Let no one else's work evade your eyes,
Remember why the good lord made your eyes,
So don't shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
Only be sure always to call it please 'research'.”
From the song Lobachevsky by Tom Lehrer
A friend of mine emailed me a link to a short video from the Rachel Maddow Show. He had just read my previous piece on the debt crisis, entitled “Nantucket Sleigh Ride.” Several days after I posted, Maddow and Co. had created a little skit about the debt crisis using an obscure metaphor from the days of whaling: the so-called “Nantucket Sleigh Ride.”
I have to admit that they took the metaphor somewhere I did not, focusing on the axe available to cut the line between the boat and the whale. It’s all about the judgment of the captain and the crew. I focused on the whale as a combination of the wounded insurance industry and the wounded conservative worldview.
Still, a remarkable coincidence.
In the wake of Rachel Maddow taking Rand Paul to task for actual verbatim plagiarism, some have referred to this piece as an accusation of plagiarism. It is not. Please note the title, the concluding sentence, the humorous quotation from Tom Lehrer, and the second paragraph. I found the coincidence amusing.
Just read the thing without the political kaleidoscope over your eye.
In plain English, for the record, I do not think that Rachel Maddow's writers plagiarized me.