Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A bigger problem than plagiarism

Dear Hannah,

When a presidential candidate's wife, known for stumbling though broken English, gets on a stage and plagiarizes a speech, the most important thing to say about her plagiarism is that it probably isn't her plagiarism.  In fact, we may safely say that in an overwhelming majority of cases like these, the speaker was probably not aware that the speech she had given had already been given.  Her job, if she really was more than slightly involved in it, was to simply approve what was written, and then read it to the public.


The most interesting thing about the whole situation beyond this is not even Trump's campaign's refusal to admit to the plagiarism; but his refusal to admit that he wasn't entirely responsible.  Hostile pundits on both sides, assuming this is only another instance of his unwillingness to apologize, have gone after Melania as though she was not only too vapid to disapprove of an already mediocre speech, but that she was too haughty to deny it was hers.  The truth of the matter is that either our pundits are too stupid to realize the universality of her crime (if indeed she was even wrong), or they are too evil to look at the log in their eyes before pointing out the mote in another's.

I believe that the real reason Trump and Melania never personally admitted to the plagiarism is because no politician feels comfortable blaming his speech-writer.  And beneath all the reluctance to just come out and say it is a fear of accidentally coming out of the closet in another more sensitive category.  An admission that your speech writer plagiarized is not an admission that your speech writer plagiarized.  It's an admission that you are not who you represent yourself to be.  It's a confession that all the things you said, the things you took credit for, the image you'd so finely polished, was not actually your image; and the thoughts you won the public with were not even your thoughts.  At the bottom of it, the terror of telling the truth insists something much deeper than plagiarism -- and especially in a campaign which prides itself on speaking from the gut*.  It's the end of the American charade, the belief that our Presidents and their wives are actually interesting and inspiring, and the beginning of the realization that everything we know about politics is probably a well-packaged lie.

It's been said that Ronald Reagan was probably the last of our actual leaders; and I think anyone who has heard the speeches he personally wrote and delivered before he became the president, will admit that when we voted for Ronald Reagan, we got what we deserved.  But now we are not only getting something much different.  Now we're not exactly sure what we're getting.   The hordes of publicists and speech writers, existing for the sole purpose of manipulating the public and trying to get us to ignore who our leaders really are, feed us line after corny line of manufactured, poll-calculated rhetoric, hoping to make us fall in love with a figment of a person; while our leaders, barely keeping from stumbling over themselves, and perhaps not even aware of the geniuses whose descendants they claim to champion, make decisions we expected them to understand, but which they are apparently incapable of properly and inspiringly explaining.

There is something to be argued for this state of affairs.  Why, we might ask, should our leaders spend their time on rhetoric and speeches, when they could be worried about running the country?  It's true that the best man for the job may not always be the most charming man for the job; and we might (somewhat convincingly) argue that the specialization of our rhetoric permits us to pick better administrators.  We might even say that it matters less whether a man wrote anything than whether he agrees with it.  But this is to argue backwardly.  The reason men are inspiring is only because of their vision.  We choose men to lead us because we think they can take us wherever we want them to go -- and a true leader will always make us want to go somewhere we may not have thought of without him.  The choosing of men without speeches does not necessarily mean that we'll fill up their speeches with masses of extraneous words.  It means we'll be filling our leaders with extraneous souls.  Our speech-writing is not even so crass as to be plagiarism.  It's an admission that Americans are not only uninterested in honesty, but that they aren't even interested in being led by great people.

Your father,
-J

*The popularity of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, quite possibly the two most genuinely stupid people to ever be anywhere near the presidential office, may be explained less by an American fear of greatness, and more by an American fear of fakeness.  But even more comical than our preference of dumbness to dishonesty is our unreasonable preference for outsiders over insiders.  We believe, somehow, that the solution to American stagnation is to pick someone who's a stranger to the system.  What we've forgotten is that every purchased politician, everyone who ever broke a promise to us, everyone we've ever blamed for being an insider, was originally an outsider.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting. I wonder who makes us Americans so twisted minded about our preference. As you said, we are choosing outsiders over insiders in a fear of fakeness. Maybe it is due to the promotion? At first, the promotion was to be the most expensive in the town. That what would give you more authority and power. Or, simply, more eyes to look at you and 'want your company'. Then it all twisted with being kind and thoughtful of others. Therefore, if you are so PUBLICALLY green, or for the equal rights, you get the same more votes for you, more eyes looking at you and more people willing your company. In the end, the main motivation for us is not humanity but being the main human. Of course, we have a lot of people that love to be a part of the crowd. Why? Well, with a great power comes great electricity bill. If you will ones get on top, one wrong step will lead you to death, at least a public death. What I am leading to hearing is https://www.prowriterscenter.com/speech-writing/. Please, be aware of what is happening with you, and filter everything you hear or see. Cheers!

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