Tuesday, July 19, 2016

why on Earth would Melania Trump plagiarize?

So the GOP convention is in full swing in Cleveland, and the big news is that Melania Trump, Donald Trump's wife, has given a speech parts of which were ripped directly off a speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008. The Twitterverse is all over this right now; rightie sites like Instapundit and Drudge haven't posted anything, but the comment threads at Instapundit are alive with cross-talk about the scandal.

Barack Obama infamously lifted large swaths of text from a speech by Deval Patrick. You may recall this as the "Just words?" speech. The words themselves were powerful, but Obama failed to attributed them to Patrick, whom he later called a "friend" while offering a lame justification for his plagiarism. What Melania Trump has done is the moral equivalent of Obama's naughty deed, so I'd say she deserves whatever opprobrium is heading her way.

What boggles my mind is how Mrs. Trump (and possibly by extension, The Donald) thought she could get away with lifting text almost word for word from Michelle Obama's speech. In this day and age, any lie you tell, any plagiarism you commit, will be caught and aired in public almost instantaneously.

Here, too, while you're at it:

Anyway, this is embarrassing for Melania Trump. I'll be curious as to whether Donald Trump manages to Teflon his way through this new mini-crisis, or whether it becomes a "Dean scream" moment for him. Somehow, I doubt it'll be a "Dean scream"er. Consequences don't seem to attach themselves to his, or to his wife's, conduct.

ADDENDUM: this site mulls over the 2008 incident involving Obama's use of Deval Patrick's rhetoric. While the site author's conclusions are somewhat sympathetic to Obama, the author also makes some strong statements about those who accuse others of plagiarism, noting that such attacks tend to be politically motivated while generally lacking in substance, especially when seen in a larger context. For all I know, Melania can bat her lashes innocently and claim she was "inspired" by Michelle Obama, and/or that she and Michelle are "friends," thus making it somehow fine for Melania to appropriate Michelle's words. Two weeks from now, we probably won't be talking about Melania's text-cribbing.


Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Perhaps Melania just isn't very bright.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

Kevin Kim said...

I was wondering about that myself. Not bright, and/or out of touch, if she sincerely believed she could get away with cribbing. She should have read your series on paraphrasing and plagiarism.

Charles said...

I suspect that Melania was "inspired" by Michelle and doesn't fully understand the implications of plagiarism.

I also suspect that this will have roughly zero affect on Trump's campaign. After all, Melania is a fantastic woman. The best. And she doesn't need to think when she's married to the man with the best brain in the world.

Kevin Kim said...

Too damn funny, Charles.

King Baeksu said...

It could be a case of simple "plagiarism" (that word seems a bit strong, since we are only talking a few phrases from a rather long speech), but consider this: The ideas themselves are so commonplace and "all-American" that they were hardly original when Michelle Obama spoke them, and I'd bet that intrepid cybersleuths could easily find earlier political speeches that echo the same exact sentiments.

Alternately, what if it was intentionally done, either to elicit direct comparisons between Melania Trump and Michelle Obama (ideally unfavorably), or to subliminally appeal to black American voters by repackaging the fuzzily familiar words of the current First Lady?

And there is a third possible scenario: To goad the liberal media into making a massive mountain out of a decidedly minuscule molehill, and thereby expose their cynicism and lack of seriousness amidst the rash of shootings and terror attacks both near and afar. As always, recall, the key to this election is independents and undecideds: When they see what the liberal media have chosen as their "takeaway" from the day's proceedings in Cleveland, Ohio, will it simply turn them off and send many more Trump's way? After all, the nation is literally tearing itself apart and under constant attack, and this is what $hillary's supporters are focused on? Seriously?

The last possibility is certainly Machiavellian, but given that Crooked Hillary probably has a leather-bound copy of "The Prince" on her night stand, why would Trump even consider bringing a knife to a gunfight?

King Baeksu said...

BTW, one of the best moments of the night was when Rudy Giuliani explicitly called out Obama (citing his 2004 speech at the DNC Convention): "What happened to, 'there's no black America, there's no white America, there is just America'?"

That's a very good question, as a majority of Americans now agree that race relations have clearly worsened under the Obama Presidency. No wonder the elitist liberal media would rather pick on a stay-at-home mom whose first language isn't even English, obsessing over a few sloppily turned phrases in a speech that was otherwise a love letter to the USA. Indeed, the liberal mainstream media themselves shoulder much of the blame for the current toxic climate that prevails in American today.

Black Lives Matter? More like Black Clicks Matter. And White Clicks, too. But does America itself actually matter to them at all?

TheBigHenry said...

In the 1956 campaign, I recall seeing a commercial whose message was, "Wouldn't you like to see Mamie Eisenhower remain in the White House?" I was not yet old enough to vote then, but I remember thinking, "Why should this be any consideration in deciding whom to vote for?"

It is not a consideration, except for low information voters. The only important consideration, most especially in this year's campaign, is which candidate for President is likely to do the least harm to our beloved country. To me, at least, the answer is obvious.