Amazing–Good and Bad

[Anyone perusing for the wrap on last night’s game can click here.]

I had the good fortune to catch Michael Phelps’s two gold-medal, world record-breaking swims tonight, first in the 200 butterfly and then in an astounding performance in the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay. Phelps broke his own record in the 200 fly, swimming it in 1:52:03 and bounced out of the pool displeased for, although he had just set the Olympic record for most gold medals won, he wanted to go under 1:51 and his goggles had filled with water during the race. Yeah, what a slack-ass. Just one hour later Phelps swam first in the relay, a strategy I love–put the fastest two swimmers first and last. In this case, Phelps finished his leg more than two body lengths ahead and went out in a blistering 1:43:31, putting the Americans well under world record pace. The lead and likelihood for a new relay record only increased as the Americans blew away the world-class field, becoming the first team to go under 7 minutes in the 4×200 free relay with a time of 6:58:56, beating the second-place Russians by more than five seconds and shattering the world record by nearly five seconds. That was brilliant, and it all began with Phelps proving yet again that he’s the greatest, most dominant Olympic athlete in the modern era. Jesse Owens was in my mind the most important Olympic athlete, with his amazing 1936 showing in Munich of winning four golds making a mockery of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis’ racist, preposterous notions of Aryan racial superiority. Phelps–who may also swim in London in 2012–dominates his sport and the Olympic Games, across multiple Games and disciplines in his sport, like no other ever. He has three more events to go and will likely become the first athlete to win eight gold medals in one Olympiad, to break Mark Spitz’s record set in 1972 in Munich. It’s impossible not to root for the guy. What he’s accomplishing is absolutely ridiculous, the Michael Phelps Phreak Show.

Speaking of freak shows, this next one absolutely kills me. As I was listening to the game tonight, I was browsing through other Yankees blogs and stopped by J-Boogie’s excellent Baseball and the Boogie-Down, reading through his posts from the past few days. Not ten minutes later, I skipped over to MLBlogs, both J-Boogie’s and my old stomping grounds to check things out. The front page has a window titled “Most Recent Activity” allowing readers to see whose blogs have had updated posts or comments. I sometimes check to see if there are new blogs and will usually check them out, if not comment on them. I saw one entitled “All Things Yankee” and clicked onto it. What did I see but a post with exactly the same title as J-Boogie’s Monday post, “Yanks In Need of a Performance Enhancer.” Worse, after reading the first several sentences, I realized that this bum, in his first blog post no less, had plagiarized J-Boogie’s commentary on Barry Bonds literally word-for-word.

Needless to say I called him on it by posting a lengthy comment, saying that I know that he plagiarized the post from a friend of mine who wrote it just yesterday. I included the URL to J-Boogie’s post, then copied and pasted J-Boogie’s post that this asshead plagiarized in its entirety into the comment, ending the comment by saying how disgraceful and shameful his theft was, that I’d e-mail J-Boogie and let Mark from MLBlogosphere know that one of the new bloggers at MLBlogs had plagiarized his first post. I also copied my comment into a Word file and double backed it up, just in case something fishy happened–and it did.

After I e-mailed J-Boogie, he went to this so-called blogger and commented that this guy had stolen his post and treated it as his own, that he should have at the very least given J-Boogie credit in the body of the post, handling it all very well but firmly. Hilariously, the clown then inserted the line, “Check out what my friend over at Baseball and the boogie down put together…” into this plagiarized post–with an enormous space illustrating for anyone who had seen where it had not been before, such as J-Boogie and myself, who would also recognize that he just did it and where. Hilarious. Worse, the guy, using the name “yankswin,” posted a comment chiding us “wow…are you guys blind?” as if the credit to J-Boogie had been there all along when he had just put it in. I then commented, “Wow, yankswin, could you be any less honorable? You just inserted the line (above in this post)” and went on to rip him about being a phony with no credibility or respect, being essentially a thief and a liar, and letting him know that I saved a copy of his original post showing that he gave no credit to his “friend,” whose name he didn’t know. Even more hilarious, now you cannot access the comments even though the page lists “4 comments” underneath the plagiarized post, and shows who commented on the side–Jason from The Heartland twice, J-Boogie once, and plagiarist yankswin once. The cretin not only plagiarized J-Boogie’s post in his very first blog post, and not only tried in vain to cover up his lie, but also lied about it then prevented future readers from seeing the comments catching his plagiarism and lying about it. Astounding. Hopefully he won’t scurry around and pilfer anyone else’s work, and hopefully will just give up his pathetic venture forever since it began under such mendacious, cowardly, inauspicious circumstances.

