Saturday, February 27, 2010

I agree with Ms. Hegemann when she says that "There's no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity". Being original is really difficult. I mean there are common words that we all use when we write. There are also common expressions we sometimes use in our writing. There is a commonality from the letters to the words we use. Being completely original, in my mind is impossible. Originality and authenticity are two different things. Authenticity is something being your own. Something that a person created themselves. She isn't authentic if she's not coming up with the work herself. This writer took a whole page from another book and used it as her own without giving credit to who it belonged to. And Ms. Hegemann's excuse is that she added words to it and was mixing. By just adding a few words it goes from plagiarizing to not plagiarizing. That doesn't seem right when the majority of that page was not "mixed" and was not authentic.

Ms. Hegemann says mixing is borrowing from others and reshaping or fitting the borrowed text to create some new document. It seems to me like its plagiarism. It's not like your getting inspired from the work and create your own. When a person is borrowing they're actually using the other persons work. I think the only way borrowing would not be plagiarism is if you just use the other persons work and ideas to come up with your own work and ideas.

If a student had to write a paper and they had one whole page that was like another students paper just a few words changed, that would be considered plagiarism. There's no doubt in my mind about it because the university is very strict when it comes to plagiarism. But why has there been no action taken towards Ms. Hegemann. If the student was caught they would be expelled. What's the use of learning about plagiarism and getting in trouble for it if when we go out into the world many are doing it and not having to face any consequences.

I realize there are a lot of gray areas and plagiarism is a very difficult concept to understand but why don't the same rules about plagiarism apply everywhere. It's not consistent. I think it's not consistent because there is no true definition of what plagiarism is. Who knows if there ever will be. Now that I'm learning more about plagiarism I think I probably have plagiarized before without even knowing. I've never got in trouble for anything I've written so I never thought I had plagiarized but now with all the articles we've read in class and the class discussions I find myself doing some of the stuff that some people consider plagiarism.

In the case of Ms. Hegemann, I think it's plagiarism.

Inventing the University

Inventing the university was an interesting article with a lot of information. I was able to better understand the article when we were broken up into groups during class. My group had the question about the "basic writer" and how that term was described in the article. In the article, basic writer refers to university students placed in remedial composition courses. Basic writers are writers that haven't been exposed to academic writing therefore don't know what academic writing is. That is why they offer advise in their writing rather than academic conclusion. Like saying "you should do this" or "you shouldn't do that". Basic writers also get confused on how to take the role of authority and talk down to their reader. They use a voice of authority of like a teacher or parent. It's hard for basic writers to take the role of authority but in academic writing and the voice of authority being rooted in scholarly knowledge. Basic writers also have a difficult time in writing conclusions. It seems like the basic writer has very basic skills and has a difficult time creating academic writing.

One of the topics that interested me a little bit more was code switching. Code switching is basically changing the way you speak or the way you write in different situations. Most people, if not all, change the way they speak when they are with their parents and when they are with their friends. In that same way, our writing changes depending on the audience. If we write an essay for our history class, it would be different and we would use different terms than if we wrote and essay for our communication class. People adapt to different situations to fit in and create a "common place". Common place is like a group that has the same common knowledge. Like knowing all the laws is common knowledge to students studying the law but not to students studying psychology. We all use common places. The article says the "common places are the controlling ideas of our composition textbooks, textbooks that not only insist on a set form for expository writing but a set view of public life. It is important to know who your audience is that way you know how to write. There are also two different form of writing: writer based and reader based. Writer based is when you are just writing for yourself. Reader based is when you are writing for the reader to understand. This also affects the way you write because if you write for yourself it will be different than when you write for someone else.

When people write, they must have a strong stance and know what they are talking about. We must be well informed of the topic we are going to write about. I don't agree with his assessment of the basic writer because just because you are in a remedial composition class doesn't mean that you'll fall into the description that Bartholomae gave of the basic writer and all the characteristics of one.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I've never had a blog before and probably wouldn't today if it wasn't for my English class. I was able to figure out how to make a blog list and in the blog list i basically just put blogs that I thought were interesting. I chose the Avatar and Shutter Island blogs becaus I really want to watch those movies and wanted to see what other people thought about it. I chose the relationship blogs because I think it's important to have a good relationship with people you really care about.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Performance Self vs. Authentic Self

Blum does a really good job describing the performance self and the authentic self. I agree with her description of them.

