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Rant Control

Take It, Ble-otch!

By Brandon Burt
Posted // April 1,2009 -

Rant Control is surprised that the March 26 wire story “The Bleach & the Bees” about organic products generated as much message-board contention as it did.

Reader “chameleon” objected on grounds that City Weekly ran a story about organic products in 2006: “I was cleaning my garage, came across a few old copies of the Weekly, one of which included “Organic Sham.” Tossed them all into the recycle bin and the following day I read this story here. For whatever reason, it bothered me. I have always despised plagiarism.”

We, too, despise plagiarism, chameleon—which is why we wouldn’t bandy about the term as loosely as you’ve applied it here. By your standard, we wouldn’t be able to report on the Legislature each session, since we’ve already run stories about the Legislature in the past. (For the curious, chameleon has conveniently cut and pasted “Organic Sham” in its entirety onto the comments board.)

Reader “laytonian” offered this: “I really don't think we can judge the quality of the product, on whether it comes from a ‘pure and small’ or ‘big and ugly’ company. Remember, Peanut Corporation of America was a little tiny company with two warehouses—and no one had ever heard of them.”

I don’t think the issue is, necessarily, the size of the company alone—it’s that many lefty consumers see organic companies as upholding shared lefty values—which values, obviously, are harder to ascribe to global multinational corporations.

And now for my own objection: As much as I don’t like chlorine in the water supply, bleach is not really that bad for the environment. It breaks down into harmless salts. And it sure as hell gets your whites whiter than some damned chlorophyll-and-tofu-based product.

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Posted // April 2,2009 at 14:59

Somehow, I knew my comments would find their way here. It's not often that your stories generate more than a couple comments, let alone comments pointing out plagiarism. I've got a big mouth but I'm no idiot. I've had idiotic moments in life, to be sure, but I'm not stupid and I know what I see. I don't feel as if I've tossed the term "plagiarism" about lightly and your analogy about the legislature is plain stupid. From what I observed, this wasn't a matter of related material being covered by two separate writers in two styles; rather, this is a matter of one writer taking material directly from another and calling it their own. Is this not the definition of plagiarism?

You conveniently left out the parts where I provided proof of this and showed you how and why this happened. I wouldn't have expected otherwise.

Because you've only got so many words to address an issue in Rant Control, maybe it would be better for you to address issues that are easily mashed into 200 words, like, where to find your favorite cookies or something like that?

By the way, just as you've partially addressed this plagiarism issue, you're only partially correct in what you said about bleach. But I guess that's good enough for you.