Bemused & Astonished…
I have a letter to the Editor (LTTE) in today’s RG – it replies to a LTTE published last Friday which selectively quoted from a rather obscure 2007 post of mine critiquing a speech by Dr Brown, the then Premier.
I won’t lie, I got a little kick out of having the RG publish a photo of Leon Trotsky by the way… 🙂
The initial LTTE does correctly quote me, but selectively so, as it misses a bit where I explicitly state that my comment was not meant to be taken literally – that I was making an analogy concerning internal party democracy rather than actually stating that Dr Brown had translated a speech by Trotsky from 1919-1921.
One thing about this site is that ‘behind the scenes’ I can see certain statistics, things like readers, unique hits, where clicks are coming from and what they click on, what posts are more popular, etc. It also has a feature that shows me what search engine searches have led to my site – and what post in particular.
On reading the initial LTTE I took a look at that latter feature. I could see that in the last seven days prior to that LTTE someone had found that 2007 article using a search for ‘Ewart Brown plagiarism’. I can only surmise that someone was looking for evidence to write such a letter for the purpose of deflection, of turning the criticism away from MP Leah Scott and back onto the PLP.
Furthermore, I think it’s reasonable to think that this person then used the ‘find’ feature to search the post, rather than read the entire post and resulting comments. If someone searched for just ‘plagiarism’ they would find the two quotes used in the letter and completely miss my explicit statement that the comment about plagiarism was not meant to be taken literally.
Despite my LTTE clearing up the matter, I have absolutely no illusions that this will be the end of the matter. Due to the divisions and prejudices of our society and its resulting political partisanship, people will believe what they want to believe, the facts be damned.
I will however extend a challenge to those who want to insist that I’m guilty of hypocrisy on this matter.
If it is true that Dr Brown plagiarised a speech of Trotsky’s from the 8th and/or 9th congress of the Russian Communist Party (as my comment, if taken literally, implies), then one can easily enough review Trotsky’s speeches. One could event trawl through his entire writing, beyond the confines of 1919-1921 if that initial search proves fruitless.
If Dr Brown plagiarised, then just as the original Hello Beautiful source for MP Leah Scott’s article was found, so too could the original source from Leon Trotsky.
If one can’t find it, then what I explicitly said at the time, that I was making an analogy about the sentiments, as a criticism of what I saw as an attempt to stifle internal party democracy and the organic vibrancy of organised labour, would stand, no?
And if it is found that Dr Brown did indeed plagiarise Leon Trotsky, one can bring that to light and lay out my alleged hypocrisy for all to see. I’ll make a public apology – I’ll even walk the length of the island in a pink dress as some form of public atonement.
I know for a fact that no such speech by Trotsky will be found, but I challenge anyone to try. We can even approach the disciplinary committee of Bermuda College to rule on it – heck, lets make it a learning moment for all about plagiarism and integrity, and I can even raise money for a charity during the walk.
I’m willing to put my proverbial money where my mouth is – will my detractors?
The least I’d ask of the original LTTE writer is a public apology in the RG.
I’m certainly guilty of some clumsy writing. But not hypocrisy on this plagiarism issue.
It’s often said that ‘Bermuda’s another world’.
We are indeed a bit of a bizarro island. I note with some degree of bemusement how some commentators are using the original LTTE, and my follow-up, to accuse the PLP of being communist.
There’s some irony in using the writings of a socialist criticising the PLP for not being even social democratic, let alone socialist or communist, to argue that the PLP’s communist. Certainly some twisted logic there…