Saturday, March 25, 2006

Plagiarize THIS! (Part II)

OK, now Malkin's cutting Domenech loose. And considering he edited her last book, that's bad. Sorry to have been so behind the curve on this uproar.

I finally did a Google on the scandal and learned via Media Matters -- of all places -- that Domench had edited UNHINGED -- and went over to Malkin's site to see what she had to say. I also learned from Media Matters that Domenech had worked for Sen. John Cornyn and been a speechwriter for Tommy Thompson (which might explain that weird speech a few years ago where Thompson said, "Veni, vidi, vici").

And then I went to DailyKos (of all places) and there was the side-by-side comparison of ... a movie review. Who the heck plagiarizes a movie review? I mean, you go see a movie, you write a review. Domenech has got some 'splainin' to do!

NRO reports Domenech to be a serial plagiarizer. So I just went over to Domenech's Coram Deo, found something he'd written about Britney Spears for NRO, Googled a phrase (spears + "Lip Smackers") and ...

Ben! Stealing from the left-wingers at SALON? (By the way, I'm not claiming to be the first person to spot this. Like I said, I came late to this fisking, and I don't know who's already fisked what at this point.)

This is what she looked like when you first saw her: pigtails, Catholic schoolgirl uniform, Lip Smackers baby-doll pink lips. She was a good girl, but suddenly gone bad, having tied her little white shirt in a knot over her Madonna-influenced midriff. She was a 17-year-old babe -- in both senses of the word -- who already knew too much.
Spears first hit the music scene just last year. ... Decked out in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform — complete with pigtails, pink Lip Smackers, and white shirt tied in a knot over an exposed midriff — she teased at disobedience, and dangerously tempted the voyeur.
The brand-name "Lip Smackers" made that the obvious phrase to Google. What guy knows the brand names of lip gloss? But why does anybody need to plagiarize a put-down of Britney, anyway? I realize that repeating "phony stuckup whore" for 700 words might not get you published at NRO, but it's better than stealing a cheesy description from Salon.

Perhaps the worst part: Domenech is homeschooled. Wow, that hurts. As a homeschooling dad, I consider the success of homeschool alumni a great indication of the movement's potential as an alternative to the government school system. So to see Domenech go down in flames like this ... it hurts.


UPDATE: Thanks to Dave Riehl for the link. (I am a primitive cave-blogger and don't know how to do trackbacks.) Dave has some good stuff on Domenech here and here, while Don Surber has updated his stuff here. Reason's Julian Sanchez has some stuff here.

Right now, with everybody blogpiling on Domenech, I guess he's probably feeling lower than a snake's belly (as he arguably should). But on the theory that he's Googling himself before deciding whether to jump off the Wilson Bridge -- which is probably what I'd be doing at this point in the crisis -- let me be the first to say:

Don't jump, Ben

Welcome to rock bottom, Ben. This is where you find out if you've got character. Think of George Patton, relieved of command, forced to apologize and sent to bide his time in England. Think of Sam Grant, the West Point grad who drank himself out of the Army and ended up working in his father-in-law's leather tannery. Think of George Washington, driven out New York in 1776 and retreating desperately across New Jersey to escape the victorious British, hoping he could do something to keep his army from falling completely apart.

Disgraced, shamed, defeated -- and ultimately victorious.

You are at the point, Ben, where survival is a victory in itself. Where you are, it's a huge challenge just to get out of bed in the morning and try to do something useful with the day.

You wonder if you will ever be able to outlive this monstrous embarassment. It's up to you -- but not entirely up to you. This is a time for some very serious and very humble prayer. You have just received a huge chastisement, a reminder that you are a wretched sinner in need of grace -- as are we all.

I know all this, Ben, because I've been there. Trust me -- I've screwed up big-time more than once in my life. And it takes time and prayer to get to the point where you can accept the chastisement as legitimate. Even if you feel you were falsely accused, even if you feel that your errors have been exaggerated and misinterpreted, there is a lesson here, if you will humble your heart enough to learn it.

When you get to that humble place, when you Get In Touch With Your Inner Sinner (dibs on that book title!), you will know what Jesus meant when he said to pray for your enemies and bless them that curse you. (Bless you, Atrios!) Go study the Bible, look at all the Israelites went through -- slavery in Egypt, 40 years in the wilderness, conquered by the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Romans, and scattered to the corners of the Earth.

A Presbyterian minister of my acquaintance once pointed out that we Christians look at the Israelites worshipping the golden calf and think to ourselves, "Are they crazy? Look at the mighty works God did for them -- the plagues, the Red Sea, the manna. How could they forget God so quickly?" But, the minister pointed out, we are just like them: We forget what God has done for us. We are also a stiff-necked people, and it hurts our pride to admit that we cannot do things on our own. We look at our careers, our wealth, our families, our health and we think: "Look what I've done!"

Even praying people fall into this temptation: We forget how we prayed to get that job, how we prayed to find a spouse, how we prayed that we might recover from disease or misfortune. So when things are going well, we become self-satisfied, and when something doesn't go our way, we curse our luck. And we forget that, as Jonathan Edwards put it, we are sinners in the hands of an angry God. What right do we have to expect a live without sorrow or hardship? Why are we even alive to complain about anything? How many times have guardian angels saved us from destruction, without our even knowing it?

So welcome to rock bottom, Ben. I pray (as I'm sure many others are praying) that one day you'll stand atop the mountain -- and remember to give the glory to God.