Good gracious. First, a Harvard University freshman fucked up a two-book deal worth a cool half-mil. (For those living under a rock, Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarized a nice chunk of her YA novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life--just your basic tween saga on ditching a super-scheduled, uptight over-achiever persona for some juicy high school dramarama.) And now it looks as though a few pseudo-perfectionist dullards in academia took a leaf from Kaavya's book. The profs who are supposed to teach the illustrious Youth of America about how Wrong It Is to Copy Other People's Work can't even keep their facts straight and their analysis fresh. The New York Times explains in Schoolbooks Given F's in Originality. By the way, not all textbook authors slack so hard they can't even cover up their own mess. Some actually do care about what their name is printed on. It's their lazy publishers who don't:

"Wendy Spiegel, a spokeswoman for Pearson Prentice Hall, which published both books and is one of the nation’s largest textbook publishers, called the similarities 'absolutely an aberration.'

She said that after Sept. 11, 2001, her company, like other publishers, hastily pulled textbooks that had already been revised and were lined up for printing so that the terror attacks could be accounted for. The material on the attacks, as well as on the other subjects, was added by in-house editors or outside writers, she said.

She added that it was 'unfortunate' that the books had identical passages, but said that there were only 'eight or nine” in volumes that each ran about 1,000 pages.'"

Oh, great. So, like, if you lift under ten assorted portions of SOMEONE ELSE'S WORK, it's all good. But no more than ten graphs! Hear that, pre-frosh? The mighty texbook publishers have spoken. But I wouldn't recommend taking their advice.

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