and it floats to the surface when the emotion rises again and flows out the fingers to the keyboard. Or, like that “order of precidence” riff on “I love” above, it is just an obvious and in some ways trite ranking from closest to furthest.

I’ve had a dozen and one times in my life I’ve invented a Brand New Outrageously Original Thing with my Brand New Never Been Thought Before Idea… only to discover on some searching that it was found by someone else a couple of years before me. Just look at the telephone and Bell / Gray.

The Fuss?

Out of a very long speech, I’d guess about 15 to 20 minutes (but I was distracted… ;-) so might have a wrong time sense) this is the “issue”:

“And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.

“And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and to pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

And here’s the passage from Trump’s remarks Monday night that came under scrutiny:

“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.

They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

How many ways can you say “Based on values with which I was raised: Work hard, your word is your bond, Do what you say you will do and keep your promises, treat everyone fairly and with dignity, and even if you don’t agree with them, respect them. We set out to live our lives together, and raised our children as we were raised, with morality and values. What I learned was that, in America, you can go as far as your ambition and work ethic will take you. Just apply yourself and work hard for your dreams.”

Frankly, I’ve said something much like that a dozen times. I was told it by my Mother and Father. It is part of the American fabric of life. My “paraphrase” was written ‘stream of consciousness’ without having read either statement, but with a glance at both to see if I was tracking the topics more ore less in sync. Is that plagiarism? If I say “What a GAME! The Sharks are IN THE STANLEY CUP FINALS!!!” as did a few dozen announcers, is that a faux pas (false step – social gaff) or a faux snobisme (fake snobism) when someone accuses me of copying an announcer I never heard? I’m quite certain I texted it to my son. I’m also certain that a thousand other people said it, texted it, and wrote it. Some of them “on air”.

It is part of the fundamental story of The American Dream. “We started from nothing. Based on our values and hard work, we achieved. I’ve passed this on to my children. America is a great land of freedom and opportunity and I’m thankful for it! Work and ethics will get you there, and that is what I’ve told my children”.

It is a time sequence and values based series, and can only be told in a time based and ethics connected way. That isn’t plagiarism, it is shared values and history.

The Spin from the Left makes me want to vomit.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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22 Responses to Faux Pas ou Faux Snobisme

  1. Jack says:

    The left media has to do anything it can to destroy Trump in this case. No matter how puerile their comment, they have to deflect from main issues to hide any positive message so they minimize Trump or other non left people.
    It is part of the ALinsky tactic to ridicule.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    Plagiarism was never intended to apply to that sort of trivial repetition of common phrases and concepts. It is properly applied to someone who lifts an entire complex thought or several paragraphs or an entire music score, but not little snips of ideas.

    At what point do common phrases pass into the open domain and the common vernacular and are no longer protected intellectual property? The only reason this is an issue is due to the easy ability to search the internet record and instant recall of the recent past.

    If someone did a deep search of the congressional record of speeches I would bet those same phrases appear every year or two in someone’s floor speeches. Same with a deep search of major newspaper editorials etc.

    Are you a plagiarist if you say “Good Morning what a beautiful day!”, or “This country is a constitutional Republic” or “It’s been a long day” or “This day will live in infamy” ?

    No all those phrases are in common use and public domain, you no longer need to cite the first use of them in public. I suspect a deep search of sources would find that “This day will live in infamy” was used by someone other than FDR on Dec 8 1941 at an earlier date. The very language we use by its very nature, like the rules of music construction create a very large but still finite number of ways to sensibly express some ideas.

    This is a tempest in a tea pot (Oh crap I just plagiarized a few million people).

  3. Larry Ledwick says:

    Ahhh found it:


    “My word is my bond” (“Word is bond”); Dictum Meum Pactum

    “My word is my bond” (Dictum Meum Pactum in Latin) became the motto of the London Stock Exchange in 1923 and the Security Traders Association in 1934. “My word is my bond” is an old saying that has been cited in print since at least 1748.

    Also modern usage is very common:
    title of a survior episode May 13 2015

    That is just a 5 minute search on google.

  4. John F. Hultquist says:

    I quit listening to politicians and their offspring (appreciate the ones that keep quiet) long ago, but do note the subject headings on the internet news sites.

    My guess is that these folks have lazy speech writers. Maybe one should write one’s own speeches and agree to changes only after sustained argument.
    Read The Elements of Style: omit needless words, don’t use cliches, and so on.

  5. wyoskeptic says:

    Just do a search for the term “Yellow Journalism.”
    When there is an absence of legit news (and in this day and age of 24/7 reporting, there is more absence than there is substance to fill all those hours) something has to be used as filler material. Since there also happens to be a substantial lack of anything scandalous to report on, the feeble minds are forced to find something … anything that they can report with 48 point headlines (or the equivalent in vid). Otherwise they might have to — shock, stun, mortification — start telling the truth about Hillary, et. al.
    I doubt any of those who put out the scandal sheets back in the 1800’s would find anything surprising at all with current day “reporters” or what they write.

  6. BobN says:

    If it was easy to have original ideas and express them as such maybe we would not have movies that were all alike.

  7. omanuel says:

    We have lived in a web of deceit for the past seventy years (1946-2016). General members of society seem to be finally awakening to that unpleasant reality.

    George Orwell realized what was happening in 1946 and moved from London to the Scottish Isle of Jura to start writing his warning of the tyrannical government society would awaken to in “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

    We continued to live in the matrix of deceit until Climategate emails in late Nov 2009 forced us to admit that government by the public had been replaced by the falseness of government-funded “consensus science.”

    May we now find a way to restore integrity in government science and constitutional limits on government without a violent revolution!

  8. richard ilfeld says:

    Frau Obama borrowed the riff possibly from Lizzy Dole, supporting her husband. Not original with her, I’m sure. Check any book of standard protestant sermons.

  9. richard ilfeld says:

    Is anyone surprised that Joe (Kinnick) Biden didn’t join the piling on…?

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    That’s funny.

  11. philjourdan says:

    The irony is that it fits with Melania Trump. The portion that is alleged to be plagiarized does not fit Michelle. She hated this country until 8 years ago. And she will hate it again.

  12. philjourdan says:

    @richard ilfeld says:
    20 July 2016 at 4:37 am

    Just goes to prove that plagiarists can go anywhere! Even to the whitehouse.

  13. cdquarles says:

    Heh. I had this come up in family conversation. Plagiarism this isn’t. Has this idea not been said, in a 1000 or mire slight variations since the USA was founded? Heck, I bet the idea is older than that.

    @ Phil, yep, in that family discussion that this idea fit Melania Trump better than Mooche, .., er, Michelle Robinson O was also mentioned.

    Speaking of Joe “Stand Up Chuck” Biden, wasn’t what he did with the Kinnock speech much more than a, now cliché, statement? Didn’t he use far more than fair usage would have allowed?

    I’ve found it impossible to stomach these things now. I’ll watch clips and/or read the transcripts if I need to. Slick Willie at first, then George W later, took away any motivation. That the current crop, from No-care O and co has not helped.

  14. Crashex says:

    This is simply a distraction. Everyone discusses an alleged problem instead of thinking about the substance of what was said, the prevailing themes of the convention and the other speakers. Ignore the credible assaults on Hillary’s ethics and track record. Don’t discuss the multiple felonious actions by Hillary that have been identified, and pass over the obviously biased scale for penalty, consequence or justice. The news cycle will move on quickly, throw this distraction on the air to impart a negative feel to the event and look for a new target for tomorrow. It gives us something to talk about that avoids the substantial points being made on the stage. This is a perfect talking point for the Hillary camp, i.e. MSM. An unsavory claim of an ethical lapse in an inconsequential speech by a secondary player.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    The speech writer has copped to Melania reading some of Michele’s speech as something she admired, then “incorporating the notes” as paraphrase in writing the speech. I still don’t see it as plagarism. If I admire Lincolns “4 score…” speech and write “Many years ago, when my family arrived in this country…” that is inspiration from the source, not a copy.

    On the various Left outlets, all they can do is complain and spin. Everything about each day is “a disaster” and “comming apart”. Yet watching it on CSPAN, it is just the typical convention. Some speeches great, some so-so. Lot of noise and milling around. Apparently someone thought it full of “divisiveness” and hate speech (likely the shouts of “Lock Her Up” about Hillary’s crimes) and some college is now offering “safe zones” so those children who never grew up and can’t handle rejection can have a good cry with fellow traveler babies “traumatized” by the Republican convention news…

    My favorite was the complaint that the Republicans had ‘lost control’ and had chaos because people were allowed to have different positions. Really. They just can’t grasp that Trump is OK with desagreement and wants folks to express themselves. They only accept 100% “concensus” and ‘yes men’. Trump wants you to be you, and wants a VP who can do the job and argue for and support alternatives. He wants Cruz to be Cruz, come what may; then you can deal with it and fix the underlaying.

  16. Gail Combs says:

    Sean Hannity Interview with Ivanka Trump (Trump’s older daughter) makes it clear Trump does not want ‘Yes Men’ and taught his children to think and have their own opinions. Also NO ONE could have taken borrowed money and ended up a multibillionaire if he did not listen to the ideas of others and have the ability to spot raw talent in blue collar workers and grow it.*** (Donald Jr speech — he turned his kids over to people with PhD’s in Common Sense and they are all as comfortable driving a D10 Catapillar as they are a car.)

