“It’s such a fine line between clever and stupid,” David St. Hubbins informs us in This Is Spinal Tap, and to adapt his profound insight, given that contemporary liberalism operates mostly in cliches, how do you discern the fine line between plagiarism and stupid liberal cliches?
Consider the case of this year’s Duke University undergraduate commencement speaker, Priya Parkash, who is being accused of plagiarizing a Harvard student commencement speaker from 2014. Parkash has copped a “no contest” plea, admitting that she inadvertently appropriated some of the language of the Harvard student. (Though in a typical detail common among people who attack “privilege,” Parkash issued the statement through “the crisis public relations firm Red Banyan.” There’s no privilege like leftist privilege these days.)
An indignant Harvard Crimson is all over the story, offering several side-by-side comparisons:
There’s more, but this is enough. Forget the parallel wording, and note the deeper common bedrock of leftist perception about American society and its institutions. There are only so many ways to express this fashionable disdain and hatred. And if we’re going to bust students for copying one another, what should be said about the rote recitations of every declaration about “diversity, equity, and inclusion” that come from the mouths of every college administrator without variation? The Harvard Crimson might want to do some side-by-side comparisons of administrator statements, but don’t hold your breath, because the embarrassment would be too obvious.
—Liberals today are unoriginal people, so it is to be expected that they would copy each other. As I say, how can you tell what is plagiarism, or fealty to the lexicon of liberal cliches that are so richly rewarded in liberal-run institutions? Is it any surprise that they all sound alike?
—Liberal Duke graduates are entitled to a refund, since Duke has plainly failed to provide an education that enables individuals to think for themselves and generate original thoughts. The real scandal here ought to be not the similarity in phrasing, but the banality of thought expressed by Duke’s leading students after four years in Duke’s classrooms.
—Memo to employers: Do I really need to finish this sentence?
Let’s get out with David St. Hubbins: