Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Something Borrowed

In "Something Borrowed", Malcom Gladwell discusses the uncertainties of plagiarism. He illustrates his point by telling the story of how Dorthy Lewis's life was "stolen" by the broadway play "Frozen". She felt like someone had taken something from her that she could never get back. Gladwell continued to give examples of plagiarism and non-plagerism. He talked about how in music, it seems that plagiarism happens all the time, you hear a line in one song, then in another, and it is uncertain whether or not both ideas were original or not. Gladwell explains that plagiarism in music not easy to categorize, but it is simpler with writing. Lewis's life had been plagiarized and she was especially offended because besides mimicking her life, the play writer added that the character who play Lewis had an affair, which could have made people believe that Lewis had an affair in real life. Overall, Gladwell came to the conclusion that "Frozen" had damaged Lewis's life, without the play writer even realizing that she was plagiarizing.

I think that "Something Borrowed" was actually very insightful. I never really think about plagiarism in terms of music, even though it can be. I thought it was interesting how he brought up the example of how you know you are stealing something when it is a solid object like a picnic table, but when it comes to words, idea's and music, it is unclear as to whether or not someone has stolen something. It made me think about when an idea or words really mine, how do I, if I do, own the words that i speak or write.

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