    Here is the Ivanka Trump vid:

    *** It used to be raw talent was hired and grown in house by major corporations and people remained loyal employees for 30 years or more. Then in the 1980s the idea that people are interchangable cogs aka ‘human resources’ caught on and HR started looking for exact fits to be used and then tossed instead of the ability to do the job.

  17. cdquarles says:

    Gail, if I am not mistaken, the idea of interchangeable human cogs is far older than the 1980s. Maybe the leftist dominated social science types took over management of hiring and implemented their demented idea. 50/60 years of the long march would have put the hippie type boomers into managerial positions by the mid/late 80s.

  18. Gail Combs says:

    I think my fathers generation was the last to have long term jobs at one company and I am now retired. I used the mid 80s because I KNOW things had changed by then. In 1979 I was placed by a headhunter at a fortune 500 company and we both expected me to stay there for the rest of my career. Now that company is long gone, torn apart by corporate raiders since it had NO DEBT and was a juicy target.

  19. philjourdan says:

    I got a job at a top retailer in 78. I always wondered what I would do after 30 years and being in my early 50s. But 12 years later, and after an LBO, the company tanked (but I saw that coming as the service on the debt was more than the profits of the company – even pre-tax).

    Since then I have not been able to hold a job. Average tenure – 6 years. ;-) But that is only through choice mostly (I was laid off a second time, but again saw that coming, so was actually offered a new job the day my boss told me the “bad” news).

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    After implementing a layoff at Apple, where I’d been for 7 1/2 years and expected to stay “forever”, I then chose to leave (as I’d shutdown my own group and disassembled our shop and they no longer needed me). My next gig was 2 years and another layoff / downsizing where I laid myself off in the process. After that, I decided that since I was thought of as disposable, and they paid better to dispose of people than to stay loyal, I’d just do contract work. Almost all my ‘gigs’ since have been as a disposable contractor… Work is sporadic by the pay makes up for it…

    I have no idea how many companies I have worked for. I might be able to work it out to the precision of 10s, not ones. Some contracts were only a week. Some were as a ‘sub’ to another company (so I don’t have records). Some, like Disney, have been ‘repeats’ – so I’ve worked there something like 4? years but in pieces. 2 years, 1/2 year, 1.5 year IIRC… but off in the months column…

    Essentially, in about 1990 I gave up entirely on the idea of “stable employment”. Looking over my resume, almost all of my prior employers no longer exist OR the departments in them no longer exist. Apple: Supercomputer / modeling gone. Disney: Data Center outsourced, DR work (and much of Team Disney I.T.) outsourced. Amdahl: Gone – absorbed by a Japanese company I think. General Magic: Gone. Tut Systems: Drastically downsized then, I think, gone. Freegate: Merged into Tut Systems prior to The Great Shrink… yes, a rollup gone bad. The little boutique programming shop I started at? Gone. Etc etc. Some do still exist. National Semiconductor, and a VAR (Value Added Reseller) that had my name backwards on the financials so can’t find my records. (Had to get an I.R.S. transcript to show Disney I really did work there as they were too daft to look up my records by SSN at the VAR… or just invert middle and first names and try again…)

    It is interesting that to “check my employment history” is becoming impossible. Disney was via contract to other companies. Much of the rest is gone ( I can reference my own company but who will believe that?) Apple still exists, so that’s a nice chunk. But rapidly too old to be of interest to employers. Anything over a decade back is uninteresting and anything over 20 years doesn’t even exist in their minds.

    Oh Well, as they say… Maybe I can get an “entry level position” ;-)

  21. philjourdan says:

    @E.M. – Also anything over 20 years is irrelevant in the field. 10 years is a good history, after that, one line per job is sufficient.

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    It also varies by industry. When I took my machinist apprenticeship training, in the 1970’s at Gates Rubber Company, there were still guys in the shop that had started working there during WWII.
    They were the last of the lifetime at one job generation. As NC control took over and machining centers took over production, one off hand machinist work largely disappeared except in a few small specialties like maintenance. Fixing something old that was broken or re-manufacturing it with new parts. Which is what we did with some late 1800’s technology in the barbwire industry in the late 1970s. Took barbwire machines that were originally manufactured around the time of WWI and rebuilt them with new standard bearings and parts. They were still more reliable than the machines built in the 1950’s. Slower but less down time produced more wire in the long run.

    I got out of the machinist trade for that very reason, I did not want to spend my life hopping from one small job shop to another. Went back into IT after 14 years in State Govt. and it was just transitioning into the fast paced rent a body style of employment, which matched what was happening on the hardware side. The days of working on the same mainframe for years were shifting to a constant upgrade and replace culture for both hardware and manpower skills. The guys who were long term employees had tenure of 8 years or so not 25-30.

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