Wednesday ∗ 13 Apr 2011

are we forgiving plagiarism?

my friend D posted this on her FB page:

the tricky thing about plagiarism is that while everyone is in agreement that it is a crime, a violation, the accused is almost never able to exercise his/her right to due process, legal representation, a fair trial, an appeal.

how does one pay for such a crime, really? what does it take?

it seems like there is nothing in the world one can do to gain genuine pardon for an offense such as this. even if the offender publicly acknowledges, properly apologizes, and sufficiently pays for damages, and, say, the aggrieved – the owner of the material – accepts and grants pardon, the offense is never really written off, is it? even when he/she does go through the legal process, and resolution is arrived at between parties, or he/she is able to gain acquittal from and is formally certified as innocent of the crime, the public never really forgives or forgets, does it?

my answer in the form of questions. in the case of the recent proven and admitted plagiarist, are we all in agreement that he committed a crime? is he actually asking for genuine pardon? does he actually feel unforgiven at all here, seeing as there is “a public” that seems to have brushed it off, ignored it, believed Yuson to have valid enough reasons for, uh, plagiarizing?

via Yuson's public FB wall, April 8 2011, accessed April 12 2011

Yuson on Plaridel yahoogroups, April 13 2011, accessed April 13 2011

questions, still: does it matter at all that there is a public who will not forget, when in fact there’s a public –– the one that matters to the admitted plagiarist – that has forgiven? does our refusal to forget matter at all when the attitude of the culprit is such that admitting to plagiarism just means facing brickbats, instead of his credibility down the drain?

does it matter at all that a public is angry about plagiarism, when the admitted plagiarist is allowed to go on as if nothing happened, invoking the same kind(s) of power he holds as if nothing has changed? at least MVP had the grace to resign from ateneo, return honors given him, and lie low for a while.

via the best statement written on the subject matter (and maybe EVER), the one that has the most balls I’ve seen in the literary world in a while:

“It is, at absolute best, a specimen of offensive—and admittedly, eloquent—victimage. Not only does Yuson resort to flippant, melodramatic, and self-deprecating rhetoric that is calculated to minimize his personal accountability and preempt further criticism, but also he insults the intelligence of his readers by flinging a distinctly noxious red herring into their faces: the concept of editor as co-author, which, though not without merit in and of itself, completely and utterly fails in this situation to explain why Yuson did not credit Joble in the magazine article at all. Were Yuson to discover that a protégé had plagiarized his poetry in order to “arrive over and over / again at art” [1], would he accept from that student what he now expects us to swallow hook, line, and sinker? Or does Yuson ultimately rely on his formidable store of cultural capital to save him in the same way that a wealthy criminal depends on his money to keep him out of jail?”

Equally ominous in this regard is the response from Yuson’s peers in pedagogy and literature, without whom he would not have attained his current stature: they have so far refused to publicly and categorically censure an act that they would not tolerate and likely have vociferously condemned had it been committed by their students, mentees, or non-literary figures (business mogul Manuel V. Pangilinan, say, or Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano C. del Castillo).

the rest of the collective statement on the plagiarism of Krip Yuson is here.

meanwhile, where is the rest of the literary, cultural, and academic world of which the admitted plagiarist is part?

Posted in: akademya, arts and culture, inuman, kalalakihan, kultura, media

Tagged: , , , , ,

11 Comments/Pingbacks

  1. Brian
    April 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Collective? No identity?

    Nabobobo tayo dito eh. K8ung ako sayo wag mo nang respituhin taong ito at mga protectors nya. Pati yung mga complicit na walang imik.

    • J. O. M. Salazar
      April 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Hello Brian,

      You may rest assured that we’re not trying to hide our identities. My friends and I all have bylines for our individual posts in Interlineal, though our About page doesn’t list everyone, which we should probably work on, just so it doesn’t become an issue. Our collective statement is precisely that: a statement that we all came up with together. :-)

      Thank you for reading!

  2. GabbyD
    April 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    This is quite interesting. i wonder tho, what joble thinks about this. after all, its HIS words that had been co-opted. does he feel that the editor indeed ought 2 share the byline?

    lets say that joble agrees — yes, we should share the byline, so it isnt plagiarism. that should mean SOMETHING, right?

    • Juan Change
      April 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

      When I first called up Rey Joble to inform him about the apparent plagiarism, I asked him if he was going to file a complaint to his boss, GMA News Online editor-in-chief Howie Severino, about the matter. Joble responded in the negative; he said he was apprehensive about speaking up about the issue because he knew that Yuson was good friends with his boss, and that he was afraid that making a bigger deal out of it would jeopardize his career. He was ready to just let it pass if it meant that he could just go on with his job quietly – understandable, in this day and age, when most people, even sportswriters, are just concerned about making sure that there’s food on the table for their families.

      • Juan Change
        April 19, 2011 at 3:09 am

        Quote from J Tordecilla

      • GabbyD
        April 19, 2011 at 4:18 am


        naku, i expect howie severino to also weigh in on this. surely howie isn’t afraid of yuson, no?

  3. ina
    April 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    @gabbyd: exactly what i’ve been wondering about too. and really, if Joble agrees to co-authorship AFTER THE FACT of plagiarism, it’s still plagiarism committed diba? the byline’s been published already, hindi mo na mahahabol yon.

  4. Brian
    April 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    It’s not a criminal case. The more important forum here is the academic forum. The more important crime is not the stealing of intellectual property but intellectual dishonesty. What is intellectual property to us? If you’re the creative type, it’s not really the exact words that count but the meaning – rehashing others works is not an evil per se if your intention is to build on it, creating something greater. If I had the time, I’d read Yuson’s works and research his “inspirations”. A plagiarist as a rule does not surpass the spirit of his victim.

  5. ina
    April 14, 2011 at 10:21 am

    “It’s not a criminal case. The more important forum here is the academic forum. The more important crime is not the stealing of intellectual property but intellectual dishonesty.”

    @brian, you’re so right on this one. though intellectual dishonesty has to extend beyond the academic sphere, given Yuson and how his being intellectual is the premise of his career. institutions that trust(ed) him all this time must reassess their own thresholds for intellectual dishonesty.

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