FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all

by

I must admit that numbers, math, algebra and statistics have always been my Achilles’ heel. And McGill University physics professor’s stats confound me.

The Online Digg (via Huffington Post) headline reads: “Physicist: there’s A 1-In-87 Billion Chance Melania Trump Didn’t Plagiarize.”  It appears that the good physics professor, a numbers-wizard from McGill University identified as Bob Rutledge, “has the stats to back that intuition up.”  Further, “the chances That Trump’s arrangement of the allegedly plagiarized phrases was a random occurrence are roughly 1-in-87 billion [thus making] the fourteen phrases that Melania Trump has in common with Michelle Obama  14*13*12*11*10*9*8*7*6 *5*4*3*2*1 [for]a grand total of about 87 billion different permutations for those 14 distinct phrases.”

I am even more confounded by these baffling numbers and the extricated syllogism.

While Professor Rutledge lives in Montreal, Canada, another Rutledge, a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, made her debut on prime time TV both, during a morning CNN interview, and at the Cleveland-held Republican National Convention.

On July 19, 2016,  Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was one of several evening speakers paraded to criticize Hillary Clinton, an evening during which Hillary was Lucifered, Jailed, Striped, Benghazied, Iraqed, Libyaded, Syriaded, Basemented, Servered, and a whole lot more.  And, for the record, this is not, repeat, not an endorsement of Hillary.  And somewhere in between the aforementioned are some truths that are truths, knowns that are unknown, and unknowns that are known.

Oops, these phrases should have been huddled in quotation marks!

Leslie Rutledge walked up to the podium, placed her hands on the podium, attempted to engage a somewhat indifferent audience and, in a very distinct Southern accent, drawled out a multi-syllabled “Good ‘Evenin’.”  I was surprised that Rutledge didn’t end her greetin’ with the traditional southern  “Y’all,” and for a brief moment it appeared as though she was about to lose the crowd.

Without even as much as a breath between “Evenin’” and the next word, Rutledge dove into her fiery speech. “Sometimes,” she initiated,   “Hillary Clinton [I noted a diminution of the last vowel sound]  speaks with a New York accent. But, Y’all, [I knew this Y’all would show up] this is what a real Arkansas woman sounds like.  Hillary may not know where she’s from, but Arkansans know exactly who she is. Arkansans know who I am, raised on a cow farm, married to a row-crop farmer… .”  The by-now-fired-up crowd cheered as Leslie, blazing southern drawl in rhythmic cadence, continued: “I am a Christian, pro-life, gun carrying conservative woman.  … Hillary says that when they left the White House, they were poor [Leslie, poor and pour are different pronunciations], and, while they’ve made millions, she’s still [pour] in all the ways that really count. [Pour] in judgement, [pour] policies and [pour] decisions. Hillary is a lawyer, but she acts like the law doesn’t apply to her.” And, to get downright folksy, Rutledge added, “As my daddy likes to say, Hillary will lie even when the truth serves her better.” To resonate with her female audience, she informed them that she knows “What it’s like to break the glass “ceilin’.”

Unfortunately Ms. Rutledge, an English major, is incapable of comprehending what constitutes plagiarism.

On the morning of July 19, 2016, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appeared on a CNN talk show and, “according to multiple listeners decried those who say Mrs. Trump was a plagiarist. She just relied on some common words and phrases, said Rutledge, echoing the talking points of Trump’s campaign manager.” (Arkansas Blog 7/19/2016)

In yet another plagiarized convention statement by another Arkansas politician, Max Brantley, Arkansas Times editor, observed that “Chuck Todd of NBC note[d] that Sen. Tom Cotton’s refrain of ‘help is on the way’ was the same battle cry used by John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I happen to recall, too, that it was the tearful refrain of a Louisiana public official in a recorded telephone conversation with his mother in a nursing home imperiled by rising water during Hurricane Katrina. Help never came.”

Now that we’re told that the speech writer confessed her transgression and submitted her resignation, Donald Trump’s refusal to accept her resignation will not only sugar coat the entire debacle, but it will also somewhat rehabilitate and ameliorate the callously indifferent “you’re fired” image.

I feel sorry for Melania and all politicians’ spouses and children; spouses and children are under constant microscopic scrutiny, and in Melania’s case, I am left with the impression that Donald Trump has used his knock-em-dead curvaceously gorgeous wife as a political prop. Melania impresses me as a woman infinitely more intelligent and cosmopolitan than the role cast for her in this, the season of conventions, hateful diatribes, character assassination, xenophobia,  wall-to-wall election coverage, and incessant gotchya rhetoric and politics.

The Republican National Convention is over and the Democratic National Convention is just around the corner. Could we please get these circuses behind us, quickly?

My former colleague and one of the best friends  I’ve been fortunate to have had for the past 43 years sent me a poem about the Leslie Rutledge’s plagiarism denial, and,  by extension,  all the deniers who  sprouted  in that brief 24 hour interlude called the news cycle. Johnny Wink has granted me permission to include this fine impromptu creation of his under the titleDisbelief.

Disbelief

Before my eyes on the tv screen

A half an hour ago

A state’s attorney general

Most thoroughly did blow

 

My mind with her assertion that

Some sentences, devised

For Mrs. Trump’s convention speech

Had not been plagiarized.

 

It was as if the lady’d said

That she could hardly see

How anyone  believed that bed

Starts with the letter b!

 

The state this lady represents,

Alas, is Arkansas.

Her fellow panelists could not

Refrain from a guffaw.

 

I’ve got three words for Leslie R.,

Three words that I am sure

She learned in law school long ago:

Res ipsa loquitur.

 

More articles by:

Raouf J. Halaby has just recently been awarded a Professor Emeritus status. He taught English and art for 42 years. He is a writer, a sculptor, a photographer, and an avid gardener. He can be reached at rrhalaby@suddenlink.net

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail