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.