The performance self is very flexible and adapts to other people. Adapting yourself to other people is sometimes helpful but it is not necessarily a good thing. One of the students interviwed for the book said she had a really good friend who would change her whole personality whenever they were around different people. The student didn’t like that because it was as if she didn’t even know her own friend. It’s like you become more than one person just so others will like you and want to hang out with you. The performance self uses other's work to create their own. The performance self is very indecisive and doesn't think you themselves. The performance self doesn't feel a strong, tight connection with their writing. "Their key concepts are efficacy, nimbleness, comfort, circumstance, ends, goals." (pg.61)

The authentic self tries to be more original and unique. The authentic self is loyal to themselves and to their beliefs. The authentic self's characteristics are unique, authorship, individual contribution, and essence. "Their key concepts are own, genuine, essence, integral, means, undivided." (pg. 61)

The authentic self would not plagiarize as opposed to the performance self who probably would in a necessary situation. One part that was interesting to me was when Blum was talking about college applications and getting in to the college the student really wanted to. She said that if the performance self wanted to get in to a certain college they would do anything, even lie in their application. Like saying a different major knowing they would change it if they got in. The authentic self wouldn't do that.

I don't identify myself completely with one or the other. I think I'm somewhere in between. But I do believe that there are people out there who perfectly fit one or the other.

With the description that Blum gave of the authentic and performance self I agree that the performance self is more prone to cheating and plagiarizing. They don't really mind not being original and feel it is normal to use other peoples work to come up with your own. Also it seems like the performance self just cares about their appearance. Like they'll do anything to have that good appearance and will do anything it takes to get and maintain a good appearance, even if that means cheating. For example in school, the better grades you have, the better the appearance. A performance self would cheat on a test in order to maintain their straight A's. The authentic self wouldn't cheat. The performance self would just get by by cheating and copying and wouldn't learn all the material necessary. In the end it's just cheating themselves but they wouldn't see that. They would just see their good appearance.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"My Word" Ch. 2

I enjoyed reading chapter 2 of "My Word". Something that made it interesting was all the students the author interviewed and seeing others students views on plagiarism. Many had strong points on their views on plagiarism but had some unsure thoughts.

Before this class I didn't really pay much attention to plagiarism. Now that we're reading about it, I realize it's difficult to understand because there are so many rules that apply to it. To me it just feels like we all plagiarize and there's no way that we can be completely original. Everything we do and everything we say in our every day lives comes from things we've been through and heard. In chapter 2 page 32 originality is defined as "a quality thought to spring from a unique essence, soul, or genius". People have been around for thousands and it seems like they were the only people who were truly original. Billions of people have been on this earth and ideas and thoughts have been passed down from generation to generation that we are bound to agree and have the same thoughts as people who were here centuries ago. When I was reading this chapter I thought of the group presentations we did and some of the examples people gave. One of the examples my group gave about originality was about a person learning their first or a new language. When someone is learning a completely new language, they have no choice but to copy what they hear. If that counts as plagiarism then we have all plagiarized. When we were born, we had no knowledge of the world and things around us. We learned from our parents, who learned from their parents and so on.

There are so many ways people can and have plagiarized. People can plagiarize through writing, talking, and even singing. The book talks about people copying from t.v. shows they've seen, songs, movies, etc. I can relate to that because I find myself actually doing it a lot of times. One of my favorite t.v. shows is "Friends". I own all ten seasons and love watching the episodes. I sometimes use some of the phrases they say in the show when I am having conversations with people that have also seen the episodes I've watched.

I also see how difficult it is to make citations. If you get something from someone that got something from someone else, which I believe is the case in most instances, then the citations would be never ending.

In the Gladwell article, I don't really understand why the author felt no need to acknowledge the psychiatrist. The author acknowledges others but not the psychiatrist. If she acknowledged some then all of them should have been acknowledged. It's true that the author created something new and different and not every detail was the same but she should have been consistent with her citations.

Plagiarism is a complicated topic.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What is an essay, anyway?

essay (n.): (1) a short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the author. (2) an initial attempt

essay (v.): (1) to make an attempt at; try. (2) to subject to a test.

Essays are written assignments we usually get in our english classes. They can be written about any topic but in english classes the topic is usually assigned to you. There are also different types of essays like informative or persuasive.
Essays in middle school and high school were a lot easier than essays in college. In college essays assigned are longer and they take a lot of research. Also, there's the whole plagiarism issue that goes along with it.
I knew what essays were from english class but just the noun definition. I had no idea that essay was also a verb. I looked up the definition in an online dictionary and essay as a verb means to attempt.
The best essay experience I can remember was last semester when I had to write a midterm essay for my government class. The essay was about slavery in the colonies and I don't remember the exact question but we just had to argue if slavery was really bad or if it wasn't really that bad based on all the reading and lectures. I felt like I had learned so much and that class and actually knew the material. It was easy becuase I had all the resources I needed to complete it and it was something that interested me. I ended up earning an A on that paper.