Blind Optimists and Just Plain Asshats

Am I the only one who thinks that bringing Joe Gibbs back to the Redskins is a bad idea? Okay, I know I’m not the only one, since this posting stems from a conversation I had with another manager here at work, but to judge from all the press, you’d think this was the second coming. In fact, that’s what they actually called it on NBC 4 last night: The Second Coming.

Hey, I love Joe Gibbs, and I’d love nothing better than to see the Redskins come out of the toilet. I’d also like to see them change their name, but ain’t neither one gonna happen. At least not instantaneously. All that’s gonna come out of this is the irrevocable tarnishing of Joe Gibbs’s memory. Joe, you left on a high note. Why on Earth did you think coming back was going to do anything to improve on that? Yeah, I know there’s a lot of money involved (more than $5 million per season’s not small change), but there’s still such a thing as pride. Nobody seems to want to admit it, but the team ain’t the same animal it was when you left, and I just can’t help feeling that the fans are setting themselves up for serious disappointment.

Hey, I’ll be nothing but happy for Coach Joe to prove me wrong. But for now, I’m not at all convinced.

Speaking of bad ideas...

We’re hearing a lot about plagiarism in the academic arena, said plagiarism being directly related to the advent of the Internet. But I think we’ve hit a new low. I don’t know how many of you read Tequila Mockingbird regularly (judging from the fact that the site’s audience is easily twenty times mine, I figure the odds are pretty good), but if not, you’re missing out — Julia’s a truly gifted writer. (Those of you who attended Fray Day 7 DC got a chance to hear a hilarious performance of her story “The Mojo Is Strong With This One”; be assured that the remainder of her material is equally potent.)

So gifted, in fact, that some “asshat” (one of the more colorful components of Julia’s patois) has decided to copy segments of her writing and pass them off as his own, changing no more than a word or two here and there. The effort is truly laughable — there’s absolutely no question that he’s stolen her work wholesale. And then, just to demonstrate the degree of his intelligence, he actually petitioned her to add a link to his website on her own; it’s one thing to discover plagiarism yourself, but to have the thief actually point it out to you has got to be a new one.

Not wanting to get nasty right away, Julia sent a politely worded e-mail explaining the situation — assuming a simple misunderstanding about the nature of copyright law — and asked the offender to remove the material in question. Not only has he not done so, but he’s actually challenged her — rather belligerently — to do anything about it.

Fair enough. She’s called her attorney.

Which would have been the first thing I’d have done. Not that my writing’s anywhere near a quality level anyone’d want to copy, but as a creative professional, out-and-out theft of intellectual property just infuriates the hell out of me. In case anyone’s wondering, my Creative Commons license is clearly available along the left-hand side of this page (with some more explicit detail in the ever-expanding collection of legalese down at the footer). Give it a look, and I’d encourage everyone to offer Julia any assistance (moral and/or financial) she may need in pursuing this matter.

This asshat has got to be nailed to the wall, if for no other reason than to make all the other would-be plagiarists aware that — unlike in high school — there are serious consequences for flouting the law out here in the real world.


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