Donald Trump Jr. Didn't Plagiarize Anything. His Speechwriter Just Recycled, Is All.
Maybe they'll call me 'The Great Communicator'...
Well THAT didn't take long! Almost immediately after Donald Trump Jr. gave his speech at the Republican Convention Tuesday, the Daily Show's Twitter feed pointed out an AMAZING coincidence:
"Nice catch!" everyone laughed and pointed, and lo, here it is right on video!
And yes, here's the article in question, "Trump vs. the New Class," by F.H. Buckley (no relation), a rousing defense of some parts of Donald Trump Sr.'s supposed "liberalism" against the entrenched privilege of the conservative elites. And it really does have those lines from the speech in it.
Problem is, this time the Trump campaign won't even have to do a Google search for lines from "My Little Pony" to claim the metaphor got there through pure coincidence. It wasn't a coincidence at all, as Talking Points Memo found out with just a teensy bit of asking around: The author of the article for The American Conservative, F.H. Buckley (no relation), was actually Trump Junior's principal speechwriter, so the elevator and department store metaphors came from the same guy. That's not plagiarism, that's authorial recycling, and it ain't a crime. As Buckley himself tweeted not long after the Daily Show tweet:
Writers recycle. If they do it enough, it becomes a running gag, as they say in the Shire. When I taught first-year college writing, my policy on re-use of students' old papers was that students could recycle some material as long as they showed me the original paper and wrote enough new material to fit the assignment. A paper from a history class might have some useful research in it, but it wasn't written for the assignment I'd given, so I never let students simply delete "History 102" and replace it with "English 101" and turn in the same essay. As to whether self-plagiarism is, in the wider world, a bad thing, opinions are mixed. But since the Editrix says fuck that, self-plagiarism is still not a thing, then fuck that it is.
Now, was it a great idea to use the recycled line in a speech coming the night after Melania's completely coincidental use of extended portions of Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic Convention speech? Sort of depends on whether F.H. Buckley (no relation) told Trump Jr. he'd reused the line, so the campaign could anticipate the possible fallout, as if the Trump campaign ever actually gives two shits about public reactions. You'd think the Trumpkins -- had they known -- might have anticipated another round of people laughing at what looked like plagiarism (but this time really wasn't). Or maybe they decided to leave the borrowed lines in precisely because they could then say, "See? The Liberal Media gets all worked up over NOTHING!" Or maybe it simply never occurred to them that anyone would notice, because there was so much other crazy shit at the convention. Maybe it will actually be more controversial: Don't Republicans hate recycling as a liberal commie environmentalist scheme?
In any case, we're rather astonished that nobody else seems to have noticed the remarkable similarities between Donald Trump Jr.'s speech and Fluttershy's critique of the Equestrian educational system in this one fanfic we read a while back...
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.