Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ghostwriters in the Sky

"Stealing from one is plagiarism; stealing from many is research."
                                                         --Wilson Mizner

Lately, the subrosa trade of ghostwriting has made the news.  Apparently, the ghostwriter of Hillary Clinton's upcoming book has been reported as having been paid $500,000 for her job.  What's more, her name is before the public; an advantage in case some other political aspirant would like to increase her or his gravitas by adding a book to the credentials.  Her previous ghostwriter, the one who wrote It Takes a Village, merited nary a word.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/who-wrote-that-political-memoir-no-who-actually-wrote-it/2014/06/09/8e89ccae-f00a-11e3-9ebc-2ee6f81ed217_story.html?tid=hpModule_d39b60e8-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394

It must produce some mixed feelings in the writer and the faux author when the product wins a major award, like when Profiles in Courage won the Pulitzer Prize!  Theodore Sorensen, who actually wrote the book for all practical purposes, surely wished it was his name on the cover and not John Kennedy's!

Anyway, this is a fairly common and accepted practice among politicians, a dismal bunch who you can always tell when they're lying: Their lips move.

In academe, there is a more severe standard; at least in reputation.  Just about every university has formal standards regarding plagiarism: the passing off of another's writing as one's own.  And grave penalties are assessed for any sin of plagiarism.  Usually a failing grade and sometimes ritual beheading.

Unless the person is an athlete on an Atlantic Coast Conference institution or a college president.

What is not generally known is that on many universities there is an underclass of grad student who will write, for a fee, a term paper on a specific topic, including doing some of the research to support the paper.  These literary call girls or gigolos can usually write an A- or B-level paper while still having it read like it was written by an undergraduate.  Using a little pot while writing helps!

However, if the undergraduate purchaser in question has a fourth-grade vocabulary, then professors develop skepticism.

As a matter of fact, some of the recently-reported chicanery regarding term papers written for athletes was due to Athletic Departments referring the writer!

Now, we're not talking big bucks here.  Athletic Department largesse does not run high for that service.  But, in the increasing likelihood of the unionization and paying of college athletes, would it be possible for these term paper ghostwriters to be likewise unionized, better paid, and have the usual package of fringe benefits as well?

  



10 comments:

Grand Crapaud said...

So Kennedy did not write Profiles in Courage? That's astonishing.

Are there any politicians who write their own books?

TexWisGirl said...

too funny on the unionization.

Anemone said...

Still, It Takes a Village was a pretty good book.

Anemone said...

Still, It Takes a Village was a pretty good book.

Mike said...

Before unionizing the ghost writers would have to come out of the closet. Something that is not likely to happen.

Bilbo said...

"Ghostwriters in the Sky" - I love it. I think I'll have to try to come up with the actual lyrics.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Most serious users of ghostwriters have them sign non-disclosure agreements. As for buying term papers, there's a lot of sophisticated software to detect bought term papers.

Cloudia said...

Your raise many juicy questions!

"Usually a failing grade and sometimes ritual beheading.

Unless the person is an athlete on an Atlantic Coast Conference institution or a college president."

You are wise



ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^= <3

Leroy said...

An allusion to the UNC Athletic Department scandal?

beach lad said...

.....'politicians, a dismal bunch who you can always tell when they're lying: Their lips move'.

that's brilliant - and so sadly true.