Dear Dirty America


Zakaria: Who Am I To Rewrite A Perfectly Fine Paragraph?

August 12
10:30 2012

Fareed Zakaria isn’t a great journalist, and he’s not an impressive thinker, but he does know about being economical with the time he spends writing columns. Here’s the scoop:

A few hours ago Fareed Zakaria apologized publicly for passing off New Yorker writer Jill Lepore’s work as his own in an essay he wrote for Time magazine. Not to put too fine a point on it, Zakaria committed egregious plagiarism, as Alexander Abad-Santos of the Atlantic Wire reported.

Plagiarist! Zakaria is a trustee of Yale, and he has ‘earned’ a PhD from Harvard (well, that’s probably in question too, since there is very few offenses considered more extreme on a college campus than plagiarism). Harvard has had many plagiarism incidents by its most esteemed researchers and professors.

Ishmael, the deck hand aboard the Pequod, called the whaling ship his Harvard and his Yale. It’s where he learned his true life lessons, and facetiously, he suggested the major educational institutions could never give that kind of proper life training.

If that were a literal statement by Ishmael, folks like Zakaria would have been thrown overboard and left to choke in the briny sea. But instead, in the world in which we live, he is lauded and glorified like God’s son and given special opportunities by Time and CNN.

Plagiarism for journalists who are rather bland and work for faceless corporations like CNN is not an offense. It’s usually a smart move that saves a busy showman time. I’m busy, Fareed might say in his defense, because I’m just so damn busy. I’ve got people thinking I’m a great Thinker. That takes work.

But Fareed Zakariah is not a great thinker. He’s lackluster and trivial. He’s certainly no Tim “Speed” Levitch. That guy deserves his own column. Not Zakariah. But, like mentioned early, Zakariah is an economical man:

Plagiarism is also a good move when someone has written a paragraph a lot better than you could. If you’re powerful and don’t have much to lose (like getting kicked out of your university), you go ahead and steal the passage(s) you like. When people find out, they suspend you. You still have your millions of dollars, your dream house, and the opportunity to continuing working for any prominent publication or news outlet.

Why should I re-write a great paragraph? Zakaria might say. Jill Lepore wrote it with such a dazzling, chiseled charm the first time, who am I to switch it up and write the same information in my own inferior way?

Fareed apologized, and that’s good of him. He’s a real gentleman. No, we must keep our eyes on him and watch that snaky bastard before he sneaks up on us in the grass and does real damage. Next time, I hope he steals a finely crafted paragraph from Dear Dirty America. I’ve been told, out of nearly 800 posts, there are a couple good ones.

Take them, Fareed, and don’t give a putz like me credit! I dare you.


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