Copy and Paste: the Yale Daily News Version of the Great College Newspaper Plagiarism Dance

Copy and Paste: the <em>Yale Daily News</em> Version of the Great College Newspaper Plagiarism Dance

Places, everyone, places! It’s time for another college newspaper plagiarism flap, and we’ve rehearsed this so many times that by now everyone should be off-book. As it were. In tonight’s episode, Yale Daily News byline factory Makda Asrat ’09 is charged with ripping off a recent Slate review of the movie “300.”

Scene I: The Ritual Comparing of Passages. From Slate‘s Dana Stevens

[N]o one involved … seems to have noticed that we’re in the middle of an actual war. With actual Persians (or at least denizens of that vast swath of land once occupied by the Persian empire).

And from Asrat’s YDN piece:

[N]o one involved in the making of “300″ noticed that we are in the middle of an actual war with actual Persians (or at least inhabitants of the lands the that [sic] Persian Empire once encompassed).

Rather incriminating, we’d say. Cue Scene II: The Scupulously Parsed Editor’s Note. The YDN posted a correction this afternoon noting that Asrat had read the Slate piece prior to writing her own, and that a single sentence had been “inadvertantly [sic] replicated”; an investigation into her previous work is underway. To plagiarize ourselves: you just know the Romenesko-horny YDN reporters smell blood in the water.

That means it’s time for Scene III: More Transgressions Come To Light. We’ll stick to the same piece. From Slate:

Here are just a few of the categories that are not-so-vaguely conflated with the “bad” (i.e., Persian) side in the movie: black people. Brown people. Disfigured people. Gay men (not gay in the buff, homoerotic Spartan fashion, but in the effeminate Persian style). Lesbians. Disfigured lesbians. Ten-foot-tall giants with filed teeth and lobster claws. Elephants and rhinos (filthy creatures both).

And from the YDN:

Even more problematic are the different groups the film conflates with the Persians (and thereby Evil): black people, brown people, East Asian people, disfigured people, gay men, promiscuous lesbians, giants, monsters with lobster claws and curiously violent elephants and rhinos all stand in, at one point or another, for the Eastern antithesis of the Spartan soldier.

There are other similarities, like “color-processed to a burnished, monochromatic copper” vs. “burnished to a monochromatic bronze,” but refereeing them all would require more effort than we can muster. Suffice it to say the YDN piece gives the impression of someone who not just borrowed, but tried to cover up the borrowing with a few artless keystrokes of the ol’ Shift F7. Stay tuned, copycat fans;whether Asrat turns out a weapons-grade Kaavya or a venal-sin Victoria, we’re sure there’s more of this to come.

(Asrat, YDN editor Sarah Mishkin, and Slate critic Dana Stevens haven’t yet answered our emails. Disclosure: Half of us works for Slate.)

Copy and Paste: the <em>Yale Daily News</em> Version of the Great College Newspaper Plagiarism Dance 

  • jesse

    How sad do you need to be to plagerize a 300 review?

  • jesse

    How sad do you need to be to plagerize a 300 review?

  • nbf

    Scupulously

    not scrupulous enough, guys

  • nbf

    Scupulously

    not scrupulous enough, guys

  • However

    It was a fantastic review. The Slate one, and also its republication in the YDN.

  • However

    It was a fantastic review. The Slate one, and also its republication in the YDN.

  • meh

    How many times is this gonna happen before people realize that somewhere along the line they’re gonna be caught?

  • meh

    How many times is this gonna happen before people realize that somewhere along the line they’re gonna be caught?

  • hmm

    Yeah, totally retarded, glad I didnt go to yale.

  • hmm

    Yeah, totally retarded, glad I didnt go to yale.

  • Columbia 08

    What’s great about movies like 300 is that they’re so bad they almost review themselves. Totally inexcusable to plagiarize, especially when it’s so easy to be original.

  • Columbia 08

    What’s great about movies like 300 is that they’re so bad they almost review themselves. Totally inexcusable to plagiarize, especially when it’s so easy to be original.

  • wow

    plagiarizing on school assignments is dumb. Plagiarizing in a paper that you know has a readership of 200,000+ is just appallingly retarded. WTF?!? I’d rather hand in a massively half-assed, shittily written review than something thats so clearly stolen.

    On the other hand, maybe plagiarism in college newspapers is the new “accidentally leaked” celebrity sextape … heres your (really lame, no one really cares) 15 minutes Makda

  • wow

    plagiarizing on school assignments is dumb. Plagiarizing in a paper that you know has a readership of 200,000+ is just appallingly retarded. WTF?!? I’d rather hand in a massively half-assed, shittily written review than something thats so clearly stolen.

    On the other hand, maybe plagiarism in college newspapers is the new “accidentally leaked” celebrity sextape … heres your (really lame, no one really cares) 15 minutes Makda

  • Stumblebum

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizens of Distinction” Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Stumblebum

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizens of Distinction” at the Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Stumblebum

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizens of Distinction” Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Stumblebum

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizens of Distinction” at the Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Stumblebum

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizen of Distinction” at the Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Stumblebum

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizen of Distinction” at the Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Stumblebum

    OK, it wasn’t my fault that the comment posted three times, or that during the eternity it took each to post to send I found a reason to edit. But now you get the see the editorial work product in progression.

  • Stumblebum

    OK, it wasn’t my fault that the comment posted three times, or that during the eternity it took each to post to send I found a reason to edit. But now you get the see the editorial work product in progression.

  • Makda Asrat

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizen of Distinction” at the Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Makda Asrat

    Is that the same Makda Asrat who who was nominated as a “Multicultural Citizen of Distinction” at the Orange County NAACP’s 60th anniversary celebration?

  • Rilla

    Don’t they have spell check at Yale?

  • Rilla

    Don’t they have spell check at Yale?

  • number cruncher

    200,000 circulation for the YDN? That’s almost twice the entire population of New Haven, and over twice the number of all living alumni of Yale College. Most metropolitan dailies would kill for that kind of circulation.

  • number cruncher

    200,000 circulation for the YDN? That’s almost twice the entire population of New Haven, and over twice the number of all living alumni of Yale College. Most metropolitan dailies would kill for that kind of circulation.

  • Um

    I think he meant SLATE has 200,000.

  • Um

    I think he meant SLATE has 200,000.

  • update

    She’s been fired. Turns out this was kind of a regular thing. This includes a list of compared passages: http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/20591

    (Who the heck plagiarizes Entertainment Weekly?)

  • update

    She’s been fired. Turns out this was kind of a regular thing. This includes a list of compared passages: http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/20591

    (Who the heck plagiarizes Entertainment Weekly?)

  • identitytheft

    update, you’re a bitch

  • identitytheft

    update, you’re a bitch

  • Idetrorce

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  • Idetrorce

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce