Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lifting Words

On Monday evening, July 18, Mrs. Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention.  The next day there are stories on the wires that intimate that Mrs. Trump 'borrowed' passages from a speach that Mrs. Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Comparing the questionable sections, it looks to me like Mrs. Trump could very well be guilty of plagiarism.  Or her speechwriter could be.

New York Times - Melania Trump’s Speech Bears Striking Similarities to Michelle Obama’s in 2008

So where might Mrs. Obama (or her speech writers) have heard some of these phrases?  Surely they weren't all original.  Off to Google Books to find some examples, from titles on astrology, selling, leadership, and a riveting journal on "power haulage".

What Your Birthday Reveals About You (2005) by Phyllis Vega

Schools at Home and Abroad (1901) by Robert Edward Hughes

First 100 Days of Selling (2007) by Jim Ryerson

Dare to Lead: Leading with Respect, Sincerity, and Service (2004) by Thomas A. Lutz

The Motor Truck; the National Authority of Power Haulage, Volume 13 (1922)

These four examples were all written before Mrs. Obama gave that speech.  Clearly, she must have plagiarized. (Note to readers: I don't think that she did.)

Well, then maybe Mrs. Trump didn't plagiarize either.  (Note to readers: I think that she borrowed the phrases from Mrs. Obama's speech.)

It is called "using a template".  When it is time to polish our resume, we find the CV of someone that we admire and use the structure of the document as a good, solid starting point.  There are templates for just about anything out there.  Book reports, slide presentations for work, heck, even limericks.  But if the users are going to use any of the content, they should give credit to the originator. 

I'm guessing that there aren't that many templates that would be in the "I'm married to the 'fill in the blank' party's presumptive presidential nominee" category.  Let's see.... Eleanor Roosevelt, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Tipper Gore, Elizabeth Dole, Laura Bush, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama, and Ann Romney. (info from FirstLadies.org)