There are times when people end up saying the same things, using the same information such as statistics, phrasing things similarly. These things happen, usually accidentally and coincidentally, quite often when people study the same subject or follow the same team, and may think similarly or have parallel outlooks on things. They don’t happen for paragraphs, verbatim, as they did with this thieving miscreant. There is absolutely no way in the world this was accidental, and I knew it immediately. Plus, he acknowledged that it wasn’t his work, his thoughts, his own first post, by belatedly and painfully conspicuously including a phony referential sentence before the plagiarized sections. My goodness, the guy couldn’t make a simple footnote phrase, couldn’t insert a link or URL, couldn’t refer to J-Boogie’s post and didn’t know his name, couldn’t think for himself.

On one end of the spectrum this evening, I saw in Michael Phelps an athlete who has spent thousands of hours training to make himself the very best in his sport and in the most-watched sports spectacle in the world, making it all pay off by dominating in a way never seen in swimming or the Olympic Games. On the other end, I saw a sub-moronic thief who stole someone else’s intellectual work and treated it as his own, showing anyone reading that right from the beginning, the guy is a fraud. Plagiarism in academic life can be veritable death sentence, an assignation of “The Scarlet P” a kiss of death in intellectual communities. It’s taken extremely seriously, can and does result in failed assignments, classes and, in the most egregious cases, expulsion from school and, for academics, permanently tarnished careers and endless cold shoulders from peers. In this case where the stakes are not nearly as high, it is still an insult to those who do honest, hard work, and to the process of not just writing but intellectual inquiry and original thought itself–nothing less.

In both instances, Michael Phelps and “yankswin,” I’m thankful to have been where I was to witness their acts–the acme of athletic achievement for the former, the nadir of craven anti-intellectual theft and mendacity for the latter.

[Edit: Now the guy erased his old post as well as evidence of J-Boogie’s and my comments. Too funny. However, once a plagiarist, always a plagiarist.]

Published in: on August 13, 2008 at 2:05 am  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Too funny. I checked out his new post and while not a direct ripoff of mine i did happen to write this:

    Xavier Nady is awesome. His 2-run bomb in the 12th out it out of reach. In his 17 games as a Yankee, he’s now 21 for 61 (.344) with 6 HR and 17 RBI. No complaints here. It’s amazing he was a “throw-in” in the Marte deal.

    And he wrote:

    In 17 games with the Yankees, Nady has 21 hits to include 5 2B and 6 HR… with 17 RBI’s.

    Marte on the other hand… Not so much a steal

    I guess I’m his muse.

    Great post. Phelps is unreal. It’s awe-inspiring. It really is.


  2. Plagiarism is never cool. That guy Jay who posts on my site and tries to antagonize has used 1 of my ideas on his website but he didn’t exactly plagiarize. If he’s the person I’m thinking of. The Boogie Down is a great website.

  3. It has to be some kind of record for a guy to start a blog and steal someone else’s work for his FIRST post. What???

    I’ve seen some blogs start off okay and later they begin quoting others when they realize they’re fans but they really haven’t got much to add to the discussion.

    But this guy? Give him an award for biggest balls and smallest brain.

  4. plagiarists should be ashamed of them selves….

  5. Mike, the Biden reference is absolutely hilarious.

    J-Boogie, you’ve handled all this better than I likely would have.

    Agreed about plagiarism, and J-Boogie’s site, Sean.

    Very funny Steve, and a good point about how some fans probably realize what they’re cut out for and not. Good to see you didn’t sustain coronary damage after that Red Sox game last night. Good thing for you Boston had a late touchdown drive in it.

  6. i knew you would get it…

  7. I’ll never forget that, Mike, with Biden pilfering Neil Kinnock’s speech about going to college without attribution (which he had previously attributed, oddly enough), then opening up charges that he had been accused of plagiarism while in law school. Nice going, Joe.

  8. I think Girardi called it a loss when he threw Robertson in but he came in dazling. This should boost the kids confidence.

  9. Jason …

    Great Detective Work …

    Lt. Columbo would be proud !!!

    — Jimmy

  10. Yeah, like I said i’d be more upset if he were profiting of me. Really, he’s just a douche that isn’t worth the time. I’m a little miffed, but it’s just weird. I didn’t think i’d ever run into this. Like the Yankees play of late, it’s a head scratcher.


    ps- thanks Sean. Feeling is mutual about your site.

    pps- i need to start commenting more

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