Kenneth Goldsmith, a English professor at Penn, has a unique take on authorship, that being: Plagiarism ain’t so bad, necessarily!
Goldsmith’s argument (we think) has something to do with authorship being pretentious and paternalistic, especially in our hyper-connected day and age, when information is cycled and recycled millions of times every day, at the speed of an electron. (Maybe?) To that end, he teaches a class each year called “Uncreative Writing,” in which students are actively encouraged to rip-off their classwork from other writers. Seriously.
Straight from the horse’s mouth:
Students are penalized for showing any shred of originality and creativity. Instead they are rewarded for plagiarism, identity theft, repurposing papers, patchwriting, sampling, plundering, and stealing.
Aaaanyway: Crimson columnist Isabel E. Kaplan wrote a pointed critique of Goldsmith’s philosophy earlier this week, which basically amounted to, “This is bullshit.” And we were interested in the good professor’s response. So we shot over an email asking what he thought of the criticisms. In his reply, Goldsmith referred to the column as “stupidity,” then threw the question to some former students, at which point things got a little bit weird.