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Okay, please don’t be mad at me, but I have to confess something. Remember yesterday’s Yet Another Theory of Trump post? Those weren’t my ideas. I changed the language a bit and adapted it to current events, but basically, I plagiarized it.
Why would you do such a dastardly thing, Claire?
Because I figured if I told you where they came from, eyeballs would roll, and you probably wouldn’t give the writer a fair hearing. I found the ideas surprisingly interesting and wondered if maybe there was more to them than I realized the first time I read the book. But I wanted to know how you’d judge the ideas strictly on their own merits, so I figured as long as I told you the truth today, it wouldn’t be so dastardly — it might be kind of fun.
We’re not sure how we feel about that, Claire.
Believe me, I wasn’t either, especially when I realized what I was reading made sense. Very weird for me to discover that.
And what did you conclude from your little experiment, Claire?
Well, I think most of you agreed. Some of those observations, although not necessarily all of them, were well worth thinking about and quite intuitively plausible. That said, some of your criticisms — especially those of you who found it a simplistic or incorrect view of what’s happened economically since the 1970s, those of you who felt it an inaccurate account of the history of the media in the US, and those who felt the story was incomplete, or not necessarily a story of failure — were, I think, correct.
Still, basically, many of you found that at least a few of those points rang true, or were demonstrably true, or were at least worth a few minutes’ thought, didn’t you? (Genferei excepted.) I was pretty surprised when I re-read the book I pinched them from.
But things are getting so strange, politically. My models about how the world works seem to have failed me, in so far as they’ve not led me to make good political predictions about fundamental trends in my own country. So maybe it’s time to dust off theories to which I’ve paid little attention for many years. Perhaps they account for what’s going on now better than I’d expect, or have more predictive power. (You know the story about Keynes, right? When a high-profile critic accused him of being inconsistent, he reportedly replied, “When events change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir?”)
Anyway, strictly speaking, the term for what I did yesterday is plagiarism — although I did lightly disguise the ideas and update them to reflect contemporary events, to the point, I think, that searching for phrases from the post on Google won’t help.
Any guesses about whose thoughts they were?
I’ll tell you at the end of the day.Published in