Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Burrowed --> Malcolm Gladwell

In the essay "Something Burrowed" by Malcolm Gladwell, he asks whether or not plagiarism charges should ruin a person's life. He first starts off with giving us an example of Bryony Lavery, who is a British play writer of the Broadway Play called "Frozen", and how she plagiarizes by using works from people, such as: Dorothy Lewis and Gladwell himself , to complete her play. Dorothy Lewis was a psychiatrist that was interviewed in one of Gladwells articles, and some of the information that was given to Gladwell about her life was in comparison to a character in Lavery's play. As the controversial issue on Lavery started to arise and having Lewis considering on filing lawsuits against her, Gladwell meets up with Lavery. He then learns from Lavery that she had not intend on plagiarizing his and Lewis's work but that she saw their work as “news”, therefore she thought that she could use it without receiving consent beforehand. Also in the essay, Gladwell writes about how music can also be related to plagiarism and how what matters is not that someone copies another person's work, but how much the person copies. Gladwell then summarizes that one artist cannot own a certain note because there are so many different ways and durations to use that same note, therefore it is not plagiarism. Overall, in Gladwell's essay, he does not provide and answer or go into further investigation on whether or not plagiarism charges would ruin a person's life, he just leaves it as an open-ended answer.

After reading Gladwell's essay on plagiarism, I felt that it was clever on how he did no say whether he was for or against plagiarism, but that he provided us with examples of plagiarism and how it had affected a persons life, and the evolutionary background of plagiarism. The way on how I understand what Gladwell is saying about music is that plagiarism is not bad in the music industry because music evolves over time. In my understanding of what he was saying, I agree with him because I also feel that no artist can officially own a key or note in their lyrics because music does evolve over time and that newer artists build from past generation. Also with Lavery's plagiarism on her play, with my open-ended answer, I felt that she was scared and knew what she did wrong but did not want to admit that she was wrong, and I felt that she should have some sort of consequence instead of getting away so easily for having such a huge impact on public notice for her plagiarism on others' work. Overall, I felt that Gladwell's essay could have been better in answering all of his questions or providing us with some feedback with some information as to why he did not come to a conclusion with his answers.